When it comes to health goals, the tendency can be to want results as fast as possible. Naturally, we all would like to see progress in a few days and when our body does not respond in our specific timeline this can lead to frustration and overwhelm. We may look to quick fixes (such as diets and supplements) that promise substantial fat loss and body composition changes in a short period of time.
The fact is no matter what a quick fix promises, most people will only be able to sustain the methods prescribed for a short period of time. They may also end up feeling worn out, irritable, and dealing with various other negative side effects from taking questionable supplements. With all this in mind, you may wondering what dietary and lifestyle methods are going to get you your desired results.
Here is where focusing on the fundamentals of health come into play. These fundamentals are not a quick fix or a trendy diet plan but the benefits they provide come in spades and will have long lasting positive effects on our health and wellness.
What are the top four fundamentals we should be concentrating on to achieve our health goals? Water intake, sleep, eating whole foods and making time for movement each and every day.
We’ll delve in to each fundamental over the next four articles and examine why they are important. The first one is water intake and staying hydrated.
Most people are walking around dehydrated to some extent. Dehydration can affect our memory function, cause changes in mood, and have us feeling fatigued. These are a just a few of the symptoms of dehydration but when we reflect on how these symptoms can negatively impact our day to day life we can see the need to pay attention to our water intake.
When we keep ourselves hydrated, our ability to function improves drastically. Our cognitive function and mood improves, our joints and connective tissues are well lubricated and so we have a less chance of injury, and our bodies are able to absorb nutrients and minerals from our food. There’s more ways that staying hydrated can benefit us but just from this short list we can see when we consume adequate amounts of water each day, we will have the physical ability and mental energy to engage in activities that help us reach our health goals.
Now, the actual amount of water we need to consume will can change depending on our age, gender, activity level and even our environment (hot versus cold climates). The recommendation for the average man’s daily fluid intake and the average woman’s daily fluid intake is 3.7 litres and 2.7 litres, respectively. Keep in mind that these recommendations include fluid intake from consumption of food and beverages other than water.
It’s true that including water rich fruits and vegetables in our diet can help us stay hydrated. We can also keep hydrated by naturally flavouring water, keeping a filled water bottle handy at work or home, or even downloading an app that keeps track of our hydration for us.
Stay tuned for the next column where we’ll be discussing the second health fundamental — sleep.
Caitlyn Harbottle is a Peace region nutrition coach.