So I finally gave in and saw a nutritionist. I had been doing everything right (or so I thought), and the scale just wouldn’t move.

The answer? Remarkably simple. Remarkably obvious. Remarkably overlooked.

I wasn’t drinking enough water.

Now, I am someone who rarely gets thirsty. While my husband will wake up from a deep sleep to have a glass of water, I can make it through the day on maybe a sip or two. So the idea that I needed a minimum of eight glasses a day was something I knew but had simply decided to ignore. It just didn’t occur to me how important something like water could be.

Remarkably simple. Remarkably obvious. Remarkably overlookedBut to the nutritionist, it was a no-brainer.

She explained that just as our bodies are comprised mainly of water, water is essential in both weight loss and a healthy body. The water flushes out the toxins and waste, and without drinking enough, we are robbing our bodies of what they need the most.

I thought about this, and realized how true this is in so many areas of our lives. It is not coincidental that just like our bodies are made up of mainly water, so too is the world. And we all know that you can plant some flowers in the most perfect place with the best soil, but if you don’t water them, they will die. Just as a human can live far longer without food than without water.

In Judaism, water is compared to life, and therefore represents the Torah. Mayim chayim, the waters of life, is the phrase that is often used. Yet water can be easy to overlook. It has no color, it has no taste. And there are so many other options, that one can mistakenly think that some juice or soda or coffee can replace what only water can do. Deprive one of water, and one’s life is in grave danger.

There is a beautiful parable of a student who was complaining to his rabbi than he had no time for spiritual pursuits in his life. He worked full time, had a family, played sports, and his day was packed from beginning to end.

Deprive one of water, and one’s life is in grave dangerHis rabbi answered him by way of demonstration. He began to prepare the traditional food that is eaten on Shabbat day, cholent, which is more or less a stew. He started filling the pot with the largest ingredients, like the potatoes, carrots and onions. Then the meat. The pot looked pretty full, but he continued to add the beans and the barley, which started to fill up the open space that was left. At this point, the pot did not seem to have any extra space.

He then asked the student if the pot was full, to which the student replied that it most definitely was. And yet, clearly if this stew was put on the flame, it could not cook as it was. At this point he filled a pitcher with water and began to pour. Sure enough, there was room for the water, since water, by its nature, will flow into and fill any empty space. Not only was there room for the water, but the water was the most essential ingredient in being able to cook a stew.

With this, the rabbi explained to his student that the water in our life is our Torah, our spirituality, our meaning. There is always time for it, and always space for it. We just need to be willing to pour and digest it.

So, when my nutritionist told me that the biggest obstacle in reaching my weight-loss goals was my lack of water, it just made so much sense. And more so, she explained that it is important to drink not only when I am thirsty, but often specifically when I am not—that is when I need it the most. She also explained that often when we think we are hungry, we actually are not. We need water, not food. So, if we drink before eating a meal, we are likely to eat much less than without that water.

It might be forced, but sometimes we need to train ourselves to do what is right and healthyNow, my goal is to drink a few cups before I eat and exercise, during exercise and after, and before every meal. It might be forced, but sometimes we need to train ourselves to do what is right and healthy, because regardless of what I feel like, my body needs that water. So I hope, as I increase my water intake in the physical sense, that I make sure that the emotional and spiritual waters are being digested as well, for if I want growth in my life, I need to remember to water all that I have.