I came across this fabulous picture about 2 months ago entitled “Why Dehydration is making you Fat and Sick”. In fact I have a pile in my clinic and give them to all of my nutrition clients and they are always really surprised when they read it.
Very few of my clients drink enough water: We’re all busy – we can switch on our computers one minute – and the next minute 4 hours have passed. Days, weeks months fly by (we’re in October 2015 already and it only seemed like spring a few weeks ago!)
But consider this: A recent study in Japan asked thousands of people to just drink a large glass of water when they got up in the morning – about 45 minutes before they ate. They didn’t have to make any other changes. And the overall results were really interesting: A significant drop in blood pressure and digestive complaints. Question: How many people do you know with high blood pressure or digestion problems?
Many of you will have seen the Facebook images of the lady who decided to drink 3 litres of water a day for 30 days. No other changes to her diet or lifestyle. The before and after photos were pretty amazing.
Do a Google search of “symptoms of dehydration”… 33 million results later you have a really comprehensive list from dry mouth, weakness, thirst, dry eyes – right the way through to heart muscle cramps, light-headedness, nausea and vomiting – even heart palpitations. Every cell in your body needs water. If you just consider that your skin is shedding 50-60,000 cells every minute you’re alive, you can start to build a mental picture of just how much water your body needs every day. As water.
We are 60-75% water. Not tea. Not coffee. Not juice. Water.
I remember someone asking me to close my eyes once and picture my body as an empty vessel (I know what you’re thinking!!). He asked me to picture black coffee running through it, then told me to visualise my body being flushed with sugary juice. Finally he asked me to picture clear water running though it before he asked me to open my eyes again. He asked me which body did I think would function better? “The one with water flowing through it” I replied. That one visualisation was the trigger I needed to start getting serious about how much water I drank. In fact it was the image of black coffee running though my body that made me feel really yucky.
The general rule of thumb is to drink 1 litre of water per every 30kg of body weight (just over 4.5 stones). So if you weight 9 stone, you should aim for 2 litres per day. But that’s just your baseline amount. So if you’re exercising, or work in a hot environment – or a dry environment, then it should be more.
Let’s say you decide to drink 3 litres a day (that’s 5.3 pints per day). That means for every one of your 16 waking hours (assuming you sleep for 8) you should drink a 33cl glass of water – a wine glass size. Not so huge. When I break it down like that to my clients, they agree that’s not so bad.
But the trouble is remembering every hour to drink that wine glass size of water. Yep – I’d agree. Hours vanish don’t they? And then suddenly it’s lunchtime and you’re a litre behind where you should be and then it starts to feel like a chore.
So this is what worked for me: I bought big BPA-free* water bottle (about 700ml size) and I just carry it around with me. I have a big glass of water in the morning when I get up. I fill up my water bottle 3 times a day and sip it constantly – and then I have a big glass of water when I go to bed at night. It is not so difficult. And I drink my water at room temperature because that’s what I prefer.
And yes – I probably go to the loo a couple more times during the day – but my wee is almost clear – and when I go back to that visualisation of the running water flowing through me, it makes me feel good to think that I am constantly cleansing myself. In actual fact, it’s not just the amount of urine stored in our bladders that makes us want to go to the loo: the other thing that stimulates our bladders is the concentration of our urine: So if it’s highly concentrated – that will also trigger the mechanism that tells our bodies to get rid of it (pee in other words). Some of you will find that you go to the loo less when you drink more water.
So this was just a short piece to get you thinking. Should I be drinking more water? And hopefully many of you will decide yes. If you decide yes – commit for 3 weeks (it only takes 21 days to change a habit). The biggest results come from changing one thing at a time and sticking with that change – than changing lots of things at once and finding that this is unsustainable. So just change that 1 thing for the next 3 weeks.
I’d really like to hear your results too if you have time.
All the best, APRIL x www.april4health.com
*Bisphenol A’s are the controversial molecules in plastic bottles that make your water taste “plasticy” if you’ve left it in the car. I don’t want to put plastic into my body if I can avoid it – it’s not natural.