OK, so let's start here. Did you know that approximately 75 percent of Americans suffer from dehydration? And, while you might think that this article is running during the summertime because that is when we tend to be outside and perspiring the most, the reality is this could actually be published any time of the year. Why? Because there is no time on the calendar when our bodies don't need a good amount of fluids running through it—you know, being that we're made up of around 65 percent water ourselves.
But the reason why we decided to post this in the heat of July is because, when your body has the right amount of fluids running through it, not only can that help to keep you nice and cool, it can also keep your muscle and joints working at their optimal levels (you know, like while you're swimming or taking long walks along the beach 'n stuff). Plus, spending a lot of time out in the sun can definitely put you on the road to being dehydrated—quick, fast and in a hurry. If you're wondering if you already are dehydrated, but you're not sure what signs to look for to confirm it, here are 10 that tend to get overlooked, far more than they ever should.
If you've ever heard the saying, "If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated", there is actually a significant amount of truth to that. When there is a lack of fluid in our system (or too much sodium in our body), the amount of water volume that we need in order for our body to work correctly drops which makes us want to drink more. You can stay on top of this by drinking 2-3 cups of water per hour (that you're awake, of course). If you do that, you should avoid feeling thirsty or parched. And, when it comes to your body "flowing" smoothly, that's a good thing.
Word on the street is, when you're at the point of dehydration, you've already lost somewhere between 2-3 percent of your own body fluid. If that happens, it makes total sense that you would start to feel tired, drained, lethargic—fatigued. When there isn't enough fluid in your system, your blood volume drops and that keeps your brain from getting all of the blood (and oxygen) that it needs. Plus, dehydration makes your heart pump faster than it needs to as well. So yeah, if you want an energy pick-me-up, drinking more fluids is a surefire way to go.
3. A “Pop Off” Spirit
If you feel like you're about to snap on somebody, drink something first. A couple of glasses of water, if you can. While it might sound crazy on the surface, another bona fide indication of dehydration is you're in a bad mood. How do the two dots connect?
When your fluid levels are low, the neurons in your brain are able to easily detect that. As a result, they will signal to other parts of your brain what's up, including the area that regulates your moods. Hmph. Considering 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, it makes you wonder how many are irritable, short-tempered, and just plain mean, simply because they don't have as much fluid in their body as they should, huh?
4. Blurred Vision
Have you ever had moments when, while scrolling through your Instagram or trying to watch television, your eyes suddenly became blurry? Before you freak out, drink more. Our eyes need fluids in order to remain moist and comfortable. This means that when we are dehydrated and our body fluid levels drop, that can result in dry and irritated eyes. This is just one more reason why drinking more water is such a good idea.
5. Sugar Cravings
If you want to get a grasp of just how serious sugar addiction in this country is, check out Healthline's "America's Deadly Sugar Addiction Has Reached Epidemic Levels". But if you're typically not someone who is big on sugar and yet, you find yourself having moments when you can't seem to get enough of it, this could be another sign that you're dehydrated. Something that our organs need is a healthy amount of glucose. Well, when we don't have enough liquid in our body, that can make it difficult for organs like our liver to release glucose and provide our bodies with an energy boost. As a result, we might think that we need a sugar rush when really, all we need is to drink more. How crazy is that?
6. Unexplainable Breakouts
Whenever I get pimples that have nothing to do with my period, it's usually a heads-up for me that I need to drink more water. Something else that drinking more does is flush toxins out of our system and help to keep sebum from clogging up our pores. A lot of us are out here thinking that if we put everything under the sun on top of our zits that they'll go away. But the reality is if we drank more good ole' H20, we probably wouldn't have so many pimples to deal with in the first place.
7. Bad Breath
There is someone I went to high school with who had the worst breath ever. Well, she and a guy I went to college with actually ran neck and neck with this particular "award". In hindsight, something that I realize they had in common is I rarely, if ever, saw them drinking water. It was juice, soda—anything but. Here's the thing about that—when we don't get enough fluid into our system, that keeps us from producing the amount of saliva that we need in order to flush out oral bacteria.
When bacteria lingers, not only does that create a breeding ground for tooth decay, but it can make our breath smell pretty damn tart as well. Just one more reason to drink more; more specifically, drink more water. For your sake and the sake of those around you.
Quiet as it's kept, one of the leading causes of constipation is dehydration. We eat our food, it goes into our colon and, if we don't have enough fluids in our body, our colon takes in the water from the food waste, making it harder for the waste to pass through us. Constipation can ultimately lead to everything from hemorrhoids (from straining to have a bowel movement) and stomach aches to a lack of appetite and bad breakouts. All of it sucks. Avoid this by getting at least 6-8 glasses of water in on a daily basis.
