Chatting with a potential client, I was going through the motions of asking health related questions to establish a baseline. The answers were fairly predictable: “No, I don’t exercise regularly”, “Yes, I would like to loose weight and have more energy” and then she said something that contradicted everything up to this point and let me know I could never help her.
“I won’t drink water because I can’t stand the taste.”
My mind was blown.
I thought to myself, “How do we even begin building better habits when she can’t recognize the value of this basic nutritional staple? Water is necessary for EVERY function of the human body.”
So I took a breath, dove in, and listened to her justify her distaste of water.
- She’s never thirsty.
- She get’s a stomach ache or feels bloated when she drinks water.
- Water tastes bad.
Clearly, she’s survived this long without water, so was it really necessary to change the habit?
Honestly, even knowing the importance of water, I occasionally find it cumbersome to get enough each day. Which begs the questions: how much is enough and what happens if I don’t drink the right amount?
The answers to these questions are fundamentally basic but their importance cannot be understated.
Research shows that just 1% dehydration has negative impacts on your mood, attention span and memory.
Health Hack #1: Stay Hydrated to Retain Positive Moods, Attention and Memory
It turns out that dehydration temporarily decreases brain tissue fluid, which reduces brain volume and affects cell function. So when you can’t pull that piece of info out of your head during the meeting, stop reaching for coffee and grab a water bottle instead.
Look around for a minute and you’ll see that every human has a unique make up of height, weight, muscle mass and activity level. So the blanket 64 oz of water that is commonly referred to is a little disconcerting. Who did they research to see if that would be enough? Or too much? I mean, no one ever asked me, so they probably didn’t check with you either. So here’s the hack:
Health Hack #2: Do the Math to Figure Out How Much Water Your Body Needs
Here’s how to figure out how many ounces of water are required to keep you baseline hydrated:
Take your body weight and divide it in half.
So if you weigh 175 lbs, then you need to drink about 88 ounces of water each day.
If you are a coffee drinker, there’s an extra step you’ll have to take. For every 8 oz of caffeine you consume, add another 8 oz of water to your daily total. Caffeine takes quite a bit of water to process and actually dehydrates the body.
You might be tempted to guzzle some of your water quota all at once. You’ll benefit more from drinking water consistently throughout the day instead of all at once. This allows your body to soak up and use the water instead of flushing it all out and filling your bladder.
Pro Tip: Drink 32 oz of room temperature water within the first 30 minutes of waking each day to “wake-up” your internal organs and flush a night full of toxins.
Health Hack #3: Get More Nutrition Out of Your Meals by Timing Your Fluid Intake
The food service industry drives me nuts sometimes.
It’s a common misconception that you should have a drink with your meal. The phrase “washing it down”, referring to the beverage of choice at a meal tells the story perfectly.
What no one talks about is the effect that mixing fluids and foods has on your digestion. I could paint a horrifying mental picture involving your lunch, an iced soda and a blender, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll just remind you that our perfectly designed digestive tract has the ideal blend of fluids already in place to process your food into fuel.
Introducing fluids mid meal throws off the whole balance. Throwing freezing cold fluid into the mix is worse yet, as the body is forced to bring the fluid to body temperature before it can even be processed. This can easily lead to cramping and bloating as digestive fluids are reallocated to deal with the situation.
Do it right: Drink 16-20 ounces of water about 20 minutes before you eat to prep your body for digestion. Chew well, and eat slowly allowing your body to do the food breakdown for you. Give your body about 30 minutes to digest before consuming more water.
The human body functions on water. We literally can’t survive without it. Take the 5 day challenge. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water for 5 consecutive days. At the end of day five you will notice your hunger levels have evened out, your moods have stabilized, energy levels have increased and mental clarity has improved. You might even drop a few pounds as your body operates with more efficiency. Follow these tips for success.