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  • Shelby O'Hagan

What the heck is nutrition? && 4 tips to drink enough water!

Updated: Aug 13, 2019



WHAT IS THE PERFECT DIET?


If you check the internet or your local library, you'll find hundreds of ideas ranging from Paleo to Veganism to the 80/20 rule and beyond. Each diet has its own wealth of supporting studies and anecdotal evidence, and each is the complete opposite of the last. Whether you're just beginning your health journey or simply seeking more information, researching nutrition can be dizzying and frustrating. That's where I come in :)


My goal with nutrition is to simplify and demystify. And that starts with the fact that there is no perfect diet! Every person on this planet has a unique biological makeup that requires a unique nutrition profile, not to mention different life experiences and emotional states that effect individual nutrition needs too. Did you know that during periods of stress intermittent fasting can cause more stress to your body? Or that eating more complex carbs can help? Especially if you're a woman? Nutrition is a huge field; however, there are simple, adjustable "rules" you can use as a framework to figure out what makes you feel as vibrant, sexy, and strong as possible.



WHAT ARE NUTRIENTS? WHY DO WE EAT?


To put it simply, nutrients are what give life to the body. Nutrients provide energy (calories), contribute to the body’s structure (skeleton, muscles, blood, etc), and regulate processes like hormones and enzymes. We rely on six nutrients which provide nourishment to our bodies in a variety of ways. These are (1) water, (2) carbohydrates, (3) fat, (4) protein, (5) minerals, and (6) vitamins.


Of the six, which do you think is the most common deficiency in the United States? You might be surprised to know that it is water! Despite easy access to clean drinking water, most people don’t drink enough -- in fact, many applaud themselves for having a single glass of water in a day. Yikes! The exact number varies depending the source, but humans are somewhere between 65% and 75% water. We're constantly using this nutrient to complete a million internal processes as well as when we exercise, use the washroom, and consume diuretic beverages like coffee, juice, and pop. It's important to stay hydrated so your body can do all the things!


A FEW ROLES OF WATER IN THE BODY:

  • Transports other nutrients

  • Improves oxygen delivery to cells

  • Removes wastes and toxins

  • Maintains proper fluid (blood and lymph, etc) viscosity

  • Absorbs shocks to joints and organs

Side note - Humans and Earth are approximately the same percentage water. How beautiful is that? :)



HOW MUCH WATER DO YOU NEED?


The simplest way to calculate your water needs is to take your weight in pounds, divide in half, and aim to consume that number in ounces per day. For example someone who weighs 180lbs would aim for 90oz of pure water. Of course this number is affected by several factors, and there is a unique upper limit for each of us -- too much of anything can be a bad thing! If you're not used to drinking water, and your body weight would call for over 100oz of water in a day, start with ~64oz. And for anyone, a gallon is likely too much unless you're quite active or live somewhere quite hot. More on that later.



You may be intimidated by the amount of water that is recommended for your size when you compare it to the amount you’re currently used to drinking. Don’t worry! Here are a few tips to help:

  1. Take it slow and sip throughout the day. If possible, buy a water bottle to carry with you or keep at work so you remember to stay hydrated. I personally love my 32oz hydroflask!

  2. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables! This is my favorite because the more water you eat, the less you need to drink which is CONVENIENT. Fresh produce (especially juicy or wet ones like cucumber and most fruits) is loaded with water as well as vitamins and minerals.

  3. If you find yourself running to the washroom frequently, try adding a pinch of a good quality sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to your water. High quality salts that haven't been refined (lookin' at you, table salt -_-) are loaded with minerals and will help your body use the water appropriately. If you notice yourself needing to pee all the time after increasing your water intake, you're actually peeing all that water out without using it. Hydration fail.

  4. Avoid chugging if you’re worried about making your water goal. Drinking too much water at a time (or even throughout the course of a day) can lead to dehydration. Wait what? I know, it's a little weird, but too much water can throw your body's mineral balance out of whack and make you feel crummy.


Was this helpful to you? Did you already know most of this, or did you learn something new? I'd love to know either way -- leave a comment to say hello!