Are you dehydrated right now? Let’s do a simple nonscientific test to see. Pinch the skin on the back of your hand. Does your skin spring back into shape, like a gymnast sticking a landing? Or does it take its sweet time spreading out and settling back into place? If you answered the latter, it’s time to drink more water.
On “average” we need about 12 cups worth of water each day just to stay hydrated. Luckily about 4 cups comes from our food. So we still need to drink the remaining 7 cups. However, everyone has different hydration needs based on weight, exercise intensity, kidney function, climate, and other stuff. For example - If you live in the Arizona desert, you’ll want to add a few more glasses of water each day.
You’ve heard countless times the importance of hydration. That’s because it’s true! If you want to lose weight, you need to drink more water. If you exercise, you need to drink more water. If you want healthy skin, you need to drink more water.
Water comprises 70% of your body (and your brain is 90% water!). Your blood and every cell in your body are made almost entirely from water. Your ability to be alert, have properly functioning organs, and get the most from your workouts relates directly to how hydrated you are.
Not getting enough water (dehydration) is linked to a long list of chronic health issues; diabetes, arthritis, asthma, back pain, cataracts, chronic fatigue, depression, heartburn, high blood pressure, kidney stones – just to name a few.
So how much water do YOU need?
Knowing is half the battle, right? I recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces (of water) every day. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, divide that by 2. Your magic number would be 80. Now let’s go!
1) How many ounces do YOU need daily? _____________________
2) Next measure how many ounces your glass, bottle or jug holds and figure out many times you’ll need to refill it during the day.
3) Now you have your GOAL, and printable water tracker calendar below - let’s go!
Tips to help you reach your daily goal.
Yes, I get it, drinking enough water can be a daunting task. So here are some tips to help. And in the spirit of this article, go ahead and pour yourself a glass of water right now to sip as you read this. (Go ahead, I’ll wait.)
Start by having a glass next to your bed, and drink it upon waking every morning. You haven’t had any fluids for eight hours, so this could be the most dehydrated you will be.
Designate a beautiful glass, pitcher or reusable water bottles that you’ll enjoy using frequently. Or even use a marked (oz/cups) water bottle or jug during the day, so you can see your progress to help keep you motivated.
Buy several reusable water bottles that you can stash in your car, at work, in your gym bag, so you’re never far away from this precious liquid. There are even water bottles that come with filters, so there’s no excuse not to drink more water even while you’re out!
Anytime you drain your glass or bottle, fill it back up. Don’t let it sit on your desk, counter or in your car empty.
Start a habit by drinking a glass after every bathroom break.
Drink before you eat. Drinking water before you eat will help you feel more satiated, and you will eat less. Studies suggests that drinking two glasses of water before (not during) each meal can significantly increase weight loss. Not only that, but the water drinkers in the study continued to lose weight and keep it off.
Drink before you snack. If you feel a snack attack coming on, drink a glass of water. The body often misreads dehydration pangs as hunger. If you are still hungry 10-15 minutes later, then go ahead and reach for that healthy snack.
Replace. How many ounces of coffee, soda, juice are you consuming daily? Come on, be honest. If you regularly drink a venti latte and an orange soda, swap them for water. That’s 32 ounces right there, not to mention the hundreds of calories eliminating those drinks will save you.
For those of you that don’t like water, It’s too boring…
Mix it up - Not all of your H2O has to be room temperature or loaded with ice. Enjoy warm water with lemon or brew a cup of herbal tea (hot or add ice & a sweetener). Whether you like citrus, floral, spicy, or even chocolate-y, there's a tea out there for you.
Make flavored water with fruits & herbs, it boosts flavor and enhances digestion with the right additions. Fill a jug with water and slices of: lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, cucumber, ginger or mint leaves.
If you don't have the time to make these, invest in a superfoods powder and simply add it to your water for flavor and added vitamins and nutrients your body needs.
Make it bubbly - If you’re a soda drinker and crave a fizzy refreshment, consider sparkling mineral water flavored with fruit, or invest in a carbonation maker to have a constant supply of bubbly water at your fingertips.
Try flavored drink packets (much healthier than soda). I like “True lemon” (brand name) – no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, non-gmo, only 10 calories and 1 gram of sugar.
If you're drinking something extra sweet like juice, lemonade, or iced tea, dilute it with extra ice cubes or water. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to cut calories while you drink more water. Make the transition to H2O by filling your glass halfway with juice and filling the rest with flat or sparkling water. Once you get used to this, try using only 1/4 juice.
Add water rich foods to your diet (grocery list). Some top picks include cucumber (96% water), zucchini (95% water), watermelon (92% water), grapefruit (91% water) all melons, cucumbers and celery.
When in doubt, DRINK. Many common complaints, including headache and constipation, can be alleviated by downing a tall glass of water.
Lastly, REWARD yourself! It helps you to keep hitting that goal! Make a rule that if you hit your goal every day for a week, you buy yourself that fancy cute water bottle or treat yourself to your favorite over the top coffee beverage from Starbucks. Maybe after you've hit all your water goals for a month or two, you reward yourself with something even more significant. Sure, hydration and the health benefits of water are their own reward, but we could all use something extra special to motivate us!
And remember, just some more of the things we need water for: Transporting nutrients to cells throughout the body, regulating body temperature, flushing wastes out of the body, lubricating joints, digesting food and so much more.
So, let’s get to drinking!
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