Water...a love story...
Saturday, May 07, 2011
When I set out on this journey one of my first goals was to drink 6-8 glasses of water a daily.
If you're like me just the thought of water makes you cringe. Since I was very young, my beverage of choice was pepsi. I lived on pepsi as I grew up. In my teens I could easily polish of a 2liter bottle in a day if given the chance. The ONLY time I drank water was if I was out on a hot day and 'craved' it, though I rarely craved more than a few sips to cool me down. Little did I know the damage I was doing.
According to a study done by the Mayo Clinic in 2010, a whopping 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
Dehydration, simply put, is a lack or loss of ample water supply.
I'm not telling you anything new when I say water is imperative to bodies functions. You've heard this before. But what exactly are the functions it is most vital to? And what happens to those functions when you are dehydrated?
First, let's look at the symptoms of dehydration.
If you are mildly dehydrated you will have the following symptoms:
Dry, sticky mouth
Decreased urine output
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Mild dehydration is generally remedied by drinking a serving or two of water.
Symptoms of extreme dehydration are:
Extreme dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
Lack of sweating
Scant urination - urine produced will be dark yellow or amber
Low blood pressure
No tears when crying
In cases of extreme dehydration, medical attention is needed.
Body functions which rely upon water
We've all heard that our bodies are made up of up to 70% water but what exactly does that mean? Here's a breakdown of water and it's important contribution to our daily bodily functions.
Blood is made up of approximately 82% of water. Think of the 3 molecules which make up water (2 hydrogen, 1 oxygen) as a dump truck carrying nutrients to and taking away waste from each cell.
Believe it or not, your brain is 75% water! So you can see how a dehydrated person will feel groggy, irritated and confused. Remember, your brain is the electrical center of your body and water is the perfect conductor of electricity. Don't believe me? Turn on an electric hair dryer while standing in a puddle! The hydrogen/oxygen combination in water is essential to the chemical processes is your brain.
Again the function of water is the carry nutrients to and carry waste away. Think of all the toxins you breath in every day. What you can't breath out, water in the blood will eliminate.
Did you know that skin is your largest organ? It's also the first thing to suffer when you're dehydrated. Water helps to keep the lipid (fat) barrier between skin cells lucid keeps your skin healthy and glowing.
It should come as no surprise that water is imperative to the function of the kidneys, after all they are key to the body's filtering system. When kidney function diminishes it puts added stress on the liver to do its own job and the kidney's.
These are just some of the vital functions directly affected to water intake.
We all know the old rule of 6-8 glasses of water a day. But, I have lots of different sized glasses in my cupboard - does that mean a small juice glass (6oz) or a large tumbler (24 oz)? Generally a serving is 8 ounces.
But let's throw that whole idea out and start over.
The new rule of thumb for daily water intake is to take your body weight (present - not dream weight ;) and divide by 2. That is how many ounces of water your body needs to function properly. So if you're 160lbs, you need 80 ounces a day. If you live in a hot or arid climate you will want to add 2 more servings a day and if you're exercising add 1 serving for every 20 minutes of exercise. If you smoke or are taking certain medications you should ask your doctor how much to increase your water intake (or just stop smoking. ;) I know, easier said then done)
Avoid drinking your daily allowance of water in one sitting. It over loads your kidneys and can cause water intoxication, which can be deadly, especially in children.
If you're goal is to lose weight, drinking water before a meal will help to control your portions. Just be sure you're not denying yourself the vital nutrients of the meal in return for water...your body needs both.
Well, I can tell you from my own experience what water has done for my body since starting my healthy journey. Consider these comparisons I've made of my dehydrated self vs. my hydrated self.
Dehydrated Snackattackmama: Dark circles under the eyes; dry, brittle hair; extreme dry skin; irritability; sore joints; urinary issues; constipation.
Hydrated Snackattackmama: Glowing skin; smooth, shiny hair; more emotionally balanced; improved joint pain; improved digestive regulation
And that's in less than a month!
One final trick!
If you still can't stand water maybe these tricks can help you fall in love!
Hit the bottle: Growing up drinking soda from a bottle was a major treat for me. Drinking from a plastic bottle stirs up happy feelings for me so when I endeavor to get my daily fill I reach not for a glass but a 20oz bottle. Four bottles full equal almost a whole day's allowance for me. Plus I'm tricking my body into thinking water is now a treat!
Tea, coffee and water flavorings (like kool aid or crystal light) certainly count toward your water intake. Just be aware that caffeine is a diuretic which will cause most of the water to pass through without providing it's complete nutritional benefit and many flavorings are loaded with sugar.
So with that all in mind...DRINK UP!