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Magic numbers that keep you healthy

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

You certainly know about keeping an eye on your general health numbers such as cholesterol or blood pressure.

But here are some new numbers that can actually protect your health every single day.

These all involve a little counting. But you don't need to worry about your math skills because all of them are simple and easy to remember.

1. Four glasses -- the minimum amount of water to drink each day.

You know you're supposed to drink lots of water. Maybe you even force yourself to drink a ton because you are hoping it will help you lose weight. You've also heard that drinking a lot of water will keep your skin moist and give you great energy as well as a host of other health benefits.

What's interesting is there are no scientific studies to support drinking lots of water, especially more than the general guidelines of six to eight glasses a day. In fact, no one knows where that number came from. In many countries, fresh water is not readily available and yet, the residents of those areas seem to get by just fine.

Realize that water isn't magic and it doesn't cause you to lose weight. What it can do is help your body flush out the by products of fat metabolism which might also help you feel less sluggish and tired.

It might also make you feel full or satiated so that you aren't tempted to eat as much at a meal. And of course, it also keeps your body running efficiently which prevents constipation or other annoyances. All of these things might temporarily affect your scale numbers, but over time, pushing yourself to drink tons of water doesn't result in any more weight loss than drinking smaller amounts.

If you feel guilty about your water intake or you struggle to drink a lot of water, let go of your rules and follow some common sense. Let thirst be a guide on how much water to drink each day.

During hot weather or when you are doing lots of exercise, you probably need more water. But the rest of the time, simply aim for a minimum of four glasses a day. Feel free to drink six to eight glasses, but don't chastise yourself for harming your weight loss if you drink less than that.

2. Twelve -- the number of swallows in an eight-ounce glass of water.

If you struggle to drink your water, here's a simple trick. As you guzzle, count the number of swallows. For most people, it takes about twelve swallows to finish an eight-ounce glass of water. So count away, and use this tool to make it easier to drink an adequate amount.

3. The last step -- The one where it's easiest to trip and fall.

Whenever you go up or down a flight of stairs, count each of the steps as you go. Especially notice the final stair step.

One of the most common causes of people falling is missing a step, especially the last one. Counting each step forces you to keep an eye on where you are and protect yourself from tripping on the last step.

4. Two bites - the ones with the most flavor

Especially when you are eating sweets or desserts, simply remember that the first two bites of any food have the most flavor. After those bites, you are just "feeding."

If you are needing nutrition, keep on eating. But if you are simply enjoying the flavor, practice the skill of stopping after the first two bites. You'll have gotten pretty much the most flavor at this point, so eating more isn't necessary.

If you love the food, you might choose to keep eating as a special treat. But in most cases, remind yourself that after the first two bites, you're done. Stop eating, take a walk, brush your teeth, and leave the rest of the food behind.

5. Ten hugs -- give these away

You don't have to do this every day, but during times when you need an emotional boost, look for hug opportunities. They're all around you. Hug your spouse or partner, your pets, your children or other family members, and your friends. Then hug them all again.

Count the number of hugs you give and strive for at least ten, maybe more. If you are kind of isolated and don't have many people around, hug a teddy bear of stuffed animal. The simple action of giving hugs will reconnect you to your inner spirit and give you joy.

Here's a summary of today's numbers:

1. Four glasses of water
2. Twelve swallows
3. The last step
4. Two bites
5. Ten hugs

Use these easy-to-remember numbers to keep yourself healthy and strong, every single day.
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