The Watered Down Truth

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Health and Fitness  |  House: Booksie Classic

Why is it hard to lose weight? You watch what you eat; how about what you drink? A quick look into how what we drink each day can a significant affect our health.

The truth is I don’t even want a perfect body anymore. I had a pretty good one once and I blew it on 15 years of burgers, fries, and sweet tea. I made my choices and I can deal with that. Now, I just want to be healthy…I need to be able to walk to the mailbox without feeling like I’m going to pass out.

It’s all about choices.

I want to point out an important statement in the paragraph above. I made my choices. We are all the product of the choices we make every day and every second. Do we zig or do we zag? What do we think? And, of course, what do we eat and drink? I could do a whole series of articles just on making choices and how our decisions shape who we are. But for the sake of staying on point; I’ll stick to the eating and drinking choices we make each day. Take if from a man that has eaten like a 14 year old for the past 15+ years or so, what we choose to put in our bodies is a big, big deal. Now, I know that if you’re 20, you’re immortal. I get it. But believe me when I tell you that the choices you make today form habits. Habits control behavioral patterns. Those patterns can stay in control of your choices for years and even decades if you allow it. So now you’re 40 and the choices you made in your 20’s are catching up to you. It’s a tough pill to swallow, my friend. Red meat and fried anything was a staple of my diet for decades and I’m now overweight and I breathe like I’m running from Mike Myers if I just walk out to the car to get the groceries. In my head, I was Superman for God’s sake….so now what?

What now, Superman?

Are you like me? Are you lost when it comes to what we should actually be eating and drinking each day? I mean, where do you even start? Well, take it from me….don’t look it up on a site like WebMD. Lord knows, you’ll end up convinced you’ve got the Rickets or something. No, instead I recommend spending a little time researching what kinds of things you should be putting in your body and be sure you are looking at all the variables; it really does matter what your age is and what kind of environment you live in. So read several sources and try to get complete balanced view. I’m certainly no expert, but I’ve researched enough over the last couple of months to find a great place to start…what we drink. To give perspective, I want to tell you a story.

I have a friend that, honestly, works very hard to stay in shape. They work out several nights each week and try to eat a well balanced, high protein diet. Regardless, they still carry around about 15 unwanted pounds that they just can’t shake. One day we were speaking about the whole diet and exercise thing and they asked me if I knew of any way to shed those last few pounds. Together, we dissected her current plan in hopes of finding a way to help and what I found was simple…and yet so many of us fall into the same trap. This friend was making two significant mistakes:

  1. They were eating way too many “hidden” calories…specifically; they were adding a huge table spoon of peanut butter to every “lean” protein shake they were drinking each day. Peanut Butter is a great high protein food, but it is also very rich in calories and eating a large amount each day can rapidly run up your overall calorie intake without you even realizing it.
  2. They were not effectively tracking what they were drinking each day. Bottom line, everything we put in our body has an effect and most have a calorie count. If you are tracking every calorie you take in from food but failing to monitor the calories and sugar content of what you’re drinking; you’re only fighting half the battle.

It was that last bullet point that I found the most interesting; after all, what we drink should be at least as important as what we eat, right? So I did a little research into what we should drink and what the benefits and side effects are of those liquids we put into our bodies every day. What I found was this: There is one single change you can make today that will significantly ramp up your health improving efforts and change the way you feel effective immediately…that change is water. Lots and lots of water.

Drink like a fish!

Ok, well fish don’t actually drink the way that we do…so that’s probably not a good analogy. And I certainly don’t mean to ramp up the booze intake. But, without a doubt, the best thing you can do for your body starting immediately is to start drinking water. There’s no substitute. Here are just 10 reasons to drink lots of water:

  1. It is 75% of your brain.
  2. It regulates body temperature.
  3. It keeps your skin tight and looking young.
  4. It protects your heart.
  5. It helps you burn fat. Did you know that if you drink ice cold water, your body has to expend energy to warm the water up to a usable temperature? In short, you are burning calories by drinking cold water.
  6. It prevent constipation…nobody wants that.
  7. It fights fatigue
  8. It transports oxygen to the cells.
  9. It flushes toxins out of the body.
  10. It controls and regulates calorie intake.

How much is enough? Well one super easy way to detemine the amount you need to be drinking each day is to take your body weight and divide it by two….that’s the number of ounces you should try to drink every day.

Is it really that simple?

Drinking water is easy. Throw some lemon or orange in it and your fine, even if you don’t like water. But, now it’s time for the tough love….what you choose NOT to drink is just as important as deciding to drink more water. For me, my poison for years was good old fashioned southern sweet tea. But, then I switched to Diet Cola thinking I was making the healthier choice. And coffee….dont forget the coffee.

