The #1 Health Tip that EVERYONE Should Follow
by Maggie Dion
Functional Nutrition Coach at Well Within
Ever Changing and Conflicting Health Tips
These days we are inundated with massive amounts of health and nutrition information. Many times this information contradicts each other or even worse, it changes over time. First in the 1990s we are told that we should eat low fat to lose weight and be healthy. Now a new form of “healthy fat” hits the shelves each month to support the trend of various high fat diets. But if you wait a few years a new study comes out warning you of the dangers of coconut oil. This whirlwind of ever changing information can be extremely frustrating and confusing. What are you supposed to believe and put into practice?
As a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, I’m constantly being asked what is the best diet, how can I lose weight and what are my top tips for living a healthy life. Unfortunately, those are all complicated questions that vary greatly depending on who I am talking to. There is no one size fits all when it comes to health. The foods that helps one person thrive can be another person’s poison.
This can be attributed to bio-individuality. Bio-individuality acknowledges that everyone is unique and require different diets to thrive and be healthy. For example, some people feel best eating a more plant based diet while others feel great consuming a more “meat and potatoes” type of diet.
Because of this fact, I avoid making grand sweeping statements around diet and exercise that everyone should follow. That said, there are a few lifestyle choices that have withstood the test of time and few can refute them. Below is some #1 health tip that I share with all of my clients and inquisitive friends and family members.
My #1 Health Tip Everyone Should Follow
It is not shocking, but staying hydrated is the single most effective tool for weight loss, detox, and overall health. When you are properly hydrated you have more energy, clearer skin, improved digestion, and fewer headaches. Many actually being to realize that they have been confusing thirst signals with hunger signals. Failure to drink enough water can result in a toxic build up, fatigue, poor focus, headaches, sugar cravings, digestive problems, and poor cellular function.
I recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces a day. For example, if you weigh 140lb you should drink 70oz of water a day. That may seem like a lot at first so ease into, especially for someone who is use to drinking significantly less or if your main source of fluid is coffee, black tea, and alcohol. At first you may feel like you are spending half of your day in the restroom, but your body will quickly learn what to do with this vital fluid. Over time your body will actually begin to crave water if you return to your old ways.
Finding Your Personal Optimum
This all sounds pretty simple right? But by listening to the signals your body is giving you, you may find out that drinking half of your body weight in water is not ideal for you. It is important to find your personal optimum when it comes to hydration. After a week or two of using the fifty percent rule, check in with your body. You may need to increase or decrease your water consumption to find your personal optimum volume of water.
An easy test is to look at the color of your urine before flushing the toilet. That may sound a little gross, but hear me out. The saturation of color can tell you a lot about your level of hydration. The ideal is to have the faintest shade of yellow. Just enough to let you know that it’s not pure water in the bowl. A dark shade of yellow, orange, or even brown points to significant dehydration. On the other side, crystal clear urine can mean you are too hydrated. This could actually negatively impact your health. Before you assume you are too hydrated, I’d note that consuming diuretics such as alcohol or caffeine can result in clean urine.
To make staying hydrated less daunting, here are a few ideas to make following my top tip a little easier to implement.
1. Make an effort to drink your water earlier in the day so that you don’t have to wake up at night to go to the bathroom.
2. Use a glass or stainless steel water bottle that has the ounces marked on the bottle so it is easy to track how much you have drank. It also helps you keep on pace for the day by making small goals (ex: Drink 20 ounces by 8am, 40 ounces by 10am and so on).
3. Make drinking water more enjoyable adding flavor with fruit such as berries or citrus, veggies such as cucumber, or herbs like mint or a cinnamon stick. Just let them soak for 24-48 hours and enjoy Experiment with different combinations to find a few you like!
Now it’s time to fill up your glass with some water and cheers to your health, energy and vitality!