You have heard it time and time again: drink more water.
Yet the message has never completely stuck. In 2013, it was estimated that nearly 75% of the population was functioning in a chronic state of dehydration. As water makes up about 60 percent of our body weight, it is a principal element for our health and survival. Learn why we need to drink water, the recommended daily amount, and the plethora of benefits this relatively simple habit delivers to our body.
Benefits of Drinking Water
On average, the Mayo Clinic recommends that men drink about 15.5 cups daily. Women should consume 11.5 cups daily. Since we often ingest some water through other foods and drinks, becoming seriously dehydrated is difficult. However, without regularly taking in the entire suggested amount, you may experience a number of mild side effects. These can include dizziness, fatigue, confusion and dark-colored or frequent urination. Likely to subside if you consume the adequate amount of water, if these symptoms persist or you can not keep fluids down, you should see your primary physician.
When you do consume the appropriate amount of fluids, you are likely to be surprised by just how good you feel. Water is essential for organ, muscle and tissue function, as well as the lubrication of joints. It regulates your temperature, and helps rid your body of waste and toxins – through urination, perspiration and bowel movements. Even more impressive, water can have anti-aging effects. By keeping our body properly hydrated, our skin improves, reducing the appearance of fine lines and decreasing the occurrence of blemishes.
It is important to note that it is possible for one to become overhydrated. This rare but dangerous condition, called hyponatremia, is due to low blood sodium concentration caused by consuming too much water. Be sure to adjust your intake based on your lifestyle, current health and activities. If you are breastfeeding or exercising, the body requires additional fluids. When you are sick or in a hot environment, you will need more water than usual, due to the extra amount being displaced,
Types of Water
Although the Mayo Clinic has found that regular water is good enough for most people, several variations are available.
Here are two commonly available types of water, as well as the pros and cons of consuming them.
Alkaline water – Alkaline water refers to the pH level, which is higher than that of normal water, typically of 8 or 9. This is believed to help neutralize the acid in your body, which some claim can assist with anti-aging, colon-cleansing, immune system health, weight loss and more. None of these have been backed by scientific research, although too much alkalinity does have known side effects, and can lead to metabolic alkalosis.
Distilled water – When all of the natural minerals in water have been removed, a pure from of water remains. Achieved through a process called reverse osmosis, this is a demineralized water. In some locations, distilled water can be healthier than tap, depending on the level of impurities in the municipal water supply. However distilled water can absorb materials from anything it touches, sometimes including plastic containers.
How to Make Drinking Water a Habit
While forming any new habit can be difficult, there are several steps you can take to assist your newfound motivation. Installing a home water filter will provide high-quality water. Several varieties are available – such as faucet-installed, countertop and pitcher models. Or consider home delivery of spring water or distilled water.
Also, take the time to find out how you enjoy drinking water. Some people prefer using a water bottle, or a straw, for a variety of reasons. No matter how you get the water down, what works for you is what is right. If you need a little extra help, you can set a reminder on your phone. The free Daily Water – Drink Reminder app is available on the App Store, while similar apps for Android devices are available for free on Google Play. After a few weeks of strict reminders, reaching for the water bottle should become second nature.
Keeping well-hydrated is part of a healthy lifestyle that includes reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Solutions Weight Loss offers a program to fit the unique needs of each patient. Our team of licensed and friendly medical staff gives you the encouragement and guidance to help you stay on track or get back on track until you reach your goals. Contact us today to get started on your weight loss journey!
Ranked by U.S. News & World Report, The Flexitarian Diet placed third in the ‘Best Diet Overall’ and the ‘Best Diets for Diabetes’ category in the 2018 Best Diet Rankings. It also placed second in the ‘Plant-Based Diets’ and ‘Easiest Diets to Follow.’ With all of these high accolades in mind, consider whether you might benefit from the Flexitarian Diet. Learn how it works, and how it can help you achieve your health goals.
What is the Flexitarian Diet?
The term flexitarian came from the combination of two words, flexible and vegetarian. The diet encompasses both of these concepts, wherein followers consume a large quantity of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while still enjoying the occasional animal product. Overall, a follower’s goals should be to actively decrease their consumption of meat.
Founder Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, suggests that beginner participants should initially eat meat no more than five days a week. In total, you should have no more than 26 ounces combined during these days. Remember, as mentioned in our blog post about the Zone Diet, use the hand-eye method. A serving close to the size and thickness of your palm is around 4 ounces.
As you continue, this weekly allowance will decrease to three or four days of meals featuring meat. Do not exceed more than 18 ounces of meat a week during this advanced stage. Finally, as an expert, you will consume meat only two days a week, with a maximum of 9 ounces total. It is recommended that you proceed at your own pace, so that you may adjust to less quantities of meat, and new eating habits.
Approved Flexitarian Diet Items
What can you look forward to on this diet? Use the following list of approved foods to create your own Flexitarian Diet meal plan. If you have difficulty compiling your own, you can find Flexitarian Diet recipes online.
