10 Questions You’ve Always Had about Water

You’ve heard it over and over; water is key to a variety of health benefits, including beautiful skin, proper muscle and joint function, and improved mood.  How many of the statements you’ve heard are actually true though? Here are 10 common questions surrounding water, and whether they’re popular answers are fact or fiction. See how many you thought you knew!

1- Does everyone need 8 cups of water a day?

Drinking 8 glasses a day is not a rule set in stone. The truth is that fluid needs vary from person to person. Factors like weight, exercise levels, climate, and the quantity of water-rich foods you eat (usually food provides about 20% of your hydration needs) all play a role. Divide your body weight in pounds by two for a general estimate of the amount of ounces you should drink per day. For cups, divide that number by 8. 

2- Is plain water the perfect source of hydration?

While plain water is a smart choice for hydration, it is not the only option you have. Most fluids like flavoured water, tea, green tea, coffee, fruit and vegetable juices, sports drinks and hydrating foods like cucumbers and melons count too! Note that not all fluids hydrate. Alcohol, for example, dehydrates you (dehydration is one of the symptoms of a hangover) and is calorie-dense and usually nutrient-empty, as are most pops and sugary beverages.

While water is calorie-free and and has no additives, depending on your needs the other options provide benefits as well. Sports drinks, for example, are helpful to athletes exercising for prolonged periods of time. Tea and coffee may provide the caffeine jolt you need to curb a headache. Flavoured water is a simple way to add antioxidants from fruit to otherwise plain water. Choose the best option for you.

3- Will drinking water help me lose weight?

This statement is true, but probably not for the reasons you think. Water itself does not cause weight loss, but replacing calorie-rich fluids like pop and juices with water decreases calorie intake, which does cause weight loss. Sipping on water instead of snacking helps save calories as well.

4- Should I drink before or after a meal?

As a child, I was constantly told not to drink with my meals because then I wouldn’t be hungry. Some also believe that water dissolves the stomach’s digestive juices, resulting in poorly digested food. In reality, water actually aids in digestion, and while it is true that it fills you up, this is beneficial for those of us trying to eat less. Moderation is key, of course. Instead of guzzling down glass after glass throughout a meal, take small sips to slow down your eating pace, help avoid overeating, break down food, and aid in digestion. Water consumption is particularly important when consuming a fiber-rich meal too, as it will help avoid constipation!

5- Will water make me gain weight?

On the opposite side of the spectrum, most of us experience weight gain with increased water intake. Luckily, weight fluctuations due to water (and food!) are natural and the water weight (not fat!) gained will eventually be lost. Water also reduces bloating, which can reflect a drop on the scale too.  Avoid scale induced frustration by weighing yourself on the same scale at the same time each week.

6- Does lemon water help burn more calories?

Speeding up your metabolism is one way to burn more calories, but a glass of water with squeezed lemon won’t do the trick. While the vitamin C content may benefit your immune system, your metabolism won’t be directly affected as it is by thermogenic foods. Enjoy lemon water as a flavorful alternative to plain water, but don’t count on it  as a primary way to shed pounds!

7- Can I drink too much water?

Believe it or not, you can, although this occurrence is very rare. It is known as water intoxication and characterized by excess fluid in the body’s cells. The excess causes sodium to be diluted and your homeostatic concentration gradient to be thrown off. The average person should not worry about water intoxication as long as they don’t consume large volumes all at once. At risk are infants who drink too much for their kidneys to process, athletes who drink too much water after sweating out electrolytes, and people with health conditions like high blood pressure, edema, and kidney problems.

8- Is bottled water the safest to drink

A bottled water craze has taken storm in developing and first-world countries alike due to concern for contaminants. The concern is justified when you’re using the water for everything from washing your hands to cooking a meal. The safety of tap water does depend on where you live though. Canadian drinking water is among the safest in the world, and any contaminants (like lead) are quickly detected through close monitoring of supplies. If you’re still concerned, a simple water filter may help (and save you money!).

9- Will I know when I’m dehydrated?

Yes. Thirst is an early sign of possible dehydration, but it does not mean that you are already dehydrated. You feel thirst (and can sometimes mistake it for hunger) when your water balance is anywhere from 1 to 5 percent off homeostasis levels. Consciously sipping on fluids throughout the day should be enough to avoid this and other progressive signs of dehydration like feeling cranky, tired, or having a headache. This is especially important for older adults, as their sense of thirst may be dulled.

