Thursday, January 7, 2010

Post Holiday Clean-Up, Part 1

Now that the holidays are over and the new year has begun, most everyone is on the bandwagon to get in shape.  Sometimes, that list of resolutions is so long, or detailed, or demanding that we often give up in frustration by mid-February.  While there is nothing wrong with deciding to do things differently, and taking better care of ourselves is a great goal, I think the "baby-steps" approach is far better and long-lasting than the "all-or-nothing" way we usually go about our resolutions.  Unless you have a cooking and shopping staff at home, YOU will still be the one who chooses the foods you eat, and how those foods are prepared.  Unless you are at a spa or resort for an extended time, YOU will be the one you answer to for how you spend you time - whether or not you are exercising, getting adequate sleep and taking time to care for yourself.  When the "buck" stops with us, we usually cave in if everything seems like it's too much change, too fast.

One of the least traumatic ways to begin your new healthy year
is to increase your water in-take.  It sounds too simplistic to make much of an impact on our overall health, but inadequate water can affect you in a myriad of ways, including: insomnia, low energy levels, increased hunger, inability to regulate body temperature, joint pain, constipation, and more.

A good goal for how much water you should be consuming each day is to divide your body weight in half.  The number you get is the number of ounces you should be drinking each day (for example, if you weighed 120 lbs, you should aim to drink 60 oz of water each day).  These are not amounts that cause hyper-hydration.  These are amounts that most of us drink each day, but most often in the form of coffees, lattes, sodas, juices and other beverages.

Try this experiment for a week:  Grab a glass of water first thing in the morning, and then space out your other doses throughout the morning and afternoon.  Figure out how many ounces of water your water bottle holds and how many times you will need to fill it to get your target amount.  I find that using an 8 oz cup is helpful for me, since I can slug it down at once, and keep track of how many of those glasses I need to consume each day.  I also try to take my aluminum water bottle with me wherever I go.  After a week, see how you're feeling.  Check in with yourself about any changes in your appetite, energy levels and aches & pains.  You just might be surprised to find that something so simple and inexpensive can have such a big impact on your body.

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