With the turn of the seasons, dryness has set in. When I visit my mom for the weekend, the wood stove crackles and simultaneously sucks all of the hydration out of the air, and in turn my skin, nails, and hair. Walking out into bitter and snowy wilderness, my cheeks chap from the lack of condensation in the air. Winter is a time when we must increase our intake of water, and for some of us this is imperative given that we don't even drink enough water during the more humid months.
Meeting with a client the other day, I sat sipping on my wide array of liquids. When I brought up a topic she preferred to avoid, she looked at me, looked at all of my liquids and sneered sweetly. "You are ALWAYS drinking something," she quipped. Shutting the door, I chuckle leaving the house in the morning, my bag weighted down with three large glass bottles each morning that have been lovingly laid out and packed for me. Water, Green tea, Kombucha, a gallon of liquid each morning that doubles by the end of the day through refilling.
That same client, several minutes later when I asked her another question she was uncomfortable answering, said "you know I don't drink any water right?" I confirmed that I had noticed this and asked her what she drinks during the day. The answer she gave me, which is not unlike the answer I get from many of my clients and some of my family and friends as well was, "if I am out to breakfast I drink orange juice for breakfast but other than that I drink a coffee in the morning and diet soda the rest of the day." Whenever I hear this, my emotional response is conflicted. First, I am scared for the organs inside my clients that are working so hard without liquid for filtering and second, I am so excited because with a very simple change my client can immediately initiate the number one healthiest lifestyle change available.
Unfortunately, this simple change is not that simple for many of us because of repetitive thoughts that become beliefs. My clients tell me, "I don't like water, it doesn't taste like anything." Responding with validation while managing my own response I support, "I know, it really is boring compared to all of the other available drinks." What I always want to say is, of course it doesn't taste like anything, it is water. My clients say, "I would rather drink something else," and I respond by sharing that the way other drinks are designed make them more appetizing than water because they have additives and preservatives." What I really want to say is, certainly with any healthy lifestyle change, initially none of them are as immediately gratifying as unhealthy choices. I hear, "I am not dehydrated, my body would tell me if it was thirsty," and I explain that overactive appetite is often a sign of thirst. What I really want to say is, I can see in you dry skin and cracking lips your dehydration, your body is telling you, you just aren't listening.
The benefits of drinking enough water during the day are immense and undeniable. The first and most obvious is the improved health of our internal organs. Our liver, kidneys, and pancreas all need water to function adequately. Following that benefit are weight loss, increased hydration of the skin (less wrinkles over time), improved energy, more consistent digestion and elimination, and larger opportunity for sweating (which aids in detoxification). Although we do not see the impact of dehydration immediately because our bodies are very smart in compensating, the negative impact compounds over time.
I tell my clients that drinking enough liquid during the day, specifically enough water, can feel like a chore initially. However, similarly to any other chore, when completed consistently this lifestyle change becomes practice over time and is no longer bothersome. As the heat dries us out and the cold sucks our liquid away, we must dedicate ourselves to working extra hard at taking in water and replenishing our hydration.