10- Does water cleanse and hydrate my body from the inside?

Vibrant skin and inner cleansing are two perceived benefits surrounding water intake that are not completely unfounded. Sufficient water does aid the kidneys in their function of cleansing toxins and expelling them through urine. The more often you drink, the more often toxins will be expelled. This cleansing effect may also contribute to youthful skin, but outside factors like climate, quantity of oil glands, and moisturizing play a bigger role.

 

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Always hungry? Maybe this hormone is out of whack!

 

I know there’s many people out there that no matter how much they eat, they are still hungry.  They can eat a half of a pizza, plus have dessert and they’re still hungry afterwards.  Does this sound like you?  Well it could be possible that it’s a condition called Leptin Resistance.

To understand leptin resistance, you first have to understand the role the hormone leptin plays in your metabolism. When you’ve eaten a meal, the fat cells throughout your body release leptin, which travels to the hypothalamus which is the part of your brain that helps regulate appetite.  While there, it switches off neuropeptide Y — a protein that tells your brain you’re hungry — and switches on appetite-suppressing signals. In other words, it gives your brain the message to stop being hungry and start burning calories.

You’d think, then, that low levels of leptin would be the cause of an unstoppable appetite, but that’s not necessarily the case. Some research indicates that many people who are overweight actually have very high levels of leptin. How could this be? Well, the more fat you have, the more leptin you produce. And when the body continually cranks out excess levels of leptin in response to overeating, the receptors for leptin in the hypothalamus can start to get worn out and no longer recognize it. People with leptin resistance have high circulating levels of leptin, but the receptors are “deaf” to it, so it can’t shut off appetite or stimulate your metabolism.

This vicious circle is similar to what happens when a person develops resistance to insulin, the hormone that allows your cells to use the glucose in your blood. (Insulin resistance can cause high blood glucose levels and eventually lead to diabetes.) In fact, the two conditions often go hand in hand, and research suggests that leptin resistance may be reversed in the same way that insulin resistance can be reversed — by exercising, eating right, and losing weight.

The Role of Fat

You probably don’t think of fat as an acetive part of your body, do you? Although researchers used to believe that fat cells were just big blobs of yuck waiting to get bigger or smaller, they now know that fat is an enormous endocrine gland, actively producing and reacting to hormones. The less fat you have, the less likely you are to overload your leptin receptors and deafen them to what leptin is trying to tell them — one more reason that fat-burning exercise is crucial for a healthy hormone balance!

Those days…

Ever have those days where it starts off GREAT and gradually as the day goes by, the greatness starts to fade?

Yeah… today’s one of those days.  I’m still truckin’..I’m unsure if it’s the rainy, cold day… But this sucks!! Ha! Ha!

We all have to get through these kind of days.  I just finished dinner, but I’m still hungry.  I downed a glass of water and I’m still hungry.  I’m not in a vegetable kind of mood today.  I stress how important it is to eat your vegetables… but I’ve only had one serving today.  I believe today is just an off day.  I’m still proud of myself that I got up this morning and went to the gym.  I’ve eaten healthy today – however, I do feel the portions were a bit larger than they should be.  But that usually happens when I workout first thing in the morning.  I prefer to actually workout in the evenings.  On the weekends, I tend to go to the gym first thing in the morning, or else sometimes the workout never happens.

My goal this coming week is to get to the gym every night.
I’m not pressuring myself to spend hours at the gym, but at least work on getting in 30 minutes of physical activity each night.  Physical activity is very important to get in daily.   It doesn’t have to be much, but aim for at least 30 minutes a day.  

I just LOVE when a friend texts me to tell me she’s getting ice cream.. damn you woman!! Now all I’m thinking about are those delicious ginger molasses cookies again. Haha

What I’m trying to get across by this blog entry is that everyone has these kind of days.  Sure, since my Nan passed away these kinda days keep happening unfortunately.  Emotions are something hard to control – however, what we can control is how we cope with these emotions.

I’m far from perfect – hense why the last three months my weight loss has been at a stand still.. BUT.. I chose not to give up!  I still went to the gym, drank my water, took my vitamins and tried to not emotionally eat.  Life is one big challenge, but we’re all going to die one day.  We need to ensure we live the best life.

Now with just saying that, a thought crossed my mind.
“If we are going to die one day … why WORRY so much if we gain a pound or two?”

