Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 6

Your behaviors are essentially the manifestations of your subconscious thoughts. Your thought life is ultimately directed by what you believe. I’m not talking about your specific religious or political beliefs, I’m talking about how the beliefs you have about yourself impact your health.

Where Do Beliefs Come From?

“The goal is to understand our underlying belief system, strengthen the beliefs that serve us, discard those those that do not, and move to a healthier state of living.”

Your beliefs and values were formed before you even understood what thinking was.

From your birth until young childhood, your brain was in an open and receptive state. Those around you with influence helped shape your belief system, and you accepted what they taught you. This became your foundational thinking.

There are 2 things you need to take away from today’s lesson:

  • Your beliefs drive your thoughts and actions.  
  • You didn’t choose most of your beliefs; they were imprinted onto you.

“We have to begin to create the right ideas of what health is.”

An example of a belief: “I don’t have self-control.”

When someone needs to change their approach to their eating habits, I hear this belief stated as “fact.” It’ll often be stated by somebody who’s highly successful. I then point out that they absolutely do have self-control, but they’re not directing it towards optimal nutrition. They just need to apply a new belief with an understanding of eating behaviors.

Another false belief: “Because I’m overweight, I’m unhealthy.”

eye looking at reflection in glass

That could be true, but not necessarily. Many individuals are genetically heavy but still healthy! We must create the right ideas of what health is. Health may involve you being leaner, but not necessarily.

Recognize a Pattern

When you come across a belief that makes you feel bad about yourself, you need to recognize that, and you need to ask yourself:

“Where did this belief come from?”

“At what moment did this belief feel true?”

“Why am I going to continue to be controlled by a belief that I didn’t choose that makes me feel bad?”

Language is a powerful force. You need to replace the language of your beliefs. Then negative beliefs about yourself will be replaced with a belief that helps you feel good about yourself. You have to “go all in” for the new narrative you’re giving yourself.

Have You Examined Your Belief System?

“Your beliefs are basically interpretations of your experiences, a way of organizing your thoughts about your life, your identity, and your place in the universe.”

Most people have never stopped and truly examined their beliefs. They’ve just accepted whatever was imprinted into them. The important thing to understand is some of these beliefs may be very good and are serving you well, and some of them may, in fact, be sabotaging your health.

The goal is to understand our underlying belief system, strengthen the beliefs that serve us, discard those that do not, and move to a healthier state of living.

Your beliefs are basically interpretations of your experiences.

How bad do you want it message on cellphone

It’s your way of organizing your thoughts about your life, your identity, and your place in the universe. It’s really important to understand what beliefs and thoughts are creating our behaviors. For example:

  • What makes me eat the same foods day in and day out? 
  • Why do you drink what you drink?
  • How do I continue to have the same sleeping problems for the past 10 years?

These are just a few…

Understanding Your Belief System Is Important

Once you understand where these beliefs came from, the better able you are to discern why you react and respond to life’s circumstances.

From there, you’re able to change the way you react and respond in a manner that would support your best health, such as choosing to eat nutritious foods, or choosing movement, or choosing to turn off the television and do something more productive for your mind and body.

How Can I Change My Inner Life?

“We’re going to start on a fresh, clean slate. You’re going to begin to better understand these subconscious drivers of your behaviors.”

Because it affects how you engage with the external world, we’re going to focus on how you change your inner life. This also involves strengthening an area of your mind that I refer to as the higher mind. We have to fortify our higher mind for it to work for us. That’s the part of us that allows us to dream big and then go pursue those desires.

In the next post, I’ll talk about what I mean by that. I know this may seem a little abstract or confusing. The main thing is to know yourself, to recognize that everything you’re doing is in response to thoughts that are based on beliefs and that you have the ability to restructure your mind. You have the ability to think yourself into a healthier you. You have that power, and you must believe it. and put it into practice., The work is learning how to look at ourselves in a non-judgmental way. Let me repeat that.

This self-examination is in a non-judgmental manner.

You do not need to bring blame, shame, or guilt into this new life. We’re going to start on a fresh, clean slate. You’re going to begin to better understand these subconscious drivers of your behaviors.

Do you have questions about a personalized approach to your wellbeing?  Contact us, like us, and follow us. Want a deeper understanding? Read more in Authentic Health.

I’m happy that our government appointed a bipartisan task force of competent health professionals to study the issue of health in our country. It’s good to see they want to understand why we are so unhealthy even though we spend so much in medical expenses.

I’m glad that we’re beginning to look at healthcare through a different lens. That we’re trying to come up with solutions to our problems.

I am not critical of the summary. I believe they’ve taken an in-depth look at health issues, and are trying to come up with the best solutions. But I have a number of concerns about this.

Accessibility

The summary is a description of public policy processes. So we know it’s going to be a bit dry. But just trying to read through the document can be overwhelming, even for someone like myself who studies health and reads public health documents. It outlines the magnitude of the undertaking and how little understanding we still have of why we’ve become so diseased.

“Our healthcare problem arose in the current paradigm of healthcare delivery. We have to really look at it completely differently to find better and more accurate solutions.”

Current Paradigm

Unfortunately, they’re still applying the same overall paradigm of thinking to the wellness problem. They’re still looking at it through the lens of current healthcare delivery and current systems and structures. Our healthcare problem arose in the current paradigm of healthcare delivery. We have to really look at it completely differently to find better and more accurate solutions.

Hurry Up and Wait

The task force is very clear: it’s going to take an enormous amount of time and effort to collect the data about what really works. This will be a generational undertaking and is worth doing, but let’s be clear—nothing is going to happen quickly. We must come up with the solutions ourselves.

photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia

Continuing to Use a Broken System

“The last place you need to go for the best advice on how to be healthy is the current healthcare system. It is good at putting you back together again when life has broken you in some way, but it’s terrible at teaching you how to be your healthiest self.”

The recommendations of the task force revolve around the proper use of the current system which continue to be focused on a disease management rather than a disease prevention approach. You’ll know from our teachings that we believe the human body is designed well and it’s designed to be free of disease.

Chronic diseases are abnormal, and as I’ve often stated, especially in our children. Yes, we all may have certain conditions we have to live with based on factors beyond our control, but whatever your current context of health, you can still optimize it by taking the right actions. The task force would suggest that some of the right actions are:

  • Go to your regularly scheduled doctor’s visits
  • Take your medications as prescribed
  • Get your appropriate blood test screenings on schedule

I know that the task force also is recommending we improve access to nutritious foods, and reduce exposures to behaviors and substances that create disease. But when it comes to the current system of healthcare delivery, they seem to be emphasizing using it more to try and solve a problem the current healthcare delivery system has seen escalate under its watch.

If you take the right actions, you probably won’t need to see a doctor with regularity. And you’ll probably not need to take prescriptions. Good health will be natural for you. The last place you need to go for the best advice on how to be healthy is the current healthcare system. It is good at putting you back together again when life has broken you in some way, but it’s terrible at teaching you how to be your healthiest self.

What Can We Do Now?

The good news is the solutions, when it comes to you as an individual, are not as challenging as this document would lead you to believe. They are simple truths of health. Applying them is challenging because it involves change for almost all of us. But the actual underlying truths are simple. We spell those out clearly in our teaching resources and our Authentic Health curriculum.

For starters, let’s focus on what we can do right now, for you as an individual, which would then expand into our communities, and then maybe across our country. Let’s not wait on this task force to gather all of its data, and do all of its studies so we can finally get sound policy about not only access to health care, but access to effective healthcare.

“If you take the right actions, you probably won’t need to see a doctor with regularity. And you’ll probably not need to take prescriptions. Good health will be natural for you.”

Helping hands across train tracks.photo by Sarah Cervantes

Choosing A New Path

If you want to experience your best health, you’re going to have to choose a different path. Come visit us at Health Shepherds and join our online community. Together, we can solve this problem well ahead of the schedule that the policymakers have planned. Perhaps if we do this together, and we make enough noise about it, we can begin to get the right actions on the public policy side.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 5

You’ve become intentional about your health, and you’re cultivating the right desires.

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere…

Have you practiced the positive visualization exercise? Have you written down your heart’s desires? Have you been reminding yourself of these daily to imprint them deep into your mind?

I hope so. If so, congratulations! You’re on your way.

Take A Beat and Breathe

This is permanent, effective, and authentic change. We’re allowing our body and mind to become its healthiest version.

For this post, we’re going to pause and reflect. I’m not trying to stall out your progress. It’s just that this particular stage we’ve reached is important. I want us to stay here briefly.

This is a long-term journey.

This is not the Six Weeks Body Transformation program.

This is not the Retrain Your Brain in 2 Weeks (which can’t be done, by the way).

This is permanent, effective, and authentic change. We’re allowing our body and mind to become its healthiest version. It takes time and patience, so let’s listen to our body’s wisdom and breathe into this new space.

Understanding what you want for yourself, and then imprinting it into your mind, is necessary for it to be effective.

photo by Peter Secan

Things to Remember While You’re on This Journey

Understanding what you want for yourself, and then imprinting it into your mind, is necessary for it to be effective. Remember to:

  • Focus on what you want,
  • Think about your heart’s desires,
  • Practice the positive visualization exercise, and
  • Strengthen your resolve and commitment to good health.

Has Your Journey to Authentic Health Started?

If it hasn’t, then how about starting now? The rest of the “Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health” series is based on you having a strong desire for your best health, for you knowing where you’re trying to go. If you’re coming to the series a little late, simply go back, and start at the beginning. You’ll quickly catch up.

Next we move forward with our understanding of how to transform your health.

At Health Shepherds, we understand the importance of integrated healthcare. If you have questions about a more personalized approach to your wellbeing, contact us. You also can like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

I want to share a recent study on time-restricted feeding because it reinforces our core teaching of balancing feeding and fasting. I get more commentary about my teachings on fasting than I do on virtually any other aspect of health. For many people, it seems like a completely foreign concept.

There’s been so much cultural pressure to eat frequently that people are uncomfortable with the idea of fasting.

They believe it’ll induce a starvation response in their body or that it’s bad for their health. They experience fatigue, mood changes, and hunger whenever they have to endure a short period of fasting.

“There’s been so much cultural pressure to eat frequently that people are uncomfortable with the idea of fasting.”

Fed and Fasting States

Our bodies are designed to enter the fed state, which is an energy absorbing state, and designed to be in a fasting state, which is an energy utilizing state. When you enter into a fed state, or an anabolic state, a repair-and-restorative state, you create a specific internal hormonal environment with specific genetic expressions designed to accomplish certain purposes.

It’s very important that your cells take up energy and store it properly. It’s very important that you build proteins and help your body recover from the damage that occurs in daily life. Stopping and eating is necessary for life.

photo by Kevin Xie

The fasting state is a distinct physiological state with its own internal hormonal signaling and its own genetic expression to accomplish specific purposes. This is generally a catabolic state, or a consumption of energy state. The reason individuals have such a hard time tolerating fasting is they’ve not trained their body to do it. Their ability to efficiently manage fasting states from a metabolic standpoint is compromised. That has big implications for their health.

“The reason individuals have such a hard time tolerating fasting is they’ve not trained their body to do it.”

By not ever going into the fasting, catabolic states, the body is missing an opportunity to perform very important functions, functions that are very important to experiencing our best health.

Timed Feeding Flexibility

Note that this study isn’t about extended fasts; this study is about timed feeding. Timed feeding means you limit your periods of feeding, during a 24-hour period, to a specific window of time. The most commonly used is a 16/8 schedule, meaning 8 hours of feeding window and 16 hours of fasting. There are variations of this. You can do 20 and 4. Or you can do 23 and 1, meaning you eat one meal a day over an hour and fast for 23 hours. You can vary the schedule day-to-day and week-to-week.

You have extended intervals of time where you’re not in a feeding state. As you can note from the study, in this population of pre-diabetic individuals, those who were in the group that used the timed feeding experienced a reduction in oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin, and they experienced an improvement in insulin sensitivity. I’d like to be clear that one of the main root causes of chronic obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic conditions is excessive oxidative stress, high inflammation, high insulin, and insulin resistance. This is an abnormal, deranged state of the body that creates disease.

This study demonstrates that when individuals reduce the time of the day that they feed and extend the fasting portions, they begin to reverse the disease state. There are many other studies that also show how the fasting states will induce something called autophagy, where age cells actually self-destruct.

“This study demonstrates that when individuals reduce the time of the day that they feed and extend the fasting portions, they begin to reverse the disease state.”

It’s a time for clean up. Fasting is absolutely associated with living longer, healthier lifespans.

Healthy couple enjoying sunset in canyon.photo by Christopher Burns

Calorie Restricted versus Timed Feeding

The other arm of this study involved individuals using a daily calorie-restricted diet without timed feeding.

This is just a standard, put-you-on-a-diet approach that we’ve used for decades that we know doesn’t work.

What was demonstrated in the study was they did not get the results that the timed feeding group achieved. They did not have the lowering of insulin, the improvement of insulin sensitivity, or the reduction in oxidative stress, meaning the root causes of their weight gain were not being addressed by simply reducing their calories.

“…there has been good evidence that the earlier in the day you have your biggest meal, usually in the afternoon, the more metabolic benefit you’ll get.”

How Do I Start?

For now, regardless if you’re pre-diabetic or not, consider narrowing the time of feeding for yourself each day. Try to use a 16/8 or perhaps a 14/10.

Recognize this is not going on a diet.

During this period of feeding, you’ll eat adequate amounts of calories. You’ll just do it in a more constricted amount of time, and allow your body longer periods of fasting. You can do it from dinner until lunch the next day, from breakfast to breakfast, or from lunch to breakfast the next day.

In this specific study, they did have the individuals stop their feeding earlier in the day, and there has been good evidence that the earlier in the day you have your biggest meal, usually in the afternoon, the more metabolic benefit you’ll get. For those individuals that can stop in the middle of the day and actually eat a large meal and take time to digest it, then skipping dinner and waiting until breakfast to eat could be the best plan.

That doesn’t work for me because my family enjoys our dinners together, and it’s the best time for us to celebrate the ending of our day with food. Also, I work straight through the lunchtime period of my day, so it really wouldn’t work for me to try and stop to eat a big meal, and then digest it properly. But if you can set yourself up to experience your day in that way, then you should. Otherwise, you’ll get very similar results if you’re able to, after you finish your dinner, simply wait until lunch the next day to eat.

Bowl of healthy grains and avocado.photo by Prudence Earl

Conclusion

This is just one study, and I don’t want to overstate how much we conclude from it. However, there are so many studies that demonstrate the same point. Brief periods of fasting are good for your health. They’re necessary for your longest, healthiest life. Your body needs them. For more details, you can see our book, Authentic Health, and our 9-Week Nutrition Program. Fasting is good for you. Consider giving it a try. Join us at Health Shepherds.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 4

So we’ve covered that you’ve got to desire your best health to create the necessity for the change to happen and we’ve given you a visualization exercise to help with this. Now we’ve got a little homework to do. You’re going to need to do some journaling if you’re going to follow through with what these posts are teaching you.

Why Journal?

Journaling is an extremely effective habit. You can do it electronically, or with pencil and paper, but you need to do this. It doesn’t have to be a long session. Short sessions work, too. As you write things down, you further cement them in your mind.

For this journaling exercise, all I’m going to have you write down are your desires for your health. Not a negative focus, such as, “I don’t want to be heavy anymore,” or, “I don’t want to be addicted to nicotine.” Instead, we’re focusing on what you desire for yourself.

You desire the freedom to experience your best health.

You want freedom from any form of addiction, whether that be a drug, a form of entertainment, or foods.

You desire the freedom to live your best life and to make choices every day that support that.

Journal for writing about wellness goals and desires.

Where Do I Start?

So we’re going to begin to write these down. This is going to really help because remember you’ve got to know where you’re trying to go. I want you to think about the different domains of your health:

  • Nutrition
  • Movement
  • Stress management
  • Sleep
  • Thought life

In each of those areas, I want you to jot down your desires. I use the word “desire” because goal setting often comes across as work. It’s something you ought to do or have to do to achieve success.

What we’re talking about is imagining the things you want the most for yourself. It is fine to get lost in your thoughts about your heart’s desires. It is a form of daydreaming, but in a focused way. We’re going to focus our daydreaming towards what we really want. So your job is simple: in each of those domains of your health, you write down what you really want for yourself.

“I want to desire truly nutritious foods.”

“I desire to use my body every day effectively so that my muscles and bones feel good and strong.”

“I want to always be able to direct my thoughts towards positive emotions, such as gratitude, joy, and contentment.”

“I want to have mastery over fear responses and never be driven by fear again.”

“I want to sleep deeply and effectively every night, and wake fully rested and ready for the next day.”

Your mind has to know where you’re trying to go, and that’s what you’re doing in this exercise—you’re teaching it what you want for you. As you do so, you’ll begin to read over these regularly and remind yourself where you’re trying to go. It’s helpful to get these daily reminders. The more often you remind yourself, the more your subconscious will begin to accept that this is what you want, and then your subconscious will begin to change your habit matrix in such a way that it’ll automate the habits of good health. 

What Happens Next?

Frequently throughout this series, we are going to ask you to write things down, so you’re going to have to do this if you want this to work for you. You cannot just read these and say, “Oh, that sounds like a good idea,” and then think about it. You actually have to do the work.

I promise you, if you follow through with what this series teaches you, you’re going to have a new mastery over your habits that will set you free from poor health, and allow you to experience your best health.

We recently wrote about achieving and maintaining adequate hydration. In that blog, we highlighted the importance of drinking water and we discussed how your body thrives when it’s adequately hydrated. Without proper hydration, you may end up feeling unwell and not necessarily knowing why. This week, we’re going to emphasize how it’s not only how much water you consume, but the quality of the water you drink that’s crucial.

Water is Everywhere

We receive hydration from many sources. Any beverage we drink, whether it be coffee, tea, soda, or water will provide hydration. In addition, our food offers the body water.

“Produce grown in healthy soil and free of additives is rich in minerals, nutrients, and water.”

In previous posts, we’ve discussed that food sourcing, meaning that the foods you choose to eat, need to be from healthy sources. As much as possible, produce should be organic, and animal products should come from healthy, ethically-raised animals. Eating a lot of vegetables can improve your hydration, as there is a lot of water in fresh produce. However, if that produce was grown in depleted soil and coated with herbicides and pesticides, you actually may be creating more stress for your body when you consume it. Produce grown in healthy soil and free of additives is rich in minerals, nutrients, and water.

What is Pure Water?

When it comes to your beverages, some are better than others. I recommend people learn to enjoy drinking pure water. What do I mean? Pure water is filtered so that heavy metals, parasites, chlorine and fluoride, and other potentially unhealthy byproducts of water production are eliminated. This can be accomplished through a filtering system, or by purchasing well-sourced spring water.

“Pure water is filtered so that heavy metals, parasites, chlorine and fluoride, and other potentially unhealthy byproducts of water production are eliminated.”

However, if you filter your water, you also will have depleted it of key minerals. Pure water derived from the earth would normally be rich in minerals. These minerals are an important part of your overall hydration as they maintain a proper balance between water distributed to the blood and to the cells. So if you choose to filter, consider adding a pinch of Himalayan pink salt or trace minerals as a way of restoring important bodily resources.

Young woman headphones brunette drinking water from glass water bottle.

How You Store Your Water Matters

We also have to consider how water is stored. At this point, many of us know that plastic containers can have unhealthy chemicals associated with them. In many cases, these chemicals can leach into the liquid held in the container. When we consume that beverage, whatever it may be, we end up putting these chemicals into our bodies, which can create harmful responses. I like to reuse glass bottles for carrying filtered water wherever I go.

What About Coffee and Tea?

Quality coffees and teas are a good source of polyphenol compounds, which are nutrients important for health and fluids. You have to be careful about the caffeine content, and I recommend people consume unsweetened versions of these beverages, but nonetheless, this can be a healthy source of hydration. If someone has to have some sweetness to the flavor of the beverage, then I recommend an organic Stevia drop to provide that sweetness.

Glass of carbonated soda with mixed berries in glass.

Can I Splurge on Soda?

Excess consumption of soda, even diet drinks, is a contributor to obesity and metabolic diseases. I have a process I recommend for people who are trying to kick their cola habit. You can still enjoy the bubbly experience but eliminate the harmful aspects.

Step-down Process to Eliminate That Soda Fix

  1. Use sparkling mineral water and add some flavor. There are healthy, organic Stevia blends on the market. You also can use pure, unsweetened, organic concentrates from blueberry, pomegranate, or cranberry. These fruits are rich in nutrients and provide a refreshing flavor.
  2. Simply add lemon, lime, or squeezes of orange to your sparkling water.

It’s okay that there are days when you decide to drink the soda or the sweet tea or whatever else it is that you enjoy. We like to use the 80/20 rule. Drink h2o 80% of the time to get the vast majority of results. Over time, you’ll see the difference between how you feel when using clean sources of hydration versus unclean. You’ll naturally begin to spend more time exposing yourself to the sources of hydration that support your health and help you feel good.

“Excess consumption of soda, even diet drinks, is a contributor to obesity and metabolic diseases.”

Stay adequately hydrated, but make sure you also focus on quality hydration. Your body will thank you.

Are you interested in learning more about holistic and authentic health? Contact us, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 3

In the last blog, we talked about how your optimal state of health has to be based on your true heart’s desire. First, we have to get our desires in the right order, since ultimately we will always choose what we want. For instance, you have to strongly desire your health, because the forces opposing it are powerful.

You Have to See It to Be It

I’d like to teach you a short visualization exercise that’s based on simple psychological principles. It involves activating both the right and left hemispheres of your brain and using your powerfully creative mind. The goal is to deeply imprint a vision of your best self into your mind so that you can begin to create a subconscious habit of supporting your best health.

Close your eyes and picture yourself in a very serene and peaceful place. This can be any setting you’re familiar with. It can be a beach, or the lake, or a park, or somewhere comfortable in your own home. You want to picture this with as much detail as possible. You want to see the surroundings, smell the smells, and feel the atmosphere.

“The goal is to deeply imprint a vision of your best self into your mind so that you can begin to create a subconscious habit of supporting your best health.”

Then bring into your picture the healthiest version of you. This version of you doesn’t necessarily need to have 6-pack abs or anything. It’s simply a very healthy looking person. Bright eyes. Smiling. The appearance of this person radiates good health, strength, confidence, and happiness. This person holds themselves in a particular way and breathes in a particular way. They appear strong and confident.

I want you to do your best to picture this as vividly as possible. If you’re having trouble, don’t worry. This may be a new exercise for you. Just stick with it. Keep creating the picture. This alone is a very powerful exercise for your mind. You can do this in 5 minutes or less.

meditate visualizephoto by Felix Mittermeier

Once you have that clear picture of you as your healthiest self, you’re going to step into that version of you.

As you do so, in your mind, begin to experience how it feels to be that version of you. Experience how it feels to hold your body in a strong and confident way, how to breathe deeply and effectively, feeling the air moving in and out of your lungs. How you see through eyes that see the world as a beautiful place. How you experience a strong confidence and a sense of joy and contentment. Do everything you can to cultivate that inner state of feeling.

Continue to stay in that state and experience how this feels to you.

After a short period of time, I’m going to want you to hold your fingers tightly together, index finger against thumb or middle finger. You’re going to hold that for about 30 seconds, feeling the pressure in your fingers while holding this image in your mind.

“Experience how it feels to hold your body in a strong and confident way, how to breathe deeply and effectively, feeling the air moving in and out of your lungs.”

Then, once you’ve done that, I want you to open your eyes and begin to step out of this visualization as though you’re still that person you visualized. The result of this is you imprinting into your subconscious a desire to be the healthiest you. Ultimately, you need your subconscious to believe that this is what you want so you can begin to automate your habits to achieve it.

visualize meditatephoto by Ksenia Makagonova

How Do I Keep Visualizing My Health?

When you walk away from this, try to hold the feeling of it as long as possible. Even if this makes you feel self-conscious, don’t worry about it. Do it in the privacy of your own home when no one’s around. Practice.

It will really feel good for you to experience being inside the healthiest version of you, even for just a few minutes.

Throughout your day, as you begin to experience negative feelings, whether it be fatigue, or negative emotions, or a temptation to give into a bad habit, I want you to close your eyes, pinch your fingers strongly together, and recreate this image for yourself. As you do so, you’ll begin to imprint into your subconscious and your consciousness that strong desire to be that person. That can reactivate the positive emotions associated with that state. It also can give you the strength to make a different choice than the choice that sabotages your health.

Remember, your heart’s desire is the rocket fuel for this journey. That’s what will take you there. So we first have to get that right.

We’ll talk about some other helpful tips to cultivate the right desire in the next blog.

At Health Shepherds, we understand the importance of integrated healthcare. If you have questions about a more personalized approach to your wellbeing, contact us. You also can like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

Today we are going to focus on water and an important habit of health—hydration. Being adequately hydrated is foundational to good health. Our bodies are primarily made from water. Without enough of it, we experience dehydration and cannot thrive.

The symptoms of dehydration can be mild (such as dry mouth and lethargy), to serious (dizziness and confusion), to severe (a sharp drop in blood pressure that can result in seizures or shock).

“How can you tell if you’re getting enough water in a day? There’s a simple and useful calculation.”

Thankfully, proper hydration just takes a bit of mindfulness. Historically, access to adequate fluids and minerals was not always guaranteed. However, now that we generally have access to liquids, we sometimes forget to honor our fundamental need for hydration. How can you tell if you’re getting enough water in a day? There’s a simple and useful calculation.

What is the Formula for H2O Intake?

All you need to know is your weight in pounds. It’s reasonable that the amount of water a one-hundred-and-twenty-pound woman would require is different than the amount a man of two hundred and twenty pounds would require. Thankfully, the formula is simple.

Weight (in lbs) x .67 = ounces of water required to drink

For a 150 lb woman, she should drink 101 ounces of water in a day. For a 200 lb man, he should consume 134 ounces of H2O per day.

Adding Exercise into the Equation

Dehydrated and thirsty young men playing basketball on schoolyard.
photo by Reuben Mcfeeters

But what about when you sweat?

Sweat is water lost during exercise or heat exposure to help the body maintain a stable temperature. When focusing on adequate hydration, you need to account for water lost due to sweating. We also deplete our bodies of minerals when we sweat.

For every 30 minutes of exercise, add an additional 12 ounces of water to your total from the above equation. To add back important minerals, consider adding a small pinch of Himalayan Pink Salts or a few drops of a trace mineral supplement to the additional water you drink.

Example: 150 lbs x .67 = 101 ounces. 45 minutes of exercise requires the addition of 18 ounces of water. 101 + 18 = 119 total ounces of water to drink that day.

“When we’re craving an afternoon snack, sometimes that’s our body trying to say we need more water.”

That’s a Lot of Water

Drinking more than 100 ounces of anything can seem daunting. That’s a lot of water, and to be frank, water can be quite boring. But remember, water is in nearly everything we consume, in our food and in our beverages. Not all sources of water are created equal—soda is a less ideal option than iced tea or lemonade, which are less ideal than water itself. Here are some tips to keep you properly hydrated, and make your water a tastier option:

Reusable water bottle with measuring guide.

photo by Alan Carrillo

  1. Have a 16-ounce glass of water after you wake up. You can also drink an additional 8 ounces before bedtime, but if you have issues waking at night due to a full bladder, you can skip the evening portion. Beginning and ending your day with this habit adds an easy 16-24 ounces to your total without even having to think about it. Keep a glass or container at your bedside to make this step as easy as possible. Also, add a pinch of Himalayan Pink Salts to your morning water intake.
  2. Drink two 16 ounce glasses of water before you eat. The body sometimes confuses which signals are hunger and which are thirst. When we’re craving an afternoon snack, sometimes that’s our body trying to say we need more water. Drinking before a meal is a good way to ensure the thirst is out of the way so we can recognize true hunger before we begin to eat, and stop when we’ve reached satiety. Plus, that’s another 32 ounces in your water bank for the day.
  3. Use a reusable bottle with measurements on the side. It’s sometimes easier to remember to refill your bottle four times than it is to track how many ounces you’ve had.
  4. Give your H2O pizzazz with added flavor. Squeeze a lemon slice into your glass, or place a sprig of mint in it to refresh the flavor and fight the afternoon doldrums. There are some flavoring powders as well that can add some zing without added sugars or calories. Check the labels to ensure you know what you’re adding, but giving a little pep to a glass of water makes it that much easier to get your daily intake.

Dehydration can interfere with metabolism as well as weight loss, so it’s always best to be mindful of your hydration and get your daily allowance as regularly as you can. Your skin will be grateful, too.

Do you have questions about implementing other healthy habits into your life? Read about Key Habits of Authentic Health. You also can contact uslike us, and follow us