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May 18

Water

When was the last time you had a drink of water?  Not coffee, not soda or an energy drink but pure, plain water….  Think about it for a minute…. How much water do you really drink every day?  Honestly, is it enough?

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”  ~ Loran Eisely

As we progress in recovery we often come to the realization that we haven’t been taking good care of our bodies.  Whether through addictions or simply because we’ve been obsessing over the general mess of our lives many of us need to pay more attention to our physical health.  If you’re feeling run down think about what you’ve been putting into your body.  Remember, the state of the body greatly affects the state of the mind and (second only to air) water is what the body needs most.  It is what we’re made of and it is a basic requirement to sustain life.  If you aren’t quite convinced consider the following:

The body is 78% water.

The lymphatic system is 95% water.

The brain is 90% water.

The circulatory system is 99% water.

Drinking water is one of easiest things you can do right now to start feeling better.  So often we mistake thirst for hunger or try to quench our thirst with caffeine which tends to dehydrate us even further. Headaches and low energy levels are two common symptoms of inadequate hydration.  Know that if you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated to some extent.  One of the first things to do anytime you aren’t feeling quite right physically or mentally is a sanity check on your water intake.

The old 8 glasses of water a day isn’t a bad place to start.  Mind you these are 8 ounce glasses, not Dixie cups and that is the bare minimum.  One good way to calculate how much water you need is half your body weight in ounces – so if you weigh 140 pounds that’s 70 ounces of water per day minimum and that works out to just a little over those 8 glasses.  There are several factors to consider, your weight, your activity level, the climate you live in and the type of food you eat.  If you have a diet high in water rich foods (natural, raw fruits and vegetables) you may need a little less than someone who eats a lot of junk food that needs to be flushed and provides little to no hydration.  This water calculator from About.com has general guidelines for proper water consumption by weight.

Here are some powerful reasons to increase the amount of water you drink:

  • Water not only hydrates the body but also flushes the systems and organs of toxins, waste and debris.   The higher the level of toxicity or the more chronic the state of dehydration the more important the issue of drinking enough water becomes.
  • Dehydration makes you tired.  Even mild dehydration can make the muscles feel weak, cause dizziness and lead to general fatigue.
  • Although there are many causes for headaches not drinking enough water is the most common in the general population.  Especially when exercising or being outdoors in the warmer months proper hydration is the best thing you can do to prevent a headache and one of the fastest ways to cure one.
  • Water is an excellent tool for weight loss.  Drinking more water tends to suppress the appetite and helps us realize when we are truly hungry.  At least one full glass of water before a meal greatly reduces the urge to overeat.
  • Drinking water has a definite effect on the skin.  Adequate amounts lead to clearer skin, less dryness and even fewer wrinkles when continued as a daily habit.
  • The digestive system requires water to process food properly.  Both constipation and stomach acidity can be reduced and even cured through increased water intake.
  • Proper water consumption can reduce the risk of a heart attack. A study released in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than five glasses of water a day proved to be 41% less likely to die from heart attacks than those who drank less than two.
  • Drinking a healthy amount of water has even been found to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer by up to 50%.

So what can you do to make it a habit?  These are a few ideas:

  • Drink at least one glass of water upon waking, one before every meal or snack and two before going to bed.
  • Drink one glass of water before every cup of coffee, glass of soda or other beverage.
  • Substitute water for other drinks throughout the day.  Maybe choosing a water only policy with lunch or dinner.
  • Carry a water bottle. Know how many ounces it contains and how many times you’ll need to refill it to meet your minimum.
  • Exercise.  Even though exercise increases the amount of water we need to drink it also increases our desire to drink it.

As we bring our attention to taking better care of ourselves we realize that there are changes we can make right now for immediate improvements to our general health and outlook.  We need to be reminded that our habits will absolutely affect the way we feel both mentally and physically, our choices really do matter.  What if some of our discomfort could be relieved at least in part by a few slow deep breaths or a simple glass of water?  Holistic recovery asks us to address the self in its entirety.   One step at a time, one habit at a time we see the benefits unfold and tremendous synergy begins to occur as all the systems of the body, mind and spirit work together for healing.

 

 

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