Baby Step #2: Water
Okay so I'm doing okay on my first baby step of making better choices (towards a healthier me). We're cooking more and there's a lot less fast food in my life. I've been generally choosing better options. That isn't to say that I didn't eat a french fry or piece of pizza in the last two weeks...but we're steadily getting better---which was the whole point of taking small steps. They're more likely to become habits when you ease into them.
So far the biggest stumbling block as been that the weather is warming up. Warm weather means more invitations to eat out, outdoor (extremely unhealthy) river side restaurants, longer days, picnics, cookouts, and ice cream. Going for ice cream is a top summer activity in Western New York. It's just as much a social thing as it is about the treat and a downfall for many...
So that's where we are at, what's the next step?
Baby step #2 is...drinking more water!
Water is underrated. And not just when it comes to "taste." I know there are a lot of people who are conditioned to need flavor and sweetness in their drinks, but I'm not one of them. I genuinely like water (especially if there's ice). But I often wonder if people don't realize how vital it is to being healthy. It's the one thing your body needs more than anything else. I mean your body can survive on water alone for over a month!
Also, your body uses a ton of water daily. You sweat, you breathe it out in carbon dioxide, most of your organs, muscles and skin need it to function. It regulates your body temperature...and on and on. It's the single most important thing you can put in your body. Seriously.
Now technically you can drink too much water so this is not a "drink as much as you possibly can" sort of goal. However, in general, most people don't drink enough. American's especially are often found to be chronically dehydrated. I seems like dehydration is much more of a risk for most people than overdosing on water is. Your body needs and can handle a large amount of water everyday.
Basically it's amazing how much your health can improve just by this one change. Being well hydrated can cure headaches, make your skin look healthier/clear up, help muscles recover more quickly from work outs, cleanse your system, improve kidney function, improve brain (well all organ) function, increase your energy, and help you lose weight.
So I've got my reusable bottle and I'm ready to go!
Now for the more controversial part of the post. I want to preface this with the fact that any water is better than soda so I encourage you to drink more of it regardless of where it's coming from.
However, one of my biggest challenges personally has always been caring about my water quality. I know many people think this is silly, but I can't drink tap water. Tap water is full of a lot of crap that I just don't want to drink. Water supplies get contaminated by chemicals and pollution all the time, especially in cities (run-off, human waste, factories and plants). Even wells and more rural areas are affected (pesticides, fertilizer). This isn't a feeling, it's a fact. There are government mandated regulations on water supplies and water testing to keep contaminates at low and safe levels. I found a website that tells you, by county, what's in your water. Many chemicals are in our water that are over the health guidelines. Just a few years back in the county we live in cyanide was detected at over the legal limit allowed (yes there's a legal allowance for cyanide) and the water had to be treated.
And I can taste it. Not a lot of people believe me (my own husband is a skeptic) but because I was raised on distilled water (we distilled our own) I can taste the difference. I hate tap water. I don't even really like spring water (minerals, gross). I can taste the salt that they add to Dasani. I'm almost positive I could do a blind water taste test, haha. I want my water to be free of the lead, minerals, fluoride and contaminants that accompany tap water. Picky? Maybe. But buying distilled isn't expensive... Distilling your own or at least getting a filter are also not expensive in the long run.
All that to say, when I buy water I drink a lot of it. When I run out, I don't drink it at all. So as easy as it sounds to drink more water, it will be a bit of a challenge to both keep the supply available and remember to keep drinking all day.