Thursday, May 5, 2011

Water - how much should you drink

For ... EVER, I have heard, been told, and been telling others to drink at least 8 cups -  8 oz of water a day.    Seems  easy enough to do and healthy.  When you break it down into ounces per hour that amounts to about 4 ounces every hour for an average of 16 hours we spend awake.  So what's the big deal? Why can't we drink more than one or two glasses a day?

As with anything related to health, the requirements for what we need and want changes daily it seems.  I recently read an article in Woman's Day magazine that detailed the many ways we can stay hydrated and how to know if we are lacking fluids in our diet.  I am going to share some of the key points with you because I think it's important that we stay up to date with nutritional requirements and how to supplement what we are lacking.

From WD:  "You don't really need to drink eight glasses of water a day."  I've heard this before but that's where it ended.  I found it hard to believe that anyone would support  this statement because I do believe we all need a certain amount of fluids to maintain our bodies' homeostasis.  However, the article in WD goes on to say that "your needs fluctuate from day to day depending on your activities, what you eat and how often, and the weather." If you spend your day eating water based fruits and veggies you are less likely to need 64 ounces of water that day; if you go for  a long run and drink only two cups of water and eat foods with little water in them, you will notice a difference in the color of your urine -- lemonade color is good, apple juice color, not so good.

From WD: "Drinking coffee--or any caffeinated beverage--won't make you dehydrated." Thank Goodness because I like my morning coffee and I love drinking tea in the afternoon.  So the studies now say that caffeine makes you urinate but not more than water would so you're good.

From WD:  "Water alone isn't a weightloss aid." No, it's not. Just because you're drinking 64 oz a day doesn't mean you're suddenly going to start burning off the fat; however, drinking water can help you really determine if you're hungry, bored or actually thirsty.  Many times we confuse hunger for thirst so we eat.  Try drinking some water or tea before giving in to the undesireable hunger pangs.

In researching the health benefits of water I came across this article at the Mayo Clinic website, which pretty much sums it all up:

"Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired."

As with anything else, everything in moderation.  An excess of water in the kidneys can lead to electrolyte imbalance.  Listen to your body, drink enough water to stay hydrated, keep your urine light in color. Drink between meals, before, during and after exercise. 

Make water your beverage of choice.

Stay Well!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Staying motivated is not easy

No. It's not easy to stay motivated. It's not easy to stay on track. It's not easy to do a lot of things that we know are good for us.  It is because of the everyday "easy" that we find ourselves in situations difficult to resolve.  We eat fast food because it's easy; we buy coffee at the coffee house because it's easy; we sit instead of exercising because it's easy.  Easy is truly over rated.  Easy is not good for us, it never will be.

Starting a health and wellness program or an exercise program or even a diet program IS easy, the hard part is sticking with it, staying motivated and keeping your eyes on the goal.  The challenges begin with your goals.  If your only goal is to lose weight then you are setting yourself up to fail.  Say you start a program and you lose weight, then what do you do? What's next?

Try this goal for a change:  To become healthier and live a healthier lifestyle!

This goal has nothing to do with losing weight or inches and everything to do with living happier and healthier.  It has a lot to do with learning how to eat and what to eat.  Learning how to exercise and when. Learning to listen to your body and learning to love being active.  The loss of weight and inches will be your reward as a result of your healthy lifestyle.

How do you begin to live a healthy lifestyle?

That's easy.  No really, it is...

1.  Spend a few days evaluating your current lifestyle: Journal your nutrition, exercise, sleep, water - record what you eat and drink through the day for a few days, then evaluate it for content and ask yourself Am I eating enough of all the "good for me" foods (fruit, vegetables, lean protein, complex carbs, etc)? Am I exercising enough or at all? How much sleep am I getting? Am I drinking at least 64 ounces of water each day?

2. Adjust one thing at a time:  Change only one of your meals and get comfortable with that meal then change the others, one at a time until you are able to make wise decisions about what to eat and when.  If you are not exercising begin with walking, biking or swimming then increase the resistance, duration, quality of your exercises as you progress.  If you are not drinking water begin to drink and increase by adding 8oz or water to each day until you've reached a comfortable 64 or more ounces.

3. Educate yourself: Do a little research online about food, exercises, recipes and other activities you can do that feel more like fun than every day exercise.

4. Find a support system. Surround yourself with people who really care about you and who support you in your journey.  The minute you come face to face with the negative people of the world, turn your back and walk the other way.  It's not worth your time and effort to convince them that what you're doing is right FOR YOU!

One step at a time, one change at a time, one small goal at a time. That's how you do it!

Stay Well,