Is it normal for you to feel tired during the day, experience headaches often, get dizzy when exercising, or have dry skin? These, are common symptoms, amongst others to be described later, that are culprits of dehydration, in which an estimated 75% of the population unknowingly and chronically lives with on a day to day basis.
Hydration: How to be a grape
Ever thought water was the best thing ever during a workout? You just couldn’t get enough? Water is just as important when we aren’t collecting sweat in a workout. Though not always the most exciting beverage, it is essential for optimal health and survival.
We are approximately 60% water. A true liquid asset to our health, water does so much for us including the regulation of body temperature, lubrication of our joints and body tissues, delivery of nutrients and oxygen to cells, flushes out waste products, prevents constipation, and maintains blood volume.
So how much do you need? A basic recommendation is 8 cups a day (imagine a half gallon of milk). That's the pretty bare bones minimum though, so if you aren't even meeting this, it's time to step your game up.
Depending on your age, weight, gender, environment (extreme heat or cold), and obviously how much you exercise, this number could be a serious low-ball.
Math Cap On
The infographic above gives guidelines on ounces for the average man, woman, and additional liquid if you are an athlete. You can also use the following basic equation:
What's Your Pee Look Like (Not to Be Creepy)
Most of us know that a dark colored and smelly urine is a sign of dehydration. Anything leaning towards more yellow than clear is a sign you need to sub the coffee for some agua.
Additional physical signs of dehydration can include a dry or sticky mouth, weight gain, joint pain and stiffness, and bladder or kidney problems¹. Yes, you read right, weight gain. Water helps us suppress hunger, reduces our body's sodium levels, and maintains muscle tone and metabolism. Motivated to drink more water yet?
Night time activities like drinking alcohol and sleeping can also dry you out. Drinking a large glass of water right after you wake up is a great way to rehydrate from sleeping and kickstart your day.
Tricks and Tips
If drinking water consistently really is a struggle for you, spice things up by adding slices of fruits, vegetables, or herbs. Fruits may include orange slices, fresh or frozen assorted berries, cucumber slices, watermelon slices, lemon and lime slices. Herbs can be anything from mint, sage, cinnamon sticks, and basil—explore!
Another tip is to buy a "water timer bottle". When it’s in sight, it’s in mind, allowing you not only easy access, but an easy decision when you need a drink.
Secondly, create a chart that will allow you to see your daily water consumption from drinking water specifically. This will allow you to see if you met your goal for the day. The small wins add up! Eventually, you may be able to do without the charting as it becomes habit to consume the proper amount of drinking water.
1 "Dehydration and Weight Gain." Spirit of Change. October 19, 2017. Accessed August 03, 2018. http://www.spiritofchange.org/alternative-health/Dehydration-and-Weight-Gain/.
2 "Water, Hydration, and Health." Popkin, B., D'Anci, K., Rosenburg, I.
Water, Hydration, and Health. Accessed August 03, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
This recipe is simple, and so tasty. I advise many of my clients, and not just the ones on a weight loss journey mind you, to substitute at least half of their starch or grain (i.e. rice, potatoes, breads, etc.) for a vegetable.
The main reason being that vegetables have a higher nutrient density than their grainy counterparts, and the vast majority of Americans aren't getting enough.
This is a great recipe to try for the grain for vegetable substitution!
Now, I am in no way condoning cutting whole grains and potatoes out of your diet as many fad diets have made us believe is healthy, but the processed versions on the other hand, we can definitely live without.
Back to the point, by using spices to add amazing flavor to your food (in this case carrots, red peppers, chickpeas, and/or acorn squash), you will not miss the starch or grain you limited.
There are several cultures around the world who have mastered this, one being the Moroccan culture, and Mediterranean region in general. Furthermore, if you are on a vegan diet, omit the coconut yogurt topping and chicken and you are all set!
"Wow, this is tasty" were the first words out of my mouth after trying this recipe. I was skeptical at first, because it looks too healthy to be any good, but I walked away from the stove feeling like I had just won an episode of "Chopped".
This recipe was inspired by the flavors of fall, and for a warm hearty meal as temperatures are starting to drop. It's easy to shop for, I've broken your shopping list into two lists below to help you as you peruse the store. *Note: lentils are in the dry goods section!
Disclaimer about Calorie Tracking
Calorie tracking is not for everyone, and if you find it to be too obsessive for your tastes don't worry about it, your focus is better served on mindful eating.
Part of mindful eating is being in tune with what your little stomach desires. Eat this soup (or any other meal) until you are satisfied instead of Thanksgiving full.
The story of our lives will forever be that we need to cultivate a healthy relationship with food as much as we need quality, healthy foods. Why not start today?
Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com
Approximately 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, yet two-thirds remain obese. One of the reasons behind this epidemic is the fact that people get lured into trying a fad diet — sometimes more than once — that promises to torch calories and melt fat without changing your diet or hitting the gym. As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race, and that means losing weight the safe way with a combination of diet, exercise, and wellness-focused discipline.
Address Mental Health
Mental illnesses such as binge eating disorder, night eating syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression should be treated in conjunction with a diet and exercise program. Studies indicate that there’s a link between mental health and obesity — depression can prompt obesity, and obesity can prompt depression. Along with focusing on losing weight and learning that food is for survival and not comfort, it’s crucial that underlying mental health issues are addressed in order to break the vicious cycle.
Manage Your Stress
Stress-related, mindless eating involves consuming food — sometimes in a large amount — even when you’re not hungry. Approximately 27 percent of adults in the US admit that eating is a form of stress management, while 34 percent say eating unhealthy foods due to stress is a habit. Not only do these actions create feelings of guilt and shame, but they also make it impossible to lose weight and keep it off. While seeing a therapist can help you manage your feelings, there are several wellness-based approaches you can take to manage your stress levels.
Make it Convenient to Work Out
Not having time is one of the biggest excuses people use to avoid working out. Make that excuse next to impossible by setting up a home gym equipped with cost-effective equipment, like adjustable resistance bands, a Swiss ball, and kettlebells. Check out local resale shops or online websites that sell previously-used goods to see if you can find these items at a lower cost. Instead of paying for an expensive gym membership, bring the instructor into your living room by downloading a workout app to help you with form, safety, and motivation.
Make Healthy Eating Fun
The words “balanced” and “diet” need not feel like a punishment. In fact, you can create endless combinations of tasty dishes and snacks utilizing healthy ingredients that don’t taste like rabbit food. Take up a cooking course, or scour YouTube for ideas. The more variety you have in your diet, the less apt you’ll be to slip.
To ensure safety, be sure to consult your doctor before starting any diet or exercise plan. This is particularly important if you have any underlying medical conditions where overexertion or food restriction may have a counter effect on your wellness. Remember, don’t beat yourself up if you have a slip up. Not only is it normal, but it can help you become stronger for the long term.
Author: Kylie Viens, RDN
If we think of our body as if it were a car, we know our car needs adequate fuel to start and get us where we need to go. Our bodies truly are no different, as they need optimal fuel to “go”—not to mention, thrive and survive.
If you were to think of eating as a way of refueling, and base your decisions purely off of how your body would respond, would your food choices change? What if you had no tastebuds and an infinite amount of money. What would you eat then?
Having a healthy relationship with food is a very important and not commonly talked about issue in our society. The following article is one Registered Dietitian Nutritionist's brief insight onto the topic!
It's very normal for me to hear from my patients that when they eat better they feel better, and science continues to prove this reflection as having much validity.
The answers to what I've asked you so far are fairly obvious, but we are emotional and feeling beings, thusly not every food will provide us with the same sense of satisfaction.
All foods whether they are nutrient dense or not, serve a purpose—some for nutrition, some for the soul, and that's okay!
The 80/20 Rule
No one has a perfect diet (even dietitians!); however, there is a rule that applies to many aspects of life called the Pareto Principle, or 80/20 rule.
This isn’t a bad way to look at the big picture, meaning that if you can focus on nutrient dense foods 80% of the time, and enjoy your grandma’s homemade macaroni and cheese or brownies 20% of the time—there’s a good chance you will maintain a healthy weight and lessen your risk for chronic diseases.
You could also think of filling your plate following this rule!
A healthy relationship with food most certainly includes our comfort food favs as it helps us be in tune with what will both satisfy hunger and our tastebuds. Further, it is not absurd to eat outside of physical hunger, or something we should be guiltily beating ourselves up about.
There are many reasons as to why we eat other than just responding to our biological hunger signals.
In terms of emotional eating, food will not fix feelings of boredom, stress, procrastination, depression, sadness, anxiety, and so forth.
Although a normal reaction to reach for food, it is important to find healthy ways to cope with emotional feelings outside of eating.
Listen to your Body
Eating should be an enjoyable experience! Unfortunately, the society we live in today has made that more than a challenge for many. Eating should not create feelings of regret, remorse, guilt, or questioning one’s will-power!
Physical activity, meditation, talking to a friend or family member, starting an art project, and gardening are just some examples of “outs” for people without pursuing food to suppress feelings.
If you are interested in taking your commitment level up a notch, personal food logs can be a valuable tool for assessing not only the type and quantity of food and beverage consumption, but also our feelings before, during, and after eating a particular meal or snack.
*I have no stake in the recommendation of this book.
Eating healthy doesn't have to be such a puzzle or stressful part of your day. There are simple tips, like the 80/20 rule and eating intuitively that can help you make good decisions in regards to your diet.