Kristen Coffield is an author, educator and culinary disruptor at www.theculinarycure.com where you can get her free e-book, 9 Steps To Change Your Life and get started today. Follow Kristen on Instagram @kristencoffield.

When I was in my 30’s I wasn’t particularly worried about what my life would be like in my 50’s and 60’s. I was busy raising a family, running a business, and being involved in my community. If life went as planned, our children would be launched, our parents would be healthy and active, and we would be enjoying the fruits of our labor. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and that’s probably a good thing. Life can get really complicated and messy. We all face challenges — disappointments, health scares, and all sorts of things we never imagined. Unlike the ubiquitous pregnancy book, What To Expect When You Are Expecting, there is no definitive guide to navigating midlife. We are just improvising as we go, pivoting as needed and doing our best.

But what if we reimagine midlife? What if we take the experiences and lessons learned on our journey and turn them into something new? Instead of winding down our lives predictably, we amp them up, explore our own potential and double down on achievements left undone — turning our middle years into a time of opportunity, accomplishment, and enrichment.

So, how we go from idea to action? Jumping into something new can be daunting and overwhelming. Obstacles, imagined and real, block our way.

Nagging self-doubt undermines our self-confidence. And, sometimes, the hardest part is just getting started; especially if we are unsure of the destination or how to get there.

Every journey begins with a single step. The next step is up to each of us. If we want our lives to be different than they are right now, we can choose to do things differently. We can decide that this is our time, snatch midlife from the jaws of mediocrity and write an exciting next chapter in our book.

My own story got complicated and confusing. It took a decade of sadness and disappointment to untether myself from things that no longer served me. I finally understood there were things over which I had no control and turned my energy and attention to the only thing I had the power to change…me. Understanding and accepting this became my starting point; a mind-shift that released me from unproductive patterns of behavior and self-limiting beliefs, freeing up valuable bandwidth for new, exciting opportunities.

In a personal world that felt overwhelming, I needed to simplify, prioritize, and feel good again. So, I started with the one thing I could control each day that would have the biggest impact physically, emotionally and mentally
— what was on the end of my fork. I took the simple, daily act of eating and turned it into my superpower.

Food in its purest form is fuel, which I needed to power-up my dreams. Eating with intention was energizing, which led to the gym. Exercise triggered feel-good endorphins, improving my energy, sleep, and mood. Looking and feeling good felt like the best version of “me” boosting my self-confidence. And one day I looked ahead, and the future was filled with infinite possibilities. One bite at a time I created a life of passion and purpose, and so can you. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. Arthur Ashe.

The little things we do every day add up over time and impact our lives. What we eat and drink, the people with whom we spend time, our thoughts, exercise, how we manage stress, and the quality of our sleep are all things within our control that profoundly shape our lives. Reimagining midlife starts with being good stewards of our health. Abundant energy, resilient minds, consistent wellness, and strong bodies are tools we can use to create lives we love.

One simple step, done repeatedly, is the foundation for change. Take the necessary act of hydrating. We can begin to improve our overall wellness with something as basic as water. Water is an essential element we need to survive and thrive. Our bodies do not produce water, so we hydrate by drinking liquids and eating water-dense fruits and vegetables.

Do not underestimate the power of proper hydration. Increased energy, clarity of thought, improved metabolic functioning, better sleep, and best of all, healthy weight maintenance, are a few of the many benefits of hydration. Water can be the starting point for creating our best lives.

By mastering one simple habitual behavior we open the door to creating a midlife of our own design.

Simple, easy, and inexpensive, the daily habit of staying hydrated can change everything.

Here are 6 tips to get started.

1. Begin the day with 8-10oz of warm lemon water. During sleep, the body is fasting, and the best way to end the fast is by rehydrating with water. Adding the juice of 1/2 a lemon adds some vitamin C and helps to raise the alkalinity level in our body.
2. Measure your water. An adequately hydrated body needs between 70 and 130 ounces of water a day. Most of us don’t drink that much. Keep a glass jar or water bottle handy with the ounces marked on it to stay on track. Try drinking 8-10oz and hour for 10-12 hours a day. Warm lemon water is the first water of the day.
3. Sip It! Reap all the benefits of hydration by sipping water throughout the day — feeling thirsty can mean you are partially dehydrated!.
4. Don’t drink with meals! Be well hydrated before eating for two reasons: 1 — Dehydration can lead to overeating; and 2 –the digestive process begins in the mouth with chewing, saliva production, and the breaking down of food. Washing down food with liquids interferes with the digestive process, making it harder to absorb nutrients from our food, and creating heartburn and acid reflux.
5. Don’t be a thirsty drinker! Be well hydrated before consuming caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol are dehydrating. Have an extra glass of water for every alcoholic or caffeinated beverage you enjoy.
6. Eat your water!

Eating more nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables as a great way to load up on fiber, enzymes, vitamins, and water. Plant-based foods are the perfect hydration vehicle, providing both water and micronutrients — a double benefit.

When we feel good, we have the confidence and energy to explore other areas of our lives. Start small and dream big. Every journey begins with a first step, or, in this case, a sip!

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