The best way to moisturize, according to a health coach

We’re all looking for the perfect formula, aren’t we? Just tell me how many grams of fat and carbohydrates to eat. How many steps a day. And how many glasses of water should I drink in a 24 hour period?

We love the precision of everything. The security of micromanaging every detail of our lives with the promise that if we can dial in enough, we will enjoy perfect health for the rest of our days. But when you think of all of the forcing, measuring, counting, and obsessive over-planning that goes into this type of micromanagement, there’s actually nothing healthy about it.

There is nothing healthy about ignoring your body’s cues in favor of general nutrition – or say random social media influencers. Diet may be a science, but it’s also an art form. And learning to trust your body and what it’s trying to tell you trumps any water-to-weight table you can find online.

But how much water should you drink?

I’ve always followed Mark’s wisdom about water usage. We both believe the body has a well-regulated system to prevent dehydration and a built-in mechanism to let you know when we need more water. This internal mechanism is called your thirst.

How much water you need is very individual. That said, it depends on your particular circumstances, level of activity, and the climate in which you live. Not only that, the advice to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, or half your body weight in ounces, isn’t based on actual evidence.

These guidelines are originally based on the US Food and Nutrition Board’s 1945 recommendations that people should drink 2.5 liters of water a day. Unfortunately, after reading this statement, people have neglected to read the following sentence, which read, “Most of this amount is in food.”

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Caffeinated drinks work against you, right?

A review published in the American Journal of Physiology goes further to debunk the recommendation of 8 glasses or 2 liters of water a day. The researchers looked at studies that measured the food and fluid intake of 28,081 men and women in the United States and found that such large amounts of water were not necessary for good health.

They also found that caffeinated beverages (and, to a lesser extent, alcohol) increased hydration, with most notably found that almost half (47%) of the total liquids ingested by participants were coffee, tea, soft drinks, and alcohol.

So, as a health coach, I am not pushing the problem of hydration. Instead, I empower my clients to tune in to something I don’t think most of us can handle well. And that trusts your body.

What if you drank when you were thirsty?

And while you’re at it, how about eating when you are hungry, sleeping when you are tired, and when you have something to say? Wouldn’t that be a miracle? It would be so damn liberating to stop forcing every single detail and instead have a little confidence that your body knows what it’s doing.

Trust in your body message is being lost in today’s world. In fact, we work especially hard to ignore these subtle and less subtle signs. In fact, humans are the only types that will exercise energy when they are not in need of it.

We deliberately take off sleep because there is more work to do or because it is too early to go to bed. We suppress our hunger pangs by telling ourselves not to eat until our fasting window opens if we want to lose weight.

We have become so used to ignoring the discomfort and pushing it through that we have forgotten how to honor the wonder our body is. I’m not saying you shouldn’t rush yourself. But by training your brain to ignore the signs and symptoms, you are doing yourself and your well-being a disservice.

Would you like to know the best way to hydrate?

From a health coaching perspective, it is best to adjust to what your body is telling you. Nobody knows you better than you. And when you are really dialed into your internal signals (instead of continuing the pattern of ignoring) you don’t have to put yourself under the watch of your water intake or macros being monitored.

  1. Notice how thirst feels. We are so used to fighting hunger pains, attracting night owls and completely ignoring our body’s signals that separating is some sort of new normal. But when your body feels something, you should always take it as a sign. Pay attention to when your mouth becomes dry or you get a slight itch in your throat. This is your body telling you that it is thirsty.
  2. Respond to this feeling. Once you’ve learned to notice what’s going on, the next step is to take action. Respect your body enough to give it what it craves. Get some water, have a smoothie, have a cup of coffee. When you consciously respond to these signals, you begin to trust your body more. And vice versa.
  3. Improve your self-efficacy skills. In other words, if you believe you can, the more likely you will actually do it. Even if you don’t naturally tend to think that way, you can learn to achieve more self-efficacy by setting small goals (note if you’re thirsty and go for some water), being aware of your patterns (yours ignoring body signals) and still get up to refill the water glass.
  4. Stop worrying about what others are doing. A quick search for “How Much Water Should I Drink?” Yields hundreds of thousands of results ranging from two liters to fifteen and a half cups. Like I said, nobody knows your body better than you. Instead of worrying about what other people are doing (or saying), work through steps one through three and tune into your own perfect formula.

Four ways to get better hydrated

Forget the 8 × 8 rule or recommendations to drink half your body weight in ounces. The best way to hydrate is to listen to your body. Use these steps to practice tuning your body’s internal cues and drinking when you are thirsty. You stay hydrated without having to micromanage your water intake.

  1. Notice how thirst feels
  2. Respond to this feeling
  3. Improve your self-efficacy skills
  4. Stop worrying about what others are doing

Now it’s your turn. How do you decide how much water to drink?

About the author

Erin Power is the coaching and curriculum director of the Primal Health Coach Institute. She also helps her clients reestablish loving and trusting relationships with their bodies – while restoring their metabolic health so they can lose fat and gain energy – through her own private health coaching practice, eat.simple.

If you are passionate about health and wellness and want to help people like Erin for their clients every day, you should consider becoming a certified health coach yourself. In this special information session hosted by PHCI Co-Founder Mark Sisson, you will learn the three simple steps to building a successful health coaching business in a maximum of 6 months.

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