This is the first of a three part series to help you lose pounds. Whether it’s the thirty you gained while pregnant, and your “baby” is now a toddler, or a couple bikini pounds before the big family summer getaway, I have a couple of tricks that will make a huge difference in your weight loss saga. I am no dietitian or weight loss doctor, but if you do these simple steps with determination and moderation, I believe you’ll be pulling out your skinny pants from the back of the closet in no time.

The series will start off with the cheap and easy way to detox your body. For some, doing the tricks in this article alone will be enough to get you into the size you want. The second article deals with simple exercise that I promise you, will be easy, fun, and give you great results. The exercises will be completely kid friendly, meaning you won’t have to spend your free hour a week away from the kids working out. For most, between this article and the next one, you will be able to reach your weight loss goals. The very last article will have to do with dietary changes. I save this one for last because I love food. I will do whatever I have to so that I don’t have to change my eating habits. I hate being restricted. I hate being the mom at the birthday party, picking around the frosting because it’s empty calories. I hate it. That being said, I want to assure you, I am not a diet Nazi, but what I’ve done has worked for me and other friends of mine. The order of the articles goes into the depth of your (and my) desire. How bad do we want it? Some days, I just want to stay under 135, others, I want my tight pants to fit loose. We’ll start with the casual weight loss, and cleanse our bodies. Good luck and stay with me. It’s a journey I’d love to go on with you. This kind of thing is always more fun with a partner!

Make sure you drink plenty of water. I know you’ve heard this, I’ve heard it, everyone has heard it; but do we do it? One trick I do to make sure I get my gallon of water in each day is to fill up a two quart mason jar and carry it around with me through the house. I like it because it’s glass, so I don’t get that nasty plastic residue, and the size of it helps in two ways: one, it’s so large that I drink it faster, so I don’t have to carry it around anymore, and two, it’s a half gallon. That means when I finish it, I only have one more to go before I have my daily intake of water completed.

The water is a huge part of diet. It flushes everything out. If your body isn’t getting enough water, it retains it, which leads to bloating and extra water weight. When you first start adding more water to your diet, don’t be surprised if your weight goes up for the first couple of days. This just means you’ve been dehydrated and your body doesn’t trust that you’re going to keep feeding it water. Once it trusts that you’re going to continue giving it water, it will release the water, and with it, a lot of yucky toxins. (That’s a good thing!)

The water factor is a huge issue in America. I happen to believe that a lot of our obesity and health problems have to do with our lack of water intake. The preservatives in foods, (that are basically pickling our bodies,) the sodium intake, (not just the salt you sprinkle on eggs, but the high sodium found in packaged foods,) and the amount of coffee, soda, and alcohol we consume, all these things are sucking out our precious water. This water supply is what our bodies use to flush out toxins, give us energy, and of course, wash away fat. It’s a vicious cycle: we’re tired because we haven’t had enough water, so we drink coffee or soda to pick us up, but it only works so long before we’re exhausted again. And this time we’re really bad off because that soda or coffee drained us of what we needed to begin with: water! Did you know that we Americans are so dehydrated, our bodies can no longer tell if they’re thirsty or hungry? That means, often times when you feel hungry, you are actually just needing water.

Enough of the lecture. It’s really easy to solve this problem. Drink a big glass of water every time you feel hungry between meals. Then wait ten minutes to see if you still are hungry. If you are, great, go ahead and eat. Also, drink a large glass of water right before each meal. I won’t get into eating habits in this article, but it’s a good way to start training your body to accept smaller meals. If you don’t want to lug around a large mason jar of water, get two very large glasses and set them by you while you work, watch TV, read, whatever. The secret is to always refill them when they’re empty. Your bladder will get used to it, I promise.

I’m going to give you another secret. A lot of people don’t lose weight because they have Candida buildup or some other yeast growing. If you have time, and are motivated, and healthy, I strongly recommend doing a salt water cleanse. You can read about it here. I have researched this online and found many great things said about it, with a couple of doctors saying it’s bad for blood pressure. I was intrigued, and decided to use my father in law’s blood pressure thingy ma-bobber. I didn’t have any spikes while doing the cleanse. Also, my energy went through the roof while doing my workouts, and my skin cleared up. So, I’m a big fan. Just make sure you try it on a morning that you have nothing else going on. And stay close to the toilet.

If you don’t want to do a drastic salt water cleanse, there is another solution. It’s been used by my grandmother, her mother and my mother. Mix three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into a tall glass of water and drink it first thing in the morning. I would also drink it just before every meal. It aids in digestion, helps to get rid of water retention, (great for period weeks) and processes sugars faster. Some have claimed it helps diabetics. Here is a phenomenal article on the studies that show lower glucose levels in diabetics who use it, as well as weight loss discoveries. It is very two sided, so you can get all the facts and theories. There are never ending lists about the wonders of apple cider vinegar. If you can, get the organic unfiltered, unpasteurized stuff. You’ll get used to the taste.

Parents of multiples, don’t bother reading this last paragraph.

Finally, and I saved this for last because I didn’t want to discourage you, get some sleep. Studies have been showing direct links between weight gain and sleep loss. It seems seven hours is the magic number for weight loss. Explain this to your husband, ladies, the next Saturday you want to sleep in. Tell him you’re doing it for the bikini. Who knows, it just might get him to watch the kids an extra couple hours.