As our society becomes more fast-paced every day, we become busier and busier. Our priorities are our jobs, school, kids, etc. More often than not, our health takes a backseat as far as priorities go.
Many people have that “all or nothing” type of mindset when it comes to their health (including me), and with the holiday season approaching, many people struggle to upkeep their exercise and healthy eating regimens. Many people also travel during this season, making it even harder to stick to a solid routine. When we go through phases when we are too busy to hit the gym every day or fully commit to a healthy lifestyle, we give it up completely. All of the sudden your eating habits start to slip, you’re not exercising at all, and basically, you start to feel like crap. You did all of that work for however many months only to completely blow it on Harry Potter movie marathons and Christmas cookies, and now you feel like you are right back where you started and it was all a big waste.
However, there are many things you can do every single day, even during the hectic holiday season that requires little to no energy and will help keep your metabolism, energy, and overall health and at a good level, even when you are not available to make it to the gym daily, or don’t have enough money or time to cook nutritionally packed meals 3 times a day.
Our bodies are made up of approx 60% water. Water is the universal key to life on our planet and within our own bodies. When you increase your daily intake of water, you will start to see many positive things take effect on your body. Especially with the winter and dry, cold air approaching, hydration is key for this time of year. However, figuring out how much water we should be drinking daily can be confusing, there are countless different recommendations as to how much we should be drinking daily.
How much should I drink?
I have heard many different rules and recommendations to figuring out what our ideal amount of daily water consumption is. I personally believe that the more, the better. I tend to drink about a gallon a day, but I realize this may be somewhat of an unrealistic starting point for some people. You may be busy or may not want to go to the bathroom every half hour. Here are some general tips and tricks for figuring out how much water you should be drinking.
- You can use your weight: 1 pound= 1oz (ex: 115 pounds= 115 oz per day)
- You can do an hourly schedule (ex: 10 oz per hour) you can set an alarm or I have even seen people mark their water bottles to serve as a reminder for them to drink up. There are many versions of these bottles you can buy online, or get creative and make it a DIY project!
- You can use an app. There are many apps available on the app store or google play in which the user enters the amount of water into the app each time they drink, the app then tells you if you have had enough water for the day, or if you are on track. There are also many variations in which you can enter your height, weight, age, etc. and gain specific information on your individual health statistics. Some examples include:
Waterlogged: This app is available for free on Itunes. In this app, you can take pictures of what you are drinking, and the app tracks your intake and can remind you when its time to drink again.
Water balance: Available for free on Itunes and Google Play. It provides its users with facts about water and health. It is also interactive by allowing you to earn badges and share achievements with friends. This app also considers height, weight, age, and lifestyle, and then gives you specific information about your health.
As you can see, there are many methods for tracking your water consumption, I would personally recommend whatever method is easiest for you and your schedule and lifestyle, this way it will be easier for you to stick with. If you tend to be forgetful, an app with a built-in alarm or reminder could be a great option for you, however, apps can be more time-consuming. This all can seem overwhelming, however, as you drink more water, it will also become more routine and your body will become used to the amount you are consuming.
Once you start to get into a routine of adequate water consumption, you will start to see many positive things take effect in your body:
- Increased energy: Dehydration is very common, in fact, many studies suggest that over 75% of Americans are not drinking enough water daily, and are therefore dehydrated. If you have ever experienced that 3-4 o’clock crash, where you may feel tired and crave a sugary snack or perhaps caffeine. This is most likely due to dehydration, you most likely just ate lunch a few hours ago and therefore your body needs to replenish its hydration levels due to the sugar and sodium in your food, and the energy it took your body to digest your food. However, our bodies trick us into thinking we need more energy in the form of sugar or caffeine, when in fact a glass of water will usually do the trick. However, if you intake enough water daily, you can completely avoid these crashes altogether.
