Why is it always hard to drink enough water? I could have my darned water bottle right in front of me…and I just don’t drink. I know I should drink more, but I don’t! But, since our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water—and the brain is made up of 70 percent water—we have to drink enough to stay healthy. In fact, every cell and tissue in the body needs water to function properly. I know that when I don’t drink enough water, my skin looks more sallow (because water helps keep the skin plump) and I get headaches.
Drinking enough water aids in weight loss, too. Researchers in Germany found that getting your daily intake may speed up the rate at which your body burns calories. Also, many times when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty. So set those snacks aside—and drink some water instead!
How much do you need? At least 8, 8-ounce glasses a day. But, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you need more. (Drink to thirst is what’s usually recommended for nursing moms.) To get yourself to drink more, here are my tips:
1. Buy yourself a water bottle you love. I have a 25-ounce insulated one, so I can keep my drink cool at all times. Having a water bottle that works for you will ensure that you’ll use it! And it makes drinking more water easier than if you use a glass that you have to keep refilling. (Each of my kids has a water bottle, too, as I’m trying to instill this healthy habit early on!)
2. Take your water bottle with you everywhere. This takes some getting used to, but once you get into the habit you’ll remember to bring your bottle with you wherever you go. I bring mine with me when I’m at the gym, in the car, or sitting at my desk—and I keep it next to my bed at night. (Wash out every day, though, so it stays clean!) This ups your chances of drinking more.
3. Find a favorite tea you love—and drink that. I brew a big pot of herbal tea and let it cool overnight. Then I fill up my water bottle in the morning (and throughout the day as necessary). You can also drink unsweetened iced green tea, which is super healthy for you as it’s rich in disease-fighting antioxidants. (Some studies have also shown that green tea can slightly boost your metabolism—the rate at which you burn calories—so that might be even another reason to drink more!)
4. Keep a pitcher of water in your fridge. Put orange or lemon slices in it for natural (and low-calorie) flavor. Or do as the spas do and add cucumber slices. I have a clear pitcher so when I open the fridge, I see the fruit slices which makes it a bit more appealing!
5. Swap out your soda for unsweetened tea (or water!). I won’t mince words about soda: this stuff (diet or not) is horrible for you. It’s not allowed in our house (and my kids have never been allowed even a taste at a restaurant; it’s okay…you can call me a soda tyrant!). Make it a point to swap out just one of the sodas you typically drink each day with something water based (unsweetened ice tea, water with a splash—or two—of juice, fruit-infused water, whatever)…you’ll be on your way to a healthier you.
Keep in mind that eating fruits and vegetables (like watermelon, tomatoes, and lettuce) also counts toward your water intake—but I treat these as bonus “points” toward your water goal for the day. Don’t skip water because you’re eating fruit. Do both—and you’ll be better off.
© Valerie Latona LLC 2012