Thursday, January 2, 2014

How to Drink More Water

The best and simplest thing you can resolve to do to improve your health in 2014 is to drink more water.

How much water?
If you don't drink much water now, start by drinking at least 6 cups a day, then increase your water intake from there. Men usually need 3 liters of water a day (13 cups), while women need about 2.2 liters (9 cups) each day.

Some people may need more or less water depending on their diet (people who eat lots of leafy greens and fruit may need less), the type and amount of exercise they do, certain medications, and their bio-individuality. Heat, consuming alcohol and/or sugary treats, illness, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and being at a high altitude can all require you to drink more water than you usually need.

Not thirsty?
Many of us get used to being chronically dehydrated so we don't notice that we need more water. If you don't drink enough water, you may not feel thirsty but you may: feel cranky, feel tired or fatigued, feel dizzy, crave sugary treats, get headaches, have dry skin or hair, or just not feel as amazing as you know you should by birthright!

If increasing your water intake makes you pee much more than usual, don't assume this means you're drinking too much water. It's normal to have to pee a lot when you first start hydrating your body. It won't always be this way. Eventually, your body will find balance and you won't have to go to the bathroom as often. 

Here's how I fit water into my day:
I powerchug two pints of water when I wake up, burp a lot, then finish a third pint at some point before breakfast. I begin drinking another pint or a 27 oz water bottle about 2 hours after breakfast. I don't chug that one, just sip on it throughout the day. I chug another pint when I start prepping dinner. That's at least 10 cups of water right there!

Would these handmade glasses by Woodeye Studio on Etsy inspire you to drink more water?

Tips for drinking more water:
  • Invest in two beautiful or cool pint glasses. It's so much easier to drink lots of water when you don't have to get up to refill it. Also, who doesn't love drinking from their favorite glass?
  • Invest in a water bottle so you can have water when you're way from home. I usually don't leave home with a Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottle. I don't fill it so my bag won't be heavy. I'm fine with drinking tap water for the benefit of a lighter bag. If you're not down with tap water, invest in a good water filter and carry a larger filled bottle with you.
  • Drink at least 2 pints of water when you wake up. It's a great way to start the day with a hydrated edge. You will certainly need it since you haven't had anything to drink for at least 7 hours.
  • Add cucumber or lemon slices to make it taste better. 
  • Some people find it hard to drink cold water, others abhor warm water. Experiment to see what temperature water you like best. I noticed cold water gives me cramps. Warm water is gentlest on an empty tummy so mornings I heat up a little water in a kettle and add it to water from the tap until I get the most comfortable temperature.
  • Pick times of the day to drink water that work best for your lifestyle and so that you'll remember. Decide to always drink water when you arrive and leave home. Drink water when you arrive and leave the office. Before leaving the gym, powerchug a pint or two. Set an alarm if you have to. Try out a variety of prompts and stick with whatever works.
  • Enjoy more water-rich snacks like cucumbers and celery.
  • Choose water, seltzer, sparking water, club soda, or mineral water instead of juice, soda, or other drinks when out at bars or restaurants. (Tonic water contains sugar so it's not on the list of recommended drinks.)

Do you think you drink enough water? How do you fit water into your day?

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  1. Thanks for this post - drinking more water is one of the things I need to resolve to do this year!

  2. oh yay! i wish you much success! glad this can help.

  3. Great tips Olivia! In my water experiments I have discovered that I am more hydrated when I "enhance" my water vs drinking plain water, so I always add fruit or drink green smoothies. I also discovered that I go through periods where I prefer room temperature water or cold water. Mostly though, I drink water at room temperature.

  4. I usually take the strategy of telling myself I have to drink a small cup of water every time I walk into the kitchen (which is central in our house, I'm there a lot!) And also the strategy of doing my best to choose to drink only water over other drinks--though I do like fruit juice probably too much!

  5. enhanced water sounds delicious and fun! i usually use nut milks in my smoothies. i'll have to see some of my favs are like with water. thanks Melissa.

  6. I love your kitchen strategy Rachel. I think that's pretty do-able for most people. thanks for sharing!



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