I sold yellow pages advertising for twelve years, eleven of those years as an outside sales consultant dealing with major accounts. While it was a great way to make a living, it was definitely NOT glamorous. Most of my clients weren’t in luxurious offices with mahogany furniture; they were plumbers, remodelers, and roofers working out of a van.
As long as I live, I’ll never forget meeting with a mechanic at his auto repair shop in a suburb of St. Paul. I pulled up to the dilapidated shop in my yuppie sedan and clicked up to the front door wearing three-inch heals and a designer suit.
I swallowed hard when I stepped into the office. The stink of oil and dust filled the air and slimy grease coated every surface. To my right was a filthy sofa occupied by an equally filthy German shepherd.
The owner of the shop, a nice man with a thick layer of grease under his fingernails, rushed over to me, thrust out his hand, and introduced himself. Then he asked me to have a seat … motioning to the coach, of course. The dog barely looked at me as I settled my pink fanny next to him.
I did my yellow pages spiel, the customer signed the contract (he didn’t buy anything), and I headed back to my car as quickly as possible.
As I merged onto the freeway, I felt a tickling sensation on my head. To my horror, out crawled a big black spider from my golden locks!
“EEEWWW!” I screamed as I frantically brushed my hand through my hair, inadvertenly swerving my car across the center line. I have a bit of arachnophobia, so this was clearly not a great moment for me. Fortunately, I had time to search my hair and tidy up a bit before my next appointment.
So why am I telling you this story? Bear with me… there is method to my madness.
Today is my first Wellness Wednesday blog post. Since most of my pants no longer fit, my medicine cabinet contains far too my vials of prescriptions, and it seems like I’m getting new wrinkles by the moment, I’ve realized I haven’t been taking very good care of myself lately. I’m not that old—and I don’t want to buy all new pants—so it’s time to do something about my situation.
Let’s be clear about something though; I am not the sort to go on a crash diet and drink green concoctions all day or embark on some butt-crunching exercise regimen. I know the only way to accomplish my goals is to make small changes.
Perhaps one of the most important steps I can take toward wellness is to drink more water. One of the survival techniques I learned over the years as a yellow pages lady was to avoid drinking water during the day so I wouldn’t have to use the restroom at places like that auto repair shop.
This habit has held over to this day; other than my morning vanilla latte and a glass or two of white wine, I drink very few fluids at all. MY BAD.
My husband, the water junkie, is so concerned about my drought that he has set an alarm on my phone. What? It goes off every two hours to remind me to consume at least four ounces of H2O. It’s annoying, but sweet.
So what’s the big deal about water? (Caveat: I’m not a doctor or health practitioner, these tips are based on my research and common sense.)
Water can help achieve weight loss. Drinking water can boost your metabolism, particularly if it is ice cold because your body has to work harder to warm up the water. Agua can also curb your appetite. Before filling up your stomach with calorie-heavy treats, water will trick it into feeling full.
Water is Beneficial to Your Muscles. Muscle cells that don’t have adequate fluids don’t work as well – they can cramp and fatigue more quickly. Being dehydrated will also make you feel tired and weak, in part because your blood won’t transport oxygen and other vital nutrients to your cells as efficiently.
Drinking water can help balance your fluids. On average, the human body is composed of 60 percent water. It flushes out toxins, aids in digestion, absorption, and circulation, and produces saliva. It also helps regulate your body temperature. Because you continuously lose fluids through these and other bodily functions, they have to be replaced. Think about this: 70 percent to 80 percent of your brain is comprised of water. If it is dehydrated, your cognitive function can be impaired and you’ll be more likely to feel stress.
Water is Good for Your Complexion. The skin is the largest organ in the body, and dehydration can wreak havoc on it. Without proper hydration, it will feel dry and fine lines and wrinkles may be more prominent. Water also flushes out impurities and improves blood flow and circulation, which will make it look more healthy. Of course, water won’t magically turn back the clock, but it can help, and who won’t take that?
Water Helps Your Kidneys. My mother has chronic kidney disease, so this is of particular importance to me. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. If you consume an adequate amount of fluids, healthy kidneys can do a great job of cleansing your body of these toxins. If you don’t get enough water into your system, you’ll know because your urine will be dark yellow or orange and have a strong smell. Pale yellow and the kidneys are mellow. You may also be at a higher risk of kidney stones—they are more likely to form in concentrated urine.
Water Helps Your Bowels. Nobody likes to be constipated (We hardly know each other and here I am talking about poop.). If this is a problem for you, DRINK MORE WATER! Fluids dissolve waste particles and keep things moving nicely along your gastrointestinal tract. If you don’t get enough, the colon pulls water from your stool to maintain hydration and the result is constipation.
I know what you’re thinking: How much water should I drink? Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to that question. It depends on your size, level of activity, environment, and any health conditions you have. For years, the rule of thumb has been 8 x 8, or eight, eight-ounce glasses a day, but that is now old school thinking. The Institute of Medicine recommends men drink about thirteen cups of total beverages per day, while women should have about nine cups per day. Yikes!
So there you have it, our first Wellness Wednesday. I am going to challenge myself to drink more water… how about you?
In love and friendship,
Amy Hammond Hagberg