Tag Archives: New Year

Healthy habits for the New Year; pt. 2: Water

Water; drink it. Seriously.  One of the main factors my psychologist husband and I notice when talking with others and attempting to help them mentally, spiritually, and physically is a lack of water.  It may sound simple, and it is.  You need water to live.  Not pop, tea, beer, coffee, Gatorade, mix-ins, etc… but just plain ol’ water.

Water helps your brain work properly, helps you to lose weight, helps to clear up skin, and obviously helps us function physically.  Your body is composed of around 60% water.  Even if you don’t exercise daily (as we all should) you lose water during the course of the day, even just by breathing.  Your body is also processing toxins constantly, drinking plenty of water helps flush out those toxins, keeping us healthier.

I mentioned weight loss above; if we keep hydrated by drinking enough water we will not confuse our physical feelings of thirst with hunger.  You can drink colder water to aid in weight loss, as your body has to work to maintain your core body temperature by raising your metabolism.  If you aren’t concerned with weight loss, stick with cool or room temperature water, as you can drink more faster, and your body doesn’t have to work to warm itself.

One complaint I’ve heard the most when it comes to water is the taste, “I don’t like water.” Seriously?  That’s your excuse?  As my husband is fond of saying, “Ok, little baby let’s just go by taste and not what is good for you.”  We are not infants.  We can make healthy choices regardless of things like taste.  But, putting that aside, there are many many different tasting waters.  I don’t recommend bottled water, instead, find some way to make your tap water, or well water both safe (if it isn’t already) and palatable.

I personally have a reverse osmosis filter, and tote around a stainless steel bottle.  If you want, add in simple fresh lemon juice to change the flavor of your water.  Make sure it is readily accessible to you when driving, at work, while working out, and at home.

Make smart choices when choosing what else to drink.  Soda is actually the Devil in liquid form (haha), but if you choose to drink pop, drink regular, not diet.  Also, severely limit you soda intake; none is best.  If you need caffeine, drink tea or coffee instead.  Try to not add sweeteners, but if you do, go for the most natural options like honey or raw sugar.  Both tea and coffee are diuretics, which means you need to also drink water to replenish what those drinks make you lose.

Most people don’t realize that store-bought juice is not really a healthy option when it comes to liquids.  If you do drink juice or let your kids drink juice, it should be in moderation.  A better option that is good for everyone is to juice your own fresh juices from veggies and fruit.  These drinks are incredibly healthy and also count for water intake because of high water content of these juices.  My favorite is orange-carrot-apple.  If you have the money and access, organic is always a better option.

That brings me to milk.  Milk can also be drank in moderation, but weigh your options carefully especially for your children.  Oftentimes organic whole milk is actually the best option available (See this article on FoxNews: Why skim milk isn’t necessarily better).  When fat is removed, many companies replace that fat with synthetic additives.  Fat in moderation is good for developing brains.  I say organic, because our dairy products are one of the greatest sources of non-human hormones, and antibiotics.  Going organic on dairy can be expensive, but consider getting your kids organic, even if you can’t afford them for the whole family.  Taste organic milk (I prefer Horizon brand), and you won’t want to go back.

Some forms of alcohol in moderation are fine (esp. some beers and red wine), but remember you also need to replenish your water levels while drinking alcohol, esp. when the night is through and you are getting ready for bed.

As I mentioned in part 1 of this series, don’t jump into changing your drinking habits haphazardly; if you are addicted to pop, cut down gradually don’t try cold turkey.  Gradually increase your water intake, and just really begin to notice what your are drinking and how much.

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Healthy habits for the New Year; pt. 1: Routine

Many people approach the New Year in a frenzy of goals and promises.  This is actually an unhealthy approach to change.  Take diet for example, if a person approaches “diet” in a frenzied state, making promises to themselves and others, they are setting themselves up for failure.

Any new goal should be approached in a balanced way.  I say that because even though this series is entitled “healthy habits,” if they are approached haphazardly, or even with an overabundance of enthusiasm, they are more likely to fail.  Also when I speak of health, I speak of the health of the whole human; body, mind, and soul.  Any or all of these suggestions should be approached in a balanced way, not to be seen as a set of rules that “must” be followed; humans don’t tend to do well with orders, even positive ones.

So, with that being said, the first “habit” is a bit redundant, it is “routine.”  This doesn’t mean you need to plot and plan every minute of every day, but rather it should be a framework.  Later I’ll specifically talk of sleep patterns, but every daily routine should begin with a plan of when to go to sleep and when to wake up.  This routine isn’t just a workday routine, but a routine that should be followed on weekends and holidays too.  In a later article, I’ll write about how waking early in the day is a way to get ahead, and be more successful at whatever you set out to do.

For now, you need to set a time to rise and a time to go to bed.  You also need to schedule time to eat during the day and try to stick as close to that schedule as possible.  These things help to regulate your body, which functions better with routine.  It’s the same with medication; in short, anything that will have an effect on your body and its metabolism should be a part of your routine, for your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Establish “mini-routines” for the most important parts of your day.  When you rise, have a routine to kick off your day.  For example, an easy exercise (walking, yoga, etc…) or simple stretching routine, quiet time, a time for prayer and/or bible study/praise and worship, and then breakfast.  Then the steps you go through to make yourself presentable to the day; shower, brush your teeth, etc…  When you go to bed, the same thing (will blog about specific bed routines later).

One important routine to establish is a goal routine; you set specific goals in the morning, and review them at night.  Obviously this includes a lot of honesty.  If you failed to reach a goal, why did you fail?  Did you set too big of a goal, did you squander your time, did something else come up?  This is where you must watch for defense mechanisms, like rationalization.  Rationalization is where you basically fool yourself into believing an excuse instead of the real problem.  The truth is, many of us are lazy and just don’t want to do certain things, but routine and schedule will help to develop a level of discipline that will help get things done.

Figure out what else is important to you such as exercise, reading, gardening, etc… and make sure to set aside time for them as well.  There will be certain things you are willing to sacrifice in a day for the sake of already scheduled events, and somethings you make a priority.

Kids and pets thrive on routine, so they will thank you too.  What if you don’t have kids or pets?  You have friends or a boss, or a spouse, or co-workers who will also thank you, because you’ll be in a better mood and be better functioning.  One last point about routine; it is obvious but the routine you establish should be positive, if you establish a negative routine, you will reap the opposite results (for example, if going to bed at different times all week is your routine, that is going to have ill effects on your physical, mental and emotional state).

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