I don’t have the answer for that.  I believe everyone has their own answer to that question.  I find myself asking that question to myself many days.  I ask myself “Why are you so hard on yourself when really, your opinion of yourself is the only one that matters..”

We live in a society today where appearance is a main factor on how you’re treated.
So all I can say is this, just be the best YOU you can be each day.  This way if you die tomorrow, you know you gave it your best shot.

Banish those Bad Habits!!!

I came across a great article, once again by Jillian Michaels.  She’s my mentor, so she’s going to be featured quite a bit on here.  Here’s her article summed up.

The key to breaking bad habits like overeating is to identify the things that are making you feel low or stressed. Here’s how to pinpoint your emotional triggers and establish healthy habits for life.

Unfortunately, we have all used food basically like a drug.  We use it to help ourselves cope with stress and emotions.  What we have to do is first IDENTIFY what exactly is making you feel the way you do..  These emotions can be feelings of pressure, sadness, anger or simply being anxious.  Now that you have done that, we can break down the cycle and start getting back in control of when, why and how you eat!

Identify Your Emotional Triggers

The best way to identify your own emotional triggers is through personal reflection. Facing your issues by bringing them out of your subconscious and into your conscious reality is the most empowering thing you can do. Take full advantage of a fitness diary. Write down not just what you eat every day but the emotional circumstances surrounding each meal and snack. From now on, every time you reach for a bite, I want you to stop and ask yourself the questions below so you can uncover the psychological and emo­tional issues that are triggering your unhealthy eating habits. Write down the answers so you can’t push them to the back of your mind when you’re done.

1. Are you hungry?

Are you experiencing physical signs of hunger? Is your stomach growling? Do you feel weak or tired? Has it been longer than four hours since you last ate? It’s not hard to figure out whether you’re genuinely hungry or whether you’re eating for a different reason like stress. If you’ve answered these ques­tions and determined that you are hungry, then eat. If not, it’s time for the next question.

2. Are you depressed or anxious?

Think of these following questions: Did you just get in a fight with someone? Anxious about a work-related or school deadline? Whatever it might be, make sure you write down in detail exactly what you feel and why you think you’re feeling it. If you don’t get in touch with your emotions and their cause, you’ll continue to stumble along in life with an absolute guarantee of failure.

3. Can you address whatever emo­tions you may have uncovered immediately and/or in an appropriate way rather than suppressing those emotions?

For example, if you had an argument with your mom, can you call her to talk it through? If you’re feeling anxious about a work- or school-related deadline, can you bust your butt a little more to make yourself feel more on top of it? If you can resolve the problem right then and there, do it! Facing these types of issues is tough — and it always seems easier to try and numb yourself with food. But once you start taking a closer look at your behavior and analyzing your feelings, it gets easier and easier. You might not always have the means to resolve an issue or a situation at the exact mo­ment that it’s triggering you to behave self-destructively, but it’s all about doing what you can, learning from your mistakes, and being self-aware.

4. How can you turn this problem into an opportunity?

Maybe you’ve recently ended a relationship with a long-term spouse or significant other. Or say you’ve just been fired from a job. Instead of seeing these kinds of scenarios as permanent blows to your self-esteem, view them in a different light. Sure, you’re probably in a lot of pain right now, but maybe the relationship had been over for a while and there’s someone better out there for you. If you’re dealing with unemployment, tell yourself that losing your job doesn’t change the fact that you’re a kick-ass, smart, capable person who’ll have plenty of future offers. Stay positive. Accept that sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees, and you’ll be able to stay strong through the low moments and find meaning in the pain.

Establish Healthy Patterns

Now you have the tools for identifying, acknowledging, and bringing to the surface the emotions that have sabotaged you in the past. Next, find some activities that comfort and interest you so you’ll have the power to combat your emotions without resorting to food. Think about what (apart from eating!) soothes you. What makes you feel beautiful or sexy and desirable? If you steer yourself toward feelings of self-worth, you’ll pick activities and behaviors that inherently contradict self-loathing and self-sabotage. Take a bubble bath and listen to tunes you love. Go for a longer-than-usual walk with your pup. Go out dancing with friends. Get a massage or a mani-pedi. Learn to reward and nurture yourself with things that make you feel happy to be alive, and you will break the cycle of self-destruction caused by emotional overeating!