14 May 2017 · posted in wellbeing
Over the past six or seven years I've very slowly come to the realization that being healthy is not about looking slim and toned. I say very slowly because in the beginning of my trials to get healthy, all I wanted was to lose weight and have a flat stomach. Ever since I grew up from that little girl to a teenager and now a young woman, I've felt insecure and self conscious in situations that required me to show more skin (like swimming with friends). Even now sometimes, looking at myself in the mirror, all I want is to like what I see and since most of the time I don't, I'd give anything to take a shortcut and get to that ideal shape overnight. But when I'm honest with myself I know that a quick fix solution won't help me change my lifestyle and treat my body the way she deserves to be treated.
Also over the last couple of years, I've come to understand the fight and flight mode my body has been in for the last decade very well and I respect her for that. After all, that is what will keep me alive in a true crisis. But since there is no actual crisis but only stress and malnutrition from junk food, I need to find ways to communicate to my body that there is no crisis. So slowly and gradually I'm implementing more conscious food choices to heal my body from the inside out and reassure her that she and I are a team, body and mind, and that I will take care of her. Because only when there's security of good nutrition will she be able to get rid of excess fat.
One of the easiest ways in which I take care of my body is making sure I drink plenty of water. Water is essential for our body because our cells need water to live, water dissolves and carries nutrients around the body, it carries waste out of the body, it regulates body temperature, it sends electrical messages from our brain to our muscles (so our arms can move, our brain can think, our eyes can see, etc.) and water also lubricates all moving parts of the body. If you know all of this, it's not surprising that water is a vital food for our bodies to find balance and optimal health (I say food because we need to actively take it in). That's why I have made water my default option for drinking. This means that whenever I'm thirsty I drink water. At home, at work, at a friend's house, on vacation, ... No matter where I am, water is my default go to drink.
Having said that, I'm not a purist and I'm not a fan of total restriction so I do drink other things from time to time. In the morning I drink hot lemon water (agreed, still water). At work I drink tea sometimes. On social occasions I will order a sweet fresh homemade alcohol free cocktail now and then. On Sunday mornings I drink freshly squeezed orange juice. On the occasional night out I will even order the odd fizzy drink once in a while because sometimes water is just too boring, but I try to keep that to an absolute minimum.
What I'm trying to say is that it's okay to indulge once in a while. The key is to understand that when it comes to drinking, the only thing our bodies really want and need is water and that everything else is extra. Healthy drinks like tea and orange juice can give us extra antioxidants, fruit sugars and some fibers, so it's not a crime to have some, even on a daily basis. Unhealthy drinks like fizzy drinks however only give our system an artificial sugar overload and it's best to stay far away from them, but even if you do have some on occasion that okay too. Just make sure you enjoy every sip and you don't feel guilty afterwards.
Really, having a default healthy option for drinking makes life very easy because there's no longer an actual choice you need to make. Thirsty? Get some water! This way you also don't need to track water intake because if you drink water every time your body asks for it, you're automatically helping your body to be balanced and healthy. What about you? Is water your go to drink or do you have another default option? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments!