Step 1 to a Healthier You: Cheers!

The first step I picked for my 12-steps To a Healthier You Journey is about as easy as falling off a log. In fact, it’s what you’ll find yourself in if you do fall off a floating log. Water.

The human body is composed of approximately 60% water, so it stands to reason that replenishing that water supply is an important daily task. Of course, many argue that all liquids contain water, ergo anything you drink counts toward water consumption. So, belly up to the soda machine. Um, no. Like, seriously. Stop.

Drinking water does more than quench your thirst.

Image courtesy of suphakit73 /

Besides water, the human body contains a delicate balance of elements which can be disrupted by the over-consumption of chemicals, found in manufactured drinks. Water is really the best choice. Water-based broths (homemade is best) also count, but not sodas, juices, energy drinks, coffee, tea, and as much as it pains me, not hot chocolate.

Let’s just list a few of the ways drinking water is the best choice for quenching your thirst:

  1. Drinking water before meals helps control portions, which may help maintain a healthy weight. Sodas, loaded with sugar, actually make you want to eat more.
  2. Drinking water before a workout helps avoid dehydration resulting from sweating to the oldies, or whatever music you choose. Electrolyte drinks contain way too much sodium for the average person to metabolize, resulting in dangerously high blood pressure spikes.
  3. Drinking water helps the body flush itself of toxins, resulting in clearer skin and better functioning kidneys. I know from personal experience that my kidneys need a healthy dose of water daily, and if I forget they remind me in the form of multiple kidney stones. That’s not a problem for everyone, but our kidneys work hard to filter waste and dispel it through the urine. Water makes that job a lot easier for them.
  4. Drinking water helps soothe aching joints and muscle cramps. Aches and pains are often the first sign of dehydration.
  5. Drinking water curbs sugar cravings. No, it might not eliminate the craving for a bite or two of chocolate, but it will help control the extreme desire for more and more.

To be fair, there are a few things that drinking water won’t do:

  1. Drinking water won’t erode the enamel on your teeth like sodas.
  2. Drinking water won’t stain your teeth like coffee and tea.
  3. Drinking water won’t make you the life of the party or the favorite of the bartender like alcohol.
  4. Drinking water won’t give you a false energy boost and resulting crash like energy drinks.
  5. Drinking water won’t disrupt your sleep like caffeinated drinks.
  6. Drinking water won’t cause blood sugar spikes and dips like juices and sugary drinks.

Why start the Challenge with drinking water? Well, it’s easy. It’s cheap, like virtually free. And it’s really, in my opinion, the cornerstone to a healthy diet. I’m not saying go whole hog and give up every other form of drink you enjoy. Some people can jump into a challenge with both feet and make it happen. The rest of us mortals like to ease into it a little at a time. So, here is the strategy for this week.

Drink one 8-oz. glass of water sometime during the day.

Yep, that’s it. All I’m asking this week to start the Challenge is to drink one glass of water a day. We’re beginning a new habit, and the best way to start is to take the first step.

You might think water tastes gross, and in some areas it does. On a visit a few years ago to a community that sits near a river, I could have sworn I was drinking straight from the river. Gag! In those cases, bottled water is your friend. Otherwise, your taste buds will adapt quickly if given the chance.

So, for our first step to a healthy 2015, I say, “CHEERS!” Grab a water glass and drink up!


P.S. Next week I’ll look at how much water is enough or too much and what kinds of water is best. Did you know there are “kinds” of water??

Sign up to catch all my 12-Step 2015 2017 Health Challenge emails by typing your name and email address to the box in the top right corner. We’re going to take a simple but focused approach to improving our health this year. Please join me.


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