So let’s talk tea. Tea itself is one of the healthiest beverages out there. But, there are some hidden dangers. On the good side, teas lessens stress, can help prevent heart disease and stroke, and even helps preserve memory. However, for some people it can increase the risk of painful kidney stones. That’s not cool. But the real danger lies in how I, and most of us in the south, choose to drink it - sugared up. Did you know that one Sweet Tea from McDonald’s has 280 calories and 69 total carbs? If you drink several a day…say just 3. That’s 840 calories and 207 carbs. It adds up quickly. So, just removing this one beverage, or at least the sugar, is an awesome way to kick start a diet and start moving towards a healthly lifestyle.

And then there’s Cola. Ugh. I love Cola, but the truth is it’s just like any other damaging relationship. It’s hard to get out of and there’s almost always a price to pay. So what does cola actually do to the body….firends, there’s a list of bad things. But, here are some of the top issues caused by drinking cola.

1.The Sugar! – A single can of soda contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar. This amount of sugar, especially in liquid form, skyrockets the blood sugar and causes an insulin reaction in the body. Over time, this can lead to diabetes or insulin resistance, not to mention weight gain and other health problems. Soft drink companies are the largest user of sugar in the country.

2.Phosphoric Acid -Soda contains phosphoric acid, which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium and can lead to osteoporosis, cavities and bone softening. Phosphoric Acid also interacts with stomach acid, slowing digestion and blocking nutrient absorption.

3.Artificial Sweeteners– In diet sodas, aspartame is used as a substitute for sugar, and can actually be more harmful. It has been linked to almost a hundred different health problems including seizures, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, diabetes, and emotional disorders. It converts to methanol at warm temperatures and methanol breaks down to formaldehyde and formic acid. Diet sodas also increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, which causes belly fat, high blood sugar and raised cholesterol.

4.Caffeine– Most sodas contain caffeine, which has been linked to certain cancers, breast lumps, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and other problems.

5.The Water– The water used in soda is just simple tap water and can contain chemicals like chlorine, fluoride and traces of heavy metals.

6.Obesity– Harvard researchers have recently positively linked soft drinks to obesity. The study found that 12 year olds who drank soda were more likely to be obese than those who didn’t, and for each serving of soda consumed daily, the risk of obesity increased 1.6 times.

7.Extra Fructose– Sodas contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, which obviously comes from corn. Most of this corn has been genetically modified, and there are no long term studies showing the safety of genetically modified crops, as genetic modification of crops has only been around since the 1990s. Also, the process of making High Fructose Corn Syrup involves traces of mercury, which causes a variety of long term health problems.

8.Lack of Nutrients– There is absolutely no nutritional value in soda whatsoever. Not only are there many harmful effects of soda, but there are not even any positive benefits to outweigh them.  Soda is an unnatural substance that harms the body.

9.Dehydration– Because of the high sugar, sodium and caffeine content in soda, it dehydrates the body and over a long period of time can cause chronic dehydration.

10.Bad for the teeth– Drinking soda regularly causes plaque to build up on the teeth and can lead to cavities and gum disease.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to stop drinking cola. I know; it’s tough…but also considers this: just one 12 oz. Coca Cola has 140 Calories and 39 Carbohydrates. Just one is enough to sideline any diet out there. So, take it from me (I cut the cola and survived…there should be T-shirts), the short high you get from drinking your favorite carbonated cola is simply not worth the affect it has on your body.

As with so many things in life, the correct path is set in front of us in clear view. But, taking that path can be tough. It has to start with making a decision. Not a suggestion; a decision. Just one decision. One decision quickly becomes two, then three, then four. Before you know it, you’ve formed a new habit and set yourself up with a positive behavior pattern. I knew you could do it! My suggestion is this…start at the grocery store; making that one decision to buy a 24 pack of water instead of that 12 pack of Coke can be the most impactful decision you make for your health today. After all, if it’s not in the house, it’s much harder to drink it. The same steps can be taken with potato chips, snack cakes, etc…but that’s another article. For now…do your research; the information is out there.

And drink your water.

Submitted: November 15, 2016

© Copyright 2021 Mac Childs. All rights reserved.

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Interesting article, once again written to be easy to read. I was lucky, I guess. I never liked soft drinks or sodas and for years wouldn't drink anything other than water. It's not so now but I still hate any sweet drinks!

Wed, November 16th, 2016 7:21pm

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