I have recently been paying a lot of attention to whether I feel thirsty or not. Surprisingly, the more that I consciously pay attention to this sense, the more I am able to really experience the sense of thirst. Why am I doing that, you might ask. Did you know it is estimated that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. And if you think that’s not something to be concerned about, read on. Even mild dehydration can have deleterious effects on the mind and body. Dehydration can trigger fatigue, slow your metabolism, result in back and joint pain, decrease concentration and focus, increase your chances of certain types of cancer, and increase your chance of dying by heart disease, just to name a few.
So why don’t we drink more water? I had someone tell me recently that she feels so busy she hasn’t had time to drink the same 32 oz. bottle of water sitting on her desk for the past three weeks! Even in my job I know I get so busy that I don’t get up to fill my water bottle from the Culligan dispenser even though it is just outside my office. On top of that, we often don’t detect our thirst because the signal for it has become weak (and we’re so busy we aren’t paying attention) and thirst is often mistaken for hunger. So be sure to check your body’s signals out more carefully the next time you think you’re hungry. Maybe it’s thirst you’ve experiencing.
Lastly, drinking a bit of water before you eat can help you maintain and possibly lose weight. At the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, a study reported that people who drank 16 oz. of eater before each of their three daily meals lost significantly more weight after 12 weeks than people who didn’t drink before their meals. The study’s authors speculated that the water gave people a sense of fullness sooner. In addition, past studies have shown that drinking water can provide a boost to your metabolism, so you’re burning more calories.
So, fill up the water bottle and actually drink it a few times a day. I’ve been on my own mission lately to drink more water and I do feel more energized. In addition, you will need to go to the bathroom more often which can result in two more healthy habits. (1) You will be activating the body’s metabolism by getting up from your desk and out from behind your computer. (2) You might run into a colleague and have a conversation. Having good relationships at work are one of the major reasons work is meaningful. See you at the water cooler!