Whole grains: Quinoa, teff, farro, buckwheat
Healthy fats: Almonds, chia seeds, walnuts, cashews, peanut butter, avocados, olives, coconut, flaxseeds, pistachios
Fruits: Berries, grapes, cherries, oranges and apples
Vegetables: Bell peppers, peas, corn, sweet potato, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, greens
Proteins: Soybeans, tofu, tempeh, legumes, lentils
Plant-based alternatives: Unsweetened almond, coconut, hemp and soy milk
Herbs, spices and seasonings: Basil, oregano, mint, thyme, cumin, turmeric, ginger
Condiments: Reduced-sodium soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, salsa, mustard, nutritional yeast, ketchup without added sugar
Beverages: Water, some tea and coffee
Benefits of the Flexitarian Diet
For participants, following the comparatively simple Flexitarian food pyramid, is well worth the benefits. Largely plant-based diets have shown to improve heart health significantly, reducing a person’s risk of heart disease by 32%. This is likely to the increased intake of fiber and healthy fats, which reduce blood pressure and increase good cholesterol. For these same reasons, it may also help prevent or manage diabetes and decrease your risk of cancer.
Outside of your health, the Flexitarian Diet presents benefits for the environment as well. Studies have shown that the reduction of meat consumption will help sustain natural resources, as well as decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In turn, this will allow land to be used to feed humans, rather than the animals that feed us. So, not only can you feel better physically, but you will know you are contributing to something larger.
At Solutions Weight Loss, our team puts the “woo-hoo” back into weight loss. With the proper encouragement and support, you will discover that weight loss does not have to be a struggle. Contact us today to learn more about our program, and the success of our patients.
When Thanksgiving rolls around, the excitement for a dinner comprised of all of our favorite dishes reaches its peak. However, so does the dread of potential weight gain. Considering most people’s love for buttered rolls, turkey and stuffing, it is easy to see why. As Thanksgiving approaches, we would never tell you not to enjoy such a fun, family-filled day. Instead, we recommend you utilize these healthy eating tips to help you get through the upcoming holiday season ‒ without stressing over your waistline.
Tips for Making Your Plate
Although you can forgo heavier Thanksgiving dishes by preparing more health-conscious alternatives, it is not always possible if you are not hosting the meal. In the event that you are attending someone else’s dinner, keep the following tips in mind. They will help you cut out calories that can be easily avoided.
- Choose white meat – As turkey is often on the Thanksgiving menu, this tip is easy to abide by. Turkey meat is lean, and rich in iron, zinc, potassium, and B vitamins. Make sure to avoid any meats that are deep-fried, and choose those that are roasted or baked.
- Utilize whole grains – The stuffing may be hard to pass on, but its contents can be easily replaced with an equally delicious whole-grain mixture. Try a recipe that uses quinoa, rice, berries or nuts.
- Pass on the mash – Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving favorite, but they are one of the higher calorie dishes. If mashed potatoes are a must, find recipes that contain healthier additions, like light sour cream and fat-free milk. If possible, a baked potato without toppings is the better option.
- Don’t forget your greens – We grow up being told to eat our greens, but they are not recommend when baked into a casserole. Casseroles are loaded with butter, salt and carbs. Stick to greens that are baked and lightly seasoned.
- Fresh, not canned – This rule applies to a variety of Thanksgiving sides and dressings. Most canned items contain large amounts of sugar and preservatives. –A homemade gravy can contain as little fat as you choose, and berries will taste better fresh.
- Liquids contain calories – Although it is in the name, people overlook the fact that sweet tea is extremely high in sugar. Have a glass of water with lemon, instead.
- Cut out what you can – While enjoying your favorite dishes, there are a few simple things you can cut out, or off, to lower the amount of calories you consume – such as pie crust. High in sugar and butter, removing a flaky crust can trim more than 100 calories and 7 grams of fat per slice.
- Don’t overeat – The most difficult part of Thanksgiving dinner is knowing when to cut yourself off. Research has found that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to “tell” your brain it’s full. Most Thanksgiving menus are bad enough, but overeating can easily double your caloric intake.
Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving
When putting your plate together, it’s easy to be conscious about your choices. Once the meal is over, we tend to let our guard down. It is common for people to flock to the couch for football, or remain seated at the dining table. Both can be your downfall ‒ especially if food is within reach. Instead, try to stay active following dinner.
One way to do so is by enjoying the company of your friends and family. If you walk around and speak to people, you are less likely to keep eating. You can also avoid leftovers by assisting with the cleanup, or washing dishes. And if staying in the house is too tempting, consider going for a walk. This will not only burn a few extra calories, but you will feel better than if you let the heavy food settle. For added moral support, ask other guests to join you. Chances are you’ll have a few takers in similar situations.
In the days following, make sure to visit the gym and drink at least six eight-ounce glasses of water. This will help relieve bloat from excess salt. You can also enjoy nutrient-packed foods, such as yogurt and vegetables.
At Solutions Weight Loss, we understand the stress of keeping your weight in check during the holidays. If you slip back a little, do not give up. With a tailored plan, encouragement and medical supervision, we can help you undo any weight gain. Contact us today to speak to our team and get started!