Wanna up level your health? Have you platued with your body comp? Are you doing all the things but your energy is still whack?
This is so boring, I know. Water is mentioned in every article about health and fitness that our eyes kinda gloss over it.
But, how much water are you ACTUALLY drinking?
I have seen many people have significant changes in their energy and body reshaping just from this simple thing alone. How can such a simple thing that can make a big difference be so hard to do consistently?
Your body depends on water to survive. You've probably heard that your body is made up of 60 per cent water (all your cells, organs, tissue needs it). But the brain and the heart (the most important organs), specifically are 73 per cent water! Being hydrated plays a key role in helping your bod maintain its temperature, remove waste, lubricate joints, keep your blood pumping and it means your heart doesn't have work so hard.
Get this: 75 per cent of the American population is chronically dehydrated. Now, I'm no American but I'm sure this accounts for the rest of us, too. As you read this you are probably dehydrated. I'll wait here while you go and get a glass of water. Go on.
The real kicker is that dehydration is often mistaken for hunger. Symptoms include: feeling thirsty, dry mouth, headaches, constipation, dizzy spells, feeling foggy and fatigued, muscle cramps and poor mood.
Apart from all these lovely symptoms, a way to see if you are dehydrated is take a peak at the colour of your urine. If it is clear or a light-straw colour, you're hydrated. If it is darker? Get some H2O into you stat!
There are a bazillion detox's out there but the thing is that our liver and kidneys do this on a daily basis. These detox's and cleanses talk about extreme hydration to 'flush out' toxins. But how about we just do that ourselves by drinking water everyday and let our organs do what they're supposed to do?
Water and Body Comp
The bottom line is this: if you're not drinking enough water your body reshaping goals will be much slower and more difficult. If you are chronically dehydrated - and you most likely are - your bod is running on empty, like a car with no petrol. When there isn't enough water, your body does everything it can to slow down. When your body doesn't have that hydration it doesn't care about your body comp goals - it just wants to survive! Your bod will stop using the water it does have to metabolise carbohydrates and proteins because it has more important functions to do, like keeping ya heart pumpin'. Soooo this means all the nutrients you are taking in are not metabolised and your metabolism ultimately comes to a screeching halt. You, my friend, are stopping your own metabolism from working at optimal capacity. Say whaaa?
Your body is smarter than you. It will continue to look for food when you're not hungry when it doesn't have enough water. Why? It is hoping to extract water from the food you eat because it needs it! Back in the day this strategy was key because most of the food people consumed was fruit and vegetables that are high in H2O. However, because being hydrated actually causes us to crave salty things (the bod wants to balance electrolytes) and tasty, salty snacks are so readily available nowadays, that becomes an issue. See where I'm going here? And those salty snacks ain't got much water in 'em!
Reshaping your body while dehydrated is exhausting physically and mentally. You'll be having all ze cravings and feeling like you are getting nowhere fast, even with all your efforts. A study was done that showed if you drank a glass of water it stops hunger pangs. Imagine avoiding alllll the drama of feeling like you're not progressing by just had some aqua?!
The Habit of Drinking Water
Why is it so difficult to drink a 250ml glass of water when it is so easy to drink a 250ml glass of wine? (Try drinking your water out of a wine glass and see what happens!)
Our modern environment makes doing the things that do the most for our health so hard sometimes. If you're reading this you most likely have access to clean drinking water. Then why is it so hard for us to understand the symptoms of dehydration and drank the dang water? We've become to disconnected from ourselves and our bodies that we don't even notice when we're thirsty. We've created the habit of NOT drinking water in lieu of caffeinated, sugary bevys instead. Look, I love a good coffee, and it does give us a good burst of energy but it is also dehydrating. Soooo you will end up with less energy during the day, not more.
So, now you get the importance of aqua. You may now be thinking, 'Okay, I will start to drink more water.' But what does that even mean?! It is more complex than that statement. You first need to create awareness around your thirst cues to then encourage you to drink water. So we need to address the idea of habits and the habit loop in order to make this a staple in your life.
Drinking water is something that you can do everyday towards your health or body comp goals and feel successful with, that you are on the right track because it is very low barrier to entry right? But it's just getting the right triggers, routines and rewards in place. Just the small action of drinking water can make you feel like you are successful even when everything else feels like it is falling by the wayside. Try some of these:
Place a glass of water beside your bed at night and drink it upon waking
Have a snazzy drink bottle that you take with you everywhere. Have one at work, in the car, at home.
Have a sticky note not he door to remind you to take your water bottle to work with you each morning.
Drink a full glass of water before every meal.
Set alarms on your phone to trigger you to drink water through the day.
Have lemons and limes on hand to make water taste delish.
Add hydrating foods to meals (see list below).
Start a water challenge at work or with a buddy.
Drop one caffeinated drink from your day and replace it with water.
Try adding just one glass of water a day.
High water content foods:
1. Cucumber (96%)
2. Iceburg lettuce (95%)
3. Tomatoes (94%)
4. Bell peppers (93%)
5. Cauliflower (92%)
6. Watermelon (91%)
7. Spinach (91%)
8. Baby carrots (90%)
9. Broccoli (90%)
10. Grapefruit (90%)
One of the biggest downfalls to getting in more water, however, is needing to go to the bathroom all the time. Many of my clients have experienced this and it is a little niggly - especially in the middle of the night. But It does get better once your body adjusts. Just be aware of when you are drinking water during the day in terms of your schedule. If you are unable to go to the bathroom for a couple of hours then stop drinking water an hour or so beforehand. If you get up in the night to use the bathroom, time it so you stop drinking water early evening.
The habit of drinking water is simple but it isn't easy. This is why having a plan is key. Like all things, identify the things that could get in your way and have a strategy in place to help you overcome these obstacles. Awareness is the first step to change so start getting curious about your body, what it's telling you and how you can change your environment to better set up for a solid water-drinking habit.
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