The other day, someone asked me “If there was only ONE piece of advice you could give about how to lose weight, gain energy, and feel better – what would that be?”
Before I tell you my answer, let me say that if they had asked me that question when I FIRST became a dietitian, I would have been OVERWHELMED at how to answer.
I mean, how was I to choose ONE thing?
There are a MYRIAD of choices that can help improve your health, boost your metabolism and your energy – how could I choose just ONE?
I would have thought:
“Should I mention walking, doing cardio, lifting weights, or doing yoga?
Or is the most important thing to cut out most refined sugar from the diet?
Or what about the latest supplement shown to lower (insert health risk here) and raise (insert health benefit here)?
But then should I mention to make sure you’re eating foods from your local farmers?
And organic? Isn’t that important?
Or wait, is it avoiding artificial sweeteners?
Or how about focusing on mindful eating?
Wait…..surely, it’s coconut oil. Yes, coconut oil cures everything, right? :)”
Well….hold on there.
Yes, SOME of those things ARE important to keep in mind when you’re trying to gain energy, lose weight, and just live a healthier life.
But if I could only share ONE tip with people about what to do to reap the most health benefits, it would be this:
Keep your blood sugar balanced.
THAT is the biggest needle mover when it comes to improving your health.
You’re thinking, “That’s IT? But what about focusing on food? Or exercise?”
“YES”, I say. That’s what it TAKES to keep your blood sugar balanced.
Balancing your blood sugar is kind of like the umbrella term and everything else falls underneath that.
And I’m not just talking about diabetics and blood sugar here. We can ALL benefit from keeping our blood sugar balanced.
Why Keep Blood Sugar Balanced?
Keeping your blood sugar stable can help you cure cravings, overcome emotional eating, stop chronic dieting, improve the quality of your life, lose weight, gain energy, stress less, resolve digestive issues, heal adrenal fatigue, and help you experience deep happiness and satisfaction.
Surely one of those is important to you, right?!
How to Keep Blood Sugar Balanced?
So how do you KEEP your blood sugar balanced? Well, there CAN be many variables and that’s where people can get tripped up. Overwhelmed at what to do first, some folks end up not doing anything different and then they are no closer to where they want to be with their health.
However, I’m here with some curated information just for you on how to get off the blood sugar roller coaster for good.
So let’s get started.
Tip #1: Drink more water
My first tip to keep your blood sugar balanced is to drink more water.
Keeping your blood sugar stable should start with making sure you’re drinking the right amount of water for your body. Did you know that the body is made of about 60% water? But what do we buy MORE of to drink than water? Sodas!
So I understand why it can be a challenge to drink enough water for some people.
Why Drink Enough Water?
Water is so important for energy, metabolism, and your health! When you drink the right amount of water, you enable your body to move nutrients around to your cells where they are needed the most. You are also able to eliminate waste when your body is done absorbing the nutrients you need from the food that you eat. This helps create radiant skin, prevents muscle cramps, and reduces inflammation, to name just a few things.
How Much Water?
So how much water do you need? Well, everyone is different. There are many experts who have fancy calculations, gadgets, and opinions on how much water to get.
What I usually tell clients is to take your current weight in pounds and divide that number in half. Then, that’s about how much water you should be getting per day in ounces, plus or minus 10 ounces or so.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, then you should be getting anywhere from 65 to 85 ounces of water a day. If you sweat a lot, then you might need more.
If you’re starting with only drinking coffee or sodas throughout the day, then getting something like 65 ounces of pure water a day may seem impossible. For you, I would just suggest adding in one 8 ounce glass of water per day to start with. Then, when that is a new habit, add in another glass of water a day.
Continue on like this until you’re drinking the right amount of water for you.
A good way to measure to see if you’re getting the right amount of water is to check the color of your urine. If your urine is light in color, then you’re probably getting a good amount. If it’s on the darker side, then you probably need to drink more water.
And once you find your proper amount, see how you feel.
How’s your skin looking? How about your digestion? Any weight changes? Are you experiencing less cravings?
Those are ALL possibilities when you drink more fresh, clean water!
Quick Water Tips
So, how about some tips on how to get that water in everyday?
Make it accessible. Keep reusable glass bottles of water anywhere you spend most of your time – in the car, at the office, around your workspace at home, etc.
Drink 2 glasses of water first thing in the morning. When you’ve been sleeping for about 8 hours, it’s time to rehydrate! Fill up 2 glasses with fresh water at night before bed, put them by your night stand, and then as soon as you wake up, drink up!
Fill up a lovely glass pitcher with the amount of water you need to drink in a day and keep that in your fridge or on your counter so you’re constantly reminded to drink more water.
Add some fun things to your water (not sugar-related) like fresh cut citrus, cucumber slices, or mint. This is especially good for those who find plain water boring.
Keep a tally sheet on your fridge and each time you drink an 8 ounce glass of water, check a box for that day as you count your way up to however many glasses you should be drinking per day.
Before exercise, drink an 8 ounce glass of water. You’ll avoid becoming dehydrated if you sweat a lot and you’ll also recover from the exercise more quickly.
One more quick tip: I try to get most of my water in throughout the day and start tapering off drinking a lot of water when it comes time for dinner. That way, I’m not drinking too much water close to bedtime which will surely keep me up at night making too many trips to the bathroom. ?
What about you?
What are ways you remember to drink enough water throughout the day? Have you noticed any positive health changes when you started drinking enough water each day?
Here’s my next tip to keep your blood sugar balanced. For right now, I encourage you to focus on one thing and that is to get off the blood sugar roller coaster by making sure you’re drinking enough water.
Thanks for reading!
-Caitlin Russell MS RD CLT