- Weight loss: Many believe that drinking large quantities of water actually makes you gain weight due to increase in water weight, however, this is far from the truth. Drinking water helps boost your metabolism, a great trick for this is to drink a glass of water right when you wake up in the morning, and 30 minutes before and after every meal, following these steps will give your metabolism a huge boost. Drinking water before, during, and after meals also helps your body to flush away some of the excess fats and calories, before they sit in your stomach and your body fully absorbs them. And drinking water also lets your brain know that it no longer has to retain water in order to keep you hydrated, therefore you shed your water weight. (Tip: drinking water ice cold also helps to lose weight because your body has to burn extra calories in order to warm the water up for digestion)
- Glowing Skin: I know we have all heard every celebrity in the world say that there #1 skincare tip is to drink lots of water. I know, I used to roll my eyes at this too. Now I’m not saying that those celebrities just drink water and miraculously have glowing blemish free skin, but water is a key ingredient for healthy skin. Our bodies first instinct when we ingest water is to send it to our internal organs, the last place it goes, however, is the skin. Therefore, if you are not drinking enough water, you are providing no natural hydration for your skin, this can cause premature aging, dry, flaky skin, and acne. Drinking an adequate amount of water also helps rid the body of toxins, which in turn, reduces your amount of breakouts.
I understand during holiday season many people travel or are just too busy to make it to the gym or an exercise class. However, daily exercise is very important for your overall health, experts recommend at least 30 minutes every day, and contrary to popular belief, this can be very easy to accomplish. Here is a list of some apps/ tips and tricks to help keep you moving and on the right track.
Cardio is one of the best and most vital forms of exercise for your overall health. Doing 30 minutes of cardio everyday vastly decreases your chances of various chronic health problems. The easiest way to accomplish this is to go for a 30-minute walk/jog a day, however, there are some apps that can help you track your cardio, and therefore get your daily dose of exercise in an alternative way.
One of these apps, which I personally use is called Stepz. The app shows you a number of steps you have taken that day, the distance you’ve traveled, and a number of calories you have burned. It also gives detailed statitics about your personal health everyday. However, the best thing about this app is that you can keep up with the amount of cardio you are doing every day, and therefore you can determine if more exercise is needed that day or if you have already completed your daily goal.
Another app available in the app store and google play is called Move. This is an exciting app that alerts you at random times of the day to get up and do a small exercise, this can include a yoga pose, pushups, jumping jacks, etc. The app has different exercise packs, like the office pack which only gives you exercises that are coworker-friendly so you won’t be embarrassed to do them at work. In fact, no one will know you’re even doing them. They also have a beginners mode and a yoga mode as well. This app keeps exercising exciting, and far less overwhelming.
My last method for staying generally healthy all year round is not really a quick fix or an easy tip/trick as much as it is an overall lifestyle choice. With holidays and the winter upon us, many people find themselves eating much unhealthier, and much more in general. The only truly effective way to combat this is to practice balance in your diet, exercise, and all aspects of your life. It is ok to have dessert or eat until you cant move on Thanksgiving, but instead of just throwing your whole routine away, and all of your hard work, practice balancing your diet by eating a salad the next day or possibly going to the gym. Many people believe the restriction is the way to combat these issues, when in fact, it usually holds the opposite effect. People who restrict their eating or over exercise are far more likely to binge out later or give up the gym/ exercise routine entirely. So next time you may be feeling guilty about that piece of cake or the fact that you haven’t made it to the gym in a month, don’t freak out. Monitor what you are eating, and how much you are moving and try your best to keep it all in balance. Our bodies are much smarter than we think, if we listen hard enough, they usually tell us what we need.
Overall, during the holidays or any busy time in our lives, maintaining our ideal health can be difficult. However, there are many opportunities many of us pass up every day that can make a vastly positive impact on our health. It is inevitable that we will fall off of our routines every once in awhile, when that happens, don’t panic or restrict. Follow these simple steps and you will see your health improve quickly, and they require little effort. It is totally normal to go through phases with your own personal health. It is completely normal and healthy to set goals, but do not feel discouraged when your personal health/ fitness is not exactly where you want it to be. Practicing balance in everything we do and self-love is 1000 times more effective than fad diets or workout routines. Remember that the holidays are about having fun and spending quality time with family and friends, let your focus remain on that and not on dieting or stressing out about your health. If you love yourself and your body and do the best you can to take care of the skin you are in, soon enough you will start to see that your body will take care of you and love you right back.