We’ve all experienced it. It’s that dreaded part of the weight loss program called the “plateau.” It comes when you’ve lost 10 or 15 pounds, you’re working out, you’re eating right, but you’re just not losing any more weight. That’s about where I am right now.

While I should be feeling great, I’ve hit a wall and I’m feeling a little depressed. Wondering perhaps if I’m not going to get these extra pounds off in time to make my goal.

My goal is partially tied-in to the arrival of my sister/best friend, Barbara “Babs” Schwasnick, and her son, Luke, my nephew, and their annual visit to California at the end of July.

Babs has always been reed thin, and to make matters worse, she’s one of those types of women who complain she’s putting on weight. “You won’t believe it to see me now,” she laments to me during a phone call. “I actually have a gut!”

“Right,” I say. “And what size jeans are you wearing?” I ask.

“I’m a two … but they’re a tight two,” she responds.

“When you’re a size 14 call me back and we’ll have a cogent conversation, until then, please stop tormenting me.”

Last year when she was out to visit and photos were taken of us standing together we looked like the number 10 — me being the puffy “0” half of that duo. I’m determined not to let that happen this year, and being that we’re in June already I’m concerned.

My trainer Keith Sims says, “When people tell you, ‘Oh, you look great,’ it can actually be detrimental. It’s not time to relax and start eating poorly. You’ve got to keep vigilant, you’ve got to stay hungry.” He means that both figuratively and literally.

Remember wanting to do well in school, to get a good grade on that history quiz, or to make a sports team or a cheerleading squad? That’s the way it is with weight loss. You have to want something badly enough to make it happen. You have to be hungry for change.

So what can you do when you reach this point? One small modification in your weight loss program can make a great difference in helping you lose weight and most folks don’t even know about it. You simply increase the amount of water you drink. I know, right now you’re thinking, “But water weight, or as I like to refer to it as, ‘that extra bit of bloat’ is what you want to get rid of!” Drinking more water seems counter-productive.

According to Tom Williams, the founder of Fatburn.com, “The recommended amount of water to drink daily is six to eight 8-ounce glasses.” But when you are dieting, you want to give your body even more. When your body doesn’t get enough water it holds on to the water it does have. This gives you that plumped up look — great for your lips but not so great for your hips.

When you don’t drink enough water your body goes into survival mode and because it thinks it’s not going to get enough water, it holds onto every last drop, thus slowing down your metabolism, which leads to water retention and the dreaded “extra bit of bloat.” When you drink more water then you need, the body lets go of the water it’s been holding on to.

While my trainer, Sims and I discuss this issue, Joe Rivera, a strappingly handsome trainer at Burn Fitness, overhears us and chimes in. “Here’s an easy analogy. Not everyone gets the physiological reasoning behind water’s crucial role in weight loss. You have to think of water as money, because let’s face it, everyone can relate to cash. When you don’t have a lot of money, what do you do? You hold onto it. You’re like a miser; you keep a tight fist on everything you’ve got. But let’s say you get $20,000. What’s the first thing most people will do with that money?”

“Put it in the bank?” I answer.

“Well you might,” says Sims, “because you’re smart. But most folks are gonna spend it.”

“Exactly,” says Rivera. “And that’s how the body responds to water. The more you give it, the more it’s going to let go of.”

When Rivera is dieting he drinks a gallon of water a day. A gallon! Clearly I haven’t been drinking enough water. So even though I’m happy to report I’m down to a size 10 — four more sizes to go — it’s officially crunch time and I’ve got to remain hungry. Hungry, but definitely not thirsty.

Taylor can be reached at tailfish@roadrunner.com.

By the numbers

Starting Weight: 182

Pounds Lost: 16.5

Current Weight: 165.5

Goal Weight: 135

Pounds to Lose to Goal: 30.5

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