Do You Really Need a New Year's Resolution? Then Drink More Water...

Ask the average person to drink more water, and they'll make a face at you or come up with an excuse: "Water's so boring... it doesn't taste like anything."

I think that we're so used to eating, and overeating, that we don't feel right if we don't have something of 'substance' in our mouths all the time. We use that as an excuse and then it becomes so easy to avoid water, and get carried away drinking things like carbonated sodas, sports drinks, smoothies, teas, and coffee, etc., all throughout the day. We don't notice how these other beverages -- while sometimes possessing some benefits -- may be more detrimental than helpful, when they start replacing water. Some of them are even addictive, so much so, that leaving them may cause headaches or even migraines due to their caffeine content. Others are quite high in calories and sugar.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I don't mean anyone should drink X amount of water a day. The idea that we ought to consume x or y amount of water a day, came from an outdated notion of 'averages.' Today's wisdom is that people are all different, and as such, they should drink to thirst, to better meet their individual needs. It is a silly idea to suddenly make oneself consume so much water a day, as some kind of achievement -- as I have seen many fellow friends give themselves this challenge. Overconsumption of water depletes minerals and electrolytes which are necessary for a well balanced and healthy body, plus... it makes you visit the potty a lot more often than you really want.

Now, all this being said... it is not a bad idea to start adding more water to our days, and to start listening to those physical thirst signals. Here is something to know:  The feeling of thirst is very similar to hunger. If you are not having enough water in your day, and you are overeating -- it very well could be that you are not hungry at all, but simply thirsty. Try having a little bit of water, and wait to see if those 'hunger signals' are still there, or if they subside. 

Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning will help your body get a kick start. Just like your body has spent the last 8 hours not eating, it has spent the last 8 hours not having water. The body needs to replenish fluids in order to perform its basic bodily functions, such as detoxing your system through urination, cell regeneration, and hormone production (which includes hormones which communicate hunger and satiety signals). 

Once you slowly add more water to your life, you may start to see some of these benefits: 
  • A Better Mood. Being dehydrated can make us moody, cranky, even depressed. 
  • Less Overeating. When you are well hydrated, there are less chances for you to confuse a thirst signal for a hunger signal, and will also feel your satiety signals more clearly. From personal anecdotal experience, I can say that when I have a diet soda with a meal, I will feel full and bloated on the carbonation, will then stop eating the meal thinking I am full, and then will start eating later out of feelings of hunger and lack of satisfaction. With water, I feel like I can fully enjoy a meal, and stop when satisfied.
  • Better Glucose Levels. When we let ourselves get very dehydrated, our blood volume is decreased, and thus the concentration of glucose will increase. This can turn into a dangerous and vicious cycle -- especially if compounded with exercise, and higher blood glucose levels which also dehydrate the body even further. Water can help you sweat properly, release toxins, and keep a stable blood glucose level. 
  • Younger Looking Skin. Simply put, when you're dehydrated, you look old and tired. Your cells don't have what they need to regenerate, or to have that healthy glow. Plus... you'll get dark circles under your eyes. Eww.  
  • Less Swelling/Bloating. Swelling, bloating, puffiness... of the face, or of ankles, can all be defense mechanisms of the body to try to keep and retain fluids at all costs, because it's dehydrated. 
  • Regularity. Water helps prevent constipation, and helps you flush out toxins. 
  • Improved Muscle Health. Water can help our muscles and joints be more lubricated during exercise, as well as prevent them from cramping. After all, our muscles are mostly water.
  • Less Headaches. One of the most common reasons for a headache is dehydration. Seriously. People just don't realize it. Do you know what a hangover is? DEHYDRATION. 
  • Refreshment. When the outside temperature rises, drinking enough water can help our body feel refreshed, by keeping body temperature well regulated, through sweating. Drinking enough water can also help fend off heat stroke. 
  • Better Sex!!!!! Yeah. You read it right. You can't perform right, if you're dehydrated. From erectile dysfunction to just losing steam in the middle of the action. 
So... as a baby step for being healthy, why not try having a a glass of water, just on its own, a few times a day? We can slowly wean ourselves from letting other types of beverages rule what we drink -- and soon the true refreshing nature of water becomes what we crave, without needing added flavors or additives, when we are truly thirsty. Trust me. It really does works. :) 

So if you're truly thirsty... put DOWN the diet Coke. Go have some water. You owe it to yourself, and to your health. 
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