So many people believe in some form of an all-or-none philosophy and I'll admit, its hard not to fall prey to it at times, especially when it comes to our personal wellness. To that end, many of my private clients won't even begin a wellness program in December because they want to wait to "start fresh" in January. While I think every once in awhile giving yourself a fresh start is needed and part of our cyclical nature, its also not how it has to be. So, what is something I tell everyone they can do now, and not have to wait, because its such a small change, but can make a big difference?
Upon waking, drink a big glass of luke warm water all in one big gulp.
I've been doing this for about 10 years now, at times more regularly than others, and just like any good-for-you habit, I notice when I don't do it, and feel better when I do. I began doing it when I lived overseas in China and saw how often the locals would drink warm or hot plain water throughout the day. I thought it was unappetizing, coming from the land of iced water with lemon. There's nothing wrong with iced water with lemon, but Eastern Medicine practitioners typically are big proponents of drinking water that is closer to body temperature than cold. You can research it.
The next time I was told to do this by my clinical nutritionist after experiencing a few kidney stone episodes that were *extremely* painful. She said if I flushed everything before I started filtering food, tea, vitamins, etc, I'd have a better chance of staving off future kidney stones. I haven't had one since.
The next time I heard about this was all my colleagues at Integrative Nutrition who were trying to get better night's sleep but were getting up to pee too much. These are usually the ladies. They were trying to stay hydrated thoughout the day but ended up continuing to drink that last glass of water before bed. Sleep is as crucial as water. We need good sleep, so here's a way to stay hydrated earlier in the day and not disrupt your sleep cycle.
The most recent time I heard about doing this was when I learned more deeply about the pelvic floor and it was recommended by a PT to help those with regular, but mild constipation (many of us!).
So, over time, I figured that if multiple professionals and disciplines were recommending it, it might be good idea to try to stick with it. Now I wake thirsty and can tell right away I'm ready for some water first thing.
Drinking water in big gulps does a few things. And correct, I'm not a doctor. I'm not a scientist either. I do believe, however, from experience and observation that most of us are dehydrated and could use a good flush of our system. After a night's sleep, especially, we wake dehydrated and ready to eliminate. The water gulp does both, thanks to the Gastrocolic Reflex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastrocolic_reflex). It signals to your body that you are taking in a big meal (hence the gulping, not sipping) and need to move something out to make room for what's coming in. During the night our bodies detox and heal, restore and rest, and some of the byproduct of this process ends up in our colon. Within about 10 minutes after drinking your glass of warm water, you are more hydrated, and can often eliminate, getting rid of yesterday's food. Doing this regularly is a better "detox" than a once-a-year detox. And sure beats what I see my clients do usually, which is usually, wake, drink nothing, have coffee first thing (dyhydrates you more) and then begin their day already dehydrated. By afternoon or night they may feel thirsty and drink more, and then have to wake up in the night to pee. This helps reset that cycle.
Again, this isn't rocket science, this isn't medical advice, its a way to get what we need (water) and to help eleviate naturally what many people suffer from, mild constipation and dyhydration.
Health coaching is here to help you strategize and shift your habits to get what you need and want from your health and life. Best to you in 2015!