9. Muscle Cramps
Do you ever get random Charley horses in your leg? Aren't they the absolute worst, especially if they happen in the middle of the night? That used to happen to me until I got more water into my system. What I discovered is, that whenever I'm dehydrated, the lack of water (and sodium) that my muscles need can result in them tightening up in a way that oftentimes feels just like cramps. This is really important to keep in mind, especially if you work out (and sweat) a lot or you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors where you'll lose a fair amount of body fluid.
10. Dry Skin
As we age, something that we definitely need to do is get more fluids into our system. When we don't, our skin starts to lose elasticity that can lead to sagginess and wrinkles. Not to mention the fact that if our skin's pores don't get enough fluid, the natural sebum that we produce can decrease, resulting in our skin becoming mad parched and looking super dry. So, if you want your skin to be soft, supple and moist, you already know what I'm gonna say, right? Water will help to prevent your skin from looking and feeling parched which can keep you looking younger than ever for a longer than expected. Drink up, sis.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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If you haven’t scrolled upon Olivia McDowell's TikTok famous dinner parties, you may need to reconfigure your "For You Page."
What began as a passion for hosting aesthetically themed meals for her closest friends has quickly become a viral sensation. With an astonishing 12 million viewers, women describe Olivia’s picturesque dinner parties as the “dream girls' night,” complete with classy cocktails, beautiful table settings, elegant outfits, and, most importantly, food plated to perfection.
Seemingly reigniting the feminine urge to host fancy dinner parties, Olivia has perfected the finer details. Overlooking the skyline in her beautiful NYC apartment, she never fails to make her signature handmade pasta dishes while simultaneously looking effortlessly chic in the wardrobe of dreams while doing so.
Replying to @nara0630 what should the theme of my next dinner party be? #minivlog #nycliving #dinnerpartyideas #caviarinnewyork
What I love most about hosting intimate dinners for close friends are the connections and relationships that form over food. They don't require a caviar budget with a high-rise apartment, it just takes determination and a little creativity. Watching Olivia’s journey inspires viewers to be a part of a community of positive and uplifting women who share common interests and tastes in food, fashion, and decor. Simply stated, she’s raising the bar of friendship goals.
If you’re aspiring to host a holiday-themed dinner party this season, check out the four tips that will guide you along the way.
Choose Your Theme
Replying to @emz.life.tsv what was your fav part? 🤍 hope this gives you some inspiration to host a fancy friendsgiving too! #hostingtip #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Set the ambiance with a thoughtful theme, which will indeed be your guiding light for less stress during the planning process. Establishing a theme sets the tone for everything else to fall in place, such as menus, table design, and presentation. For example, a holiday-inspired dinner party is a perfect occasion for elegant all-white decor paired with draped table cloths, pillar candles lit atop luxe holders, floating floral arrangements, and, for a personal touch, handwritten place settings.
Utilizing free resources such as Canva for menu templates and creating a “Dinner Party” moodboard via Pinterest is perfect for gathering dinner inspiration for themes, decor, and recipes for the special occasion.
Simplify the Menu
How to host your own pasta making dinner party — part 1: pasta making from scratch 🤍 Hosting dinner parties has become my favorite thing to do this year. More goes into it than you expect, the prep, planning, guestlist, tablescape, etc. but it’s always worth it in the end. What do you guys want to see next? #hostingtips #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Don’t overcomplicate the menu. A simple dinner party formula to use as your guide to making sure your guests leave full of food and joy is appetizers, salads, entrees, sides, desserts, and beverages. As a starter, assemble an aesthetic spread that your guest can nibble on while awaiting the main course with starters such as bread, cheese, jam, nuts, and fruit. A simple salad will do, complete with a light dressing right before your entree. For a main dish, pasta recipes always go a long way and also allows your guests to interact with one another, which leads to McDowell's third dinner party hosting tip.
Include an Interactive Element
Replying to @itstai.tv 🖤 #girlhood
To break the ice and encourage guests to get to know one another, introduce interactive elements to the evening. Moments of interaction allow everyone to connect, like capturing content for social media or memorializing the essence of the night through fun Polaroids. Olivia also encourages her guests to participate in the pasta-making dinner process as a group, or if hosting a brunch, her friends indulge in building their own coffee bar as an opportunity for forming connections and conversation starters. Group board or card games are also great for laughs and healthy competition to help get the vibes flowing.
Don’t Forget the Dress code
Replying to @samantha_mendiz when all of your friends are the main character 🖤🥂 #dinnerparty #nycfashion
Tis’ the season for glamour and sparkles, so why not go all out with a super chic dress code? You can’t have a picture-perfect holiday dinner party without the coordinating attire to match. When planning, make sure to make the required attire specific yet broad enough for a range of personalities and preferences to comfortably partake while looking stunning doing so.
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