Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why Water

The first main focus of the 100 Day Lifestyle challenge is to check our fluid intake. The overall goal of this challenge is to make small adjustments each day/week that will help us lead a healthier lifestyle. It's about finding out how many healthy habits you can incorporate without feeling like you've 'given up everything.'

For the first 10 days of the challenge, the idea is to focus on your fluid consumption. It comes in 2 parts:

1) Increase your water intake. Your goal is to work up to drinking your minimum requirement of water on a daily basis. (You can use this link to help you figure out how much water you should be drinking: If you can start drinking your minimum requirement from Day 1, that's great.

2) Decrease your intake of other liquids - particularly alcohol and soda, but also coffee, tea, and juice. This decrease can come gradually. For example, if you have 3 cups of coffee a day, try to make one of those 1/2 a cup of coffee. Instead of drinking 2 sodas, maybe just have 1. The choice is yours. It's important to remember that not all beverages are the same in terms of nutrient value and benefit/harm to the body. Drinking beverages such as tea and coffee aren't necessarily bad for you. However, once you start adding milk and sugar and other flavored shots to your beverage, the beverage decreases in nutrition value.

It's all about finding a balance. In the beginning, don't take the changes to such an extreme where you feel like you can't sustain them. This challenge is about finding a healthy balance that works for you - for your body type, for your health, for your lifestyle.

Although I mentioned that this is the focus for the first 10 days, the goal is to really keep up this lifestyle practice throughout the challenge (and your life) as much as possible. For right now though, let's just try to focus on staying on point through the first 10 days.

We've probably heard it all before - drink more water, water is good for you, water is important - but does everyone realize exactly why it's so important? Here are a few facts about why water is such an essential nutrient for our body:

-  More than 2/3 of a human's body weight is made up of water. This is why humans can survive for weeks without any food, but can barely survive past one week without any water.

-  Each day we lose 2-3 L of water through natural body processes such as urination, sweating, and breathing. Since our body relies on water to function properly (e.g. for proper digestion), it is important to stay hydrated in order to compensate for the loss.

- When we add exercise to the mix, we can lose an additional 1-2 L of water per hour of exercise. Therefore, it's especially important to stay hydrated. Plus, water delivers oxygen to the muscles and this helps the body perform more efficiently. A 5% reduction of water in the body decreases muscle strength and endurance.

- Mild dehydration is one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue.

- Water helps eliminate toxins from our bodies (through perspiration and urination and by aiding with bowel movements, which ensures that toxins are quickly and regularly removed from our body).

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