water, hydration

Are you someone who easily gets tired toward the end of the day? Grumpy? Lethargic? Do you suffer from headaches? Ever have sugar cravings or hunger pangs when you know that you have eaten plenty of food?

It may be a simple problem, with a super simple solution – water!

If you experience any of those symptoms, there is a good chance you are actually just dehydrated. If you work in an office with ducted heating, work out regularly, or are physically active throughout your day, there is a high chance you just aren’t drinking enough water.

Interestingly enough, the symptoms of being dehydrated become apparent after only a 2% drop in normal water volume, which isn’t a large drop at all. The average sized male carries about 40L of water, so a 2% loss in the average adult can only be about 0.8 of a litre!

Some of the symptoms of mild dehydration include things like thirst, hunger, dry skin, constipation, tiredness, irritability, mood swings, and headaches. When dehydration is severe or prolonged, these symptoms become more concentrated, and include others like migraines, dizziness, severe fatigue and nausea.

I have personally witnessed the effects of extreme dehydration first hand. My husband competed in a weight making sport for over a decade, where he was forced to lose weight for competitions. He would always drop the last few kilos in the sauna before he weighed in the morning of the competition, when he would then rehydrate. He had his own specific ritual-like formula to both dehydrate and rehydrate. I have been around him when he’s been extremely dehydrated, and trust me, it wasn’t fun! He was grumpy, irritable, had a headache, couldn’t sleep, and felt nauseous and dizzy. I’m so glad he doesn’t put himself through this anymore!

Most people will not experience dehydration this severely, but most people who are active will probably experience some of these symptoms. Feeling headachey, grumpy, tired, dizzy and hot are all signs you might be dehydrated.

The current recommendation is to drink 2-3 litres of fluid per day, depending on your size and activity level, and there is a good reason for needing this amount of water! As you may know, our bodies are made up of about 60-70% water, and every single process occurring in your body depends on water to happen. Without replacing what gets lost through urine and sweat, our body can become sluggish and slow.

Its great to start your day with a big glass of water, as we actually wake up dehydrated. The reason we weigh less in the morning is because most people will lose about a litre of fluid through the night. This fluid loss comes from breathing, sweating (especially if you like a lot of blankets or have an electric blanket), and drooling.

So you can imagine that if you already wake up in a dehydrated state, and you don’t drink water straight away, you are setting yourself up to be even more dehydrated as the day goes on. This is compounded if you exercise in the morning and don’t actively replace the water you lost through sweating.

When we are fully hydrated we can think clearer, our skin isn’t dry, we have more energy, and are much more easily able to control our appetites. Often we can mistake sugar cravings in the afternoon for simply being thirsty. Drinking adequate water can be a simple way to combat headaches and sleepiness, keep your kidneys healthy so they are able to efficiently flush out toxins, and contribute to regular bowel movements.

Tips to Stay hydrated:

  • Keep an 800ml drink bottle with you at your desk at work, and try to get through it twice in the day. Buy a drink bottle that you like, that will match your desk décor.
  • Start the day with a big glass of water, with or before your breakfast.
  • If you are active and have just had a workout where you have sweated a lot, its great to weigh yourself before and after, and not just rehydrate the amount you have lost, but 1.5 times the amount you have lost on the scales.
  • If you struggle with plain water, try adding a squeeze of lemon or lime, adding slices of cucumber or a few peppermint leaves. Herbal tea also counts as water.
  • Make it a goal to swap juice, cordial and soft drink for plain water – you don’t need the extra sugar added to these drinks!
  • Make sure you eat adequate amounts of fruit and vegetables as this will also contribute to your fluid levels, because fresh produce is high in water.
  • Have a quick look at the colour of your urine every now and again- it should be a nice clear yellow if you are hydrated. If it is totally clear, you may be too hydrated, and if it is a dark yellow to orange, you are certainly dehydrated!

Drink up and feel alive! There is no doubt about it, water is the best possible thing you can drink, and our body needs it desperately!

What are your personal ways of getting your water intake in each day?

 

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