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After writing this post I couldn’t sleep, having written about why dehydration is making you sick and fat.
I have this little plant in my house that I sometimes forget to water. Not intentionally, it’s just that it’s not very demanding in a house of very demanding things (kids, chickens, renegade sheep, husband etc). It just sits there and waits. Wilting. Quietly. At 2am I finally gave in to the impulse to get up and water it.
I know it appreciated it, because this morning it looked beautifully green and perky and I’m sure it was smiling inside.
Is dehydration making you sick?
Feeling thirsty? Then it’s already too late. Your body is already in the early stages of dehydrated.
We are really similar to that little plant. Up to 75% of our entire body is just plain ol’ regular water. Your blood is roughly 90% water. We need water. Every single day. Or we die. Um….. That went dark fast.
Am I being a little dramatic? I don’t think so. We can live only a few days without water – maybe a week if we keep real still and cool.
Researchers have found that most of us, as in, the human population, spend our lives in a state of mild to serious dehydration. We just aren’t getting enough water. Now before you move on, thinking, ‘Oh that’s not me’, take a quick look at this little list below showing what happens to your body when you don’t have enough water:
Symptoms and Signs of Mild to Medium Dehydration
- Feeling thirsty This is not a reliable indicator of dehydration, as often by the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.
- Dry mouth Think about it now, is your mouth a little dry right now?
- Feeling tired or have no energy?
- Peeing less than 6 – 8 times a day. When last did you pee?
- Urine is of a low volume or more yellow than usual. May need to check this next time.
- Headaches That dull ache that you get used to after a while, but just doesn’t go away
- Dry Skin
- Feeling Dizzy
- Low skin elasticity (test this by pinching the skin on the back of your hand. If it ‘springs’ back to normal position, then you’re all good, but if it sinks back slowly then you need water right now)
- Dehydration symptoms can differ between infants and adults. An Infant or young child may show these symptoms: Dry mouth and tongue; No tears when crying; No wet diapers for three hours; Sunken eyes or cheeks; Sunken soft spot on top of skull; Listlessness or irritability
Without water, the above symptoms may quickly worsen and Signs of Severe dehydration may develop, leading to confusion and eventually coma and death.
So, what does this mean? Why should we drink more water? Read about what happens to our bodies after drinking water for 30 days here (spoiler: I]t’s incredible!)
Why does being dehydrated make you fat?
When we’re dehydrated, the cells in our body don’t have enough energy to burn fuel. So we’re tired, and hungry. So we eat more to try and combat this and the result? Weight gain. It’s really that simple.
What happens when you’re properly hydrated?
Lose Weight Water plays an important role in weight loss and weight maintenance in a number of ways. Keeping hydrated decreases food cravings. Often we think we are hungry, when actually all we need is a big drink of water.
Along with containing zero calories, drinking water also increases our energy levels and metabolism. Don’t just take my word for it, though, here’s the research done on over 18,000 adults. It’s Nature’s ready mixed diet drink.
Reduced Allergies. Your lungs are moistened by water. Water helps you breathe. When dehydrated, your body will restrict the width of your airways to conserve water loss. When you don’t drink enough water, your histamine levels increase as the body loses water. This can lead to increased allergy reactions and asthma.
Prevent cancer. Research suggests that staying hydrated can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%5, bladder cancer by 50%6, and possibly reduce breast cancer risk as well.7 Keeping our cells hydrated means that they can effectively transport nutrients in and toxic waste out of our body.
Be less grumpy. Your brain tissue is 75% water. When you’re not properly hydrated, your brain operates on less fuel and efficiency. You can feel drained, or experience fatigue or mood fluctuations. Research says dehydration can affect your mood and make you cranky and confused. Hmm. I think I may know a few people who live their life in a permanent state of thirst.
Perform better. Dehydration can lead to weakness, muscle fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance. Keeping our body hydrated means an increase in energy and plays an important part in maintaining muscle tone and increasing the production of new blood and muscle cells.
Get Smarter. Drinking 8 – 10 cups of water a day can increase your cognitive abilities by as much as 30%. The reason for this is that the more water your brain has, the more oxygen it can receive – which is what keeps it functioning at its best.
Save Money. Save money by not having to buy soda and other sugary drinks.
No more Cavities. It’s better for your teeth and that means fewer fillings and fewer dentist bills. All of my children are cavity free. As in NO CAVITIES at all. The only thing I put it down to is the fact that we don’t drink soda, but we all drink water every day.
Pain free Joints. Drinking water can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated. The leading supplement taken for joint pain is glucosamine. This works by aiding in cartilage’s absorption of water.
Detox. Our digestive system needs water to function properly. Our body flushes out waste by urinating and sweat. Both of these processes only work with hydration. If we don’t flush out waste and bacteria, these toxins collect in our our body.
Youthful looking skin. Forget expensive face creams. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the color and texture of your skin by getting rid of toxins and improving the flow of blood to the skin. Our skin cells have a 2 – 3 weeks lifespan. We are constantly making new cells to replace the dead ones. Keeping our body hydrated means that the new cells can be built properly. Water plays an important role in keeping cells firm, allowing for firmer, tauter youthful looking skin.
Pimple free face. If your teenager has a problem skin with breakouts and redness, you will be amazed at the difference this little change will make.
Things you can do to help yourself develop a good water drinking habit –
- Make it mobile. Everyone in my family has there own reusable drinking bottle. All in different colors too, because heaven forbid someone else drinks out of their bottle. It’s a sibling thing.
- Systematize. Set a system in place to get you started. You can take a look at our water drinking schedule below.
- Jazz it up. If you can’t stand the taste of plain water, add some squeezed lemon or fruit infused ice blocks or for some more ideas read this article on how to love the taste of water. But, to be honest, if my kids whined about this, they would just be ignored. It’s just water.
- Cool your water. Cold water is often more appealing. During the Summer season, I half fill the kids water bottles with water and pop them in the freezer overnight. Then in the morning, I fill the rest of the bottle up with normal tap water. This keeps the water cool all day.
- Ditch the juice today. Getting my children to drink more water was easier than I thought it would be. I just stopped buying soda and cordial. It’s just not an option in our home. When your child is thirsty; offer them water. Start early by putting water in their sippy cups or bottle.
- Remember Why you are drinking water: It’s good for you!
How to get you kids to drink more water – Our Water Drinking Habit in Action
Make drinking water a habit. Like all good habits, you need to work on it until it’s just part of what you do every single day. It’s not going to happen on it’s own. With myself and my kids, I have had to put a system in place to get them into this habit. This is how I structured getting our water drinking habit in place:
- We drink a glass of water in the morning when we wake up (1 cup)
- Every day, I give each of my children a 600ml water bottle which they generally finish by the time they get home from school or kindy (equivalent to about 3 cups of water).
- I serve water with a snack when they get home from school (1cup)
- And we all drink water with dinner (1 more cup)
- In addition to this, on hot days and after school sports days, they will still drink when they are thirsty.
In the beginning, your new water drinking challenge will feel forced. But, your body quickly adjusts to this routine and you actually start recognizing when your body needs hydration and you crave water.