I see it so often. Both in my clients and in friends and family.
The problem and also the oh so simple solution.
And yet they don’t accept it. Or don’t act on it.
What’s the problem?
A lack of energy, or focus or something along those lines. Whilst it’s true there could be a number of root causes, almost always I look for the simple solutions first and then work into more complex ones.
Because most the time, these people aren’t doing the simplest of things.
What’s the solution?
Well, it’s not a panacea (well, it is in some books – more on that below), but it works surprisingly well.
What is it?
Yes, water. Most people in my experience are chronically dehydrated. Whether you think you are or not, is another matter. Some people (even some experts) say that you should drink when you’re thirsty and that this is the fist sign of dehydration. I disagree. Well – I agree that you should drink when you’re thirsty, but also when you’re not thirsty.
Sip. Sip. Sip. Throughout the day. Thirst is definitely too late in my opinion. Sure, you’re not Sahara desert dehydrated, but review this.
A 1.5% drop in water fluid leads to headaches
A 3% drop in water fluid leads to fuzzy brain. (No-one wants that. Especially at work where it’ll take you longer to get anything done and then out the door!)
A 5% drop in water fluid leads to a 25% – 30% drop in energy.
Any more and you start to get really serious consequences.
So how much water should you take?
And do foods and other beverages count.
Okay, for me the only beverages that count are herbal teas really. Non caffeinated ones at that (sorry Green Tea!). Definitely not teas and coffees. Nor fruit juices. Fruit juices (and the government is starting to catch up) are not at all good for you. Too much concentrated sugar in one place. It takes around 8 oranges to make a glass of OJ and when can you ever eat 8 oranges in the time it usually takes to drink a glass of the juice? Never. That’s when.
I do count non-sweet fresh (i.e. not store bought) vegetable juices as OK too.
Food can count towards water intake – if you eat lots of water rich food that is. Like vegetables and salads. But… how do you really measure that easily?
Here’s what I recommend. (Recommendations vary among experts, so disagree if you like, but remember, you only really know what affect it has on you once you give it a go).
I aim for 3-4 litres a day. I’m 76kg though. Rule of thumb is half your body weight in pounds (lbs), drink in fluid ounces.
So, 76kg -> 167lbs (2.2 x 76), which then means 84 fluid ounces. Which is 3 litres (84 ÷ 28, as roughly 28 ml to one fluid ounce)
A quick way to work it out is
0.0312 x (weight in kg).
e.g. Female weighing 50kg should drink (rule of thumb) 0.0312 x 50 = 1.56 litres a day (min).
When exercising, talking a lot, moving a lot, you should go a little higher. Drink consistently throughout the day and if you’re off the mark, then increase gradually over several days and weeks until you hit your numbers.
Getting enough good quality water in you is essential for health, high performance and having a generally kick-ass life.
It will give you better focus, curb your inappropriate cravings, give you better skin, hair and nails, give you more energy and get you moving more (because of all the toilet trips!) – amongst countless other benefits.
The late Dr Batmanghelidj wrote about the miracle healing properties of water. He was incarcerated in prison when the Iranian Revolution broke out in the late 70’s and it’s there that he witnessed the miracle curing properties of water.
He treated numerous patients with just water and they got better. Granted some patients would get well anyway and some would be affected by placebo (which deserves more credit because the fact that people get better because they think they should because of a treatment needs to be more thoroughly invested and championed. Not controlled against).
He became convinced on the healing properties of water and that it was the root cause for many ailments. I don’t quite buy that. There are many things in my opinion which cause dis-ease and illness in the body. But he’s on the right track I think.
Drink more water. Start slowly though and get the body used to it.
How to do this practically?
Start with buying a purpose built water bottle. Don’t reuse plastic bottles. Hell, don’t even buy them in the first place if you can help it. Bad for environment but also bad for you as plastics leach into the water.
Get a glass bottle (like from LifeFactory – one example here, but there are other types and makes), or a BPA plastic bottle. I have used all of the following and can recommend: Bobble, KOR, Thermos, Aladdin, and Maigg.
There are plenty of others too.
Then work out how much you need to drink. I went on the idea of needing 4 litres a day (I’m pretty active). So here’s how I did it.
When at work at my desk I would have the full bottle in front of me. At the time I had a 1 litre bobble water bottle.
My target would be to finish it by lunchtime.
Then refill and finish again by leaving time.
That was two litres there and then.
To get the other two litres in aim for 500 ml as soon as I woke up in the morning.
Then another 500 ml on my commute and getting ready.
The last 1 litre is for the way home and before dinner and then before bed (allowing enough time for it to pass before hitting the hay).
Was it always exactly 4 litres. No. Of course not. Did I throughly measure every ml consumed. No.
My main key was the 2 litres at work. Much easier to manage.
And now that I work from home mainly, I find it easier to fill the kettle to 2 litres and keep filling my herbal tea until the kettle is drained.
Coupled with over 1 litre of green drinks each morning, hot water lemon first thing, a big downing of water in the morning too and some sipping on my water bottle, I easily get the 4 litres I want a day.
The key really starts with getting a water bottle though. Or a jug.
If you leave it to just getting a glass here and there. You won’t drink enough or know how much you’ve drunk.
Give it a go. Start with where you are and aim to increase it by 10%-20% each week until you hit your number.
Let me know what you think about this and your experiences.