Finally summer is here! The kids are playing soccer, the neighbours are taking their dogs on longer walks and the runners are everywhere. With the heat finally here (and I do love the heat!) be sure to protect yourself, and I'm not just talking about sunscreen, I'm referring to hydration - making sure you are drinking enough water. Funny how so many apply sunscreen yet forget about water.
As the weather gets warmer and we become more active, our body loses more fluids. In fact, our body loses as much as 4 litres of fluid every single day. Water is a necessity. In addition to enhancing the absorption of nutrients from your foods and eliminating waste and toxins from the body; water also helps prevent weight gain and supports weight loss by increasing your metabolism. As well, dehydration can be mistaken for hunger pangs, so many reach for food instead of water. TIP: If you feel hungry, stop and think whether you should be. If you had lunch 30 minutes ago, chances are you are thirsty and not hungry. So reach for that glass of water instead of that bag of chips.
Signs That You May Be Dehydrated:
- Thirst – if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated
- Dry skin and lips
- Poor concentration
How Much Water Do You Need?
We've all heard the rule of thumb "8 glasses of water a day". This number depends on several factors such as weight, how active you are, weather temperature... To keep it simple, aim for at least 8 glasses a day and increase if you are working out. In case you’re curious of the recommended quantity based on you body weight, here is the calculation:
Take your weight in pounds and divide by 2. That number is amount of ounces of water you need every day. To see how many glasses that is, divide by 8.
For example: 150/2 = 75 ounces or 75/8 = about 9 glasses
Or you can check out this website for the calculator based on daily level of activity and climate: http://www.csgnetwork.com/humanh2owater.html
Or you can check out this website for the calculator based on daily level of activity and climate: http://www.csgnetwork.com/humanh2owater.htmlWhen you’re working out, have 1 cup of water 30 minutes before your workout, 1 cup every 30 minutes and another cup within 30 minutes of finishing your workout.
Beverages that Hydrate and Dehydrate
Water: This is the most natural and easiest way to hydrate. If you have trouble keeping up your water intake because you find the taste bland, add lemon, lime, mint, cucumber slices or a dash of unsweetened juice.
Vitaminwater: Don’t be fouled by the name (I’ve worked in Advertising so I know what goes on behind the scenes). In the UK ad regulators told Coca-Cola they could no longer advertise their product Vitaminwater as nutritious, while in the US a district court judge wrote that vitaminwater’s use of the word “healthy” violated Food and Drug Administration labelling rules. Coca-Cola attempted to defend itself by stating that, "no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage". Yes, even Coca-Cola fully admits it’s not healthy. The product is basically sugar-water, to which about a penny's worth of synthetic vitamins have been added. And the amount of sugar is not trivial. A bottle of Vitaminwater contains 33 grams of sugar (Coke has 42 grams). Do the body good and stick to water.
Sports Drinks: They are full of sugar and chemicals such as color and flavor additives. Unless you are a marathon runner, I don’t suggest sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade…) Instead coconut water, which is starting to appear in many major grocery chains, can provide you with similar benefits of sports drinks without the additives. Read my blog on coconut water for the many benefits of this all-natural wonder drink.
Coffee and Tea: Caffeine is a diuretic which makes you lose fluid, so make sure you are adding 2 glasses of water for every cup of java or black tea. And try to keep your caffeine consumption to one cup a day.
Soft Drinks: Its caffeine, sugar and artificial sweeteners cause dehydration on top of the other negative health attributes including weight gain. I encourage you to skip the pop and diet pop altogether.
Juice: They are packed with sugar which reduces water absorption. Trade in your juices for unsweetened juices and I suggest adding water, especially when serving to kids. Less sugar means your kids won’t be jumping off the walls!
Alcohol: Alcohol dehydrates you, so if you are enjoying a glass of wine, make sure you are having water afterwards.
If you’re still dehydrated despite drinking 8 glasses of water daily and you’re keeping the items that dehydrate to a minimum, you may have an imbalance (such as a hormone imbalance). If you think this may be the case, shoot me an email and I’d love to give you some tips.
CLEANnutrition.ca Toronto Weight Loss and Nutrition