I've been on a "I need to drink more water" kick lately, and I've been struggling trying to drink as much water as I'm supposed to on a daily basis. For someone like me who doesn't drink a lot throughout the day period, forcing myself to not only drink a lot of anything, but specifically water, is no easy task. I'm the same person who typically eats meals without anything to drink at all (I know, I'm a weirdo).
Did you know that water is your body's primary chemical component and makes up about 50%-70% of your body weight? For those that need more convincing on how important water is, did you know that water helps our bodies get rid of waste, regulates our body temperature, lubricates our joints and protects sensitive tissues? I didn't either. I've learned that I typically operate in an ongoing state of dehydration. I have one of those fancy scales that measures all sorts of things in addition to your body weight, and apparently my water is rated "very low" at 40%. Clearly, I needed to do some homework on how much water I should be drinking each day, and figure out ways to trick myself into drinking it!
According the The Mayo Clinic, an average, healthy adult needs about 11 1/2 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day as a woman (15.5 cups or 3.7 liters a day for men)! And according to a study by Harvard Health, people who drink mostly water for their daily fluid consumption consume fewer calories and take in less fat, saturated fat, sugar, salt and cholesterol. So, it's easy to see all of the benefits of drinking more water throughout the day, but I was left with the big question of, "How on earth do I do it?!"
Here are some tricks I've incorporated into my every day routine to help me meet my water goals every day. Believe me, it hasn't been easy, but after a few weeks I'm already seeing huge benefits in how I feel, sleep, focus and even recover after workouts.
1. Invest in a water bottle that helps you track what you're drinking
There are so, so many good water bottles out there, and I've found this to be the most helpful thing I've done to help me drink more water. There are even smart water bottles that calculate how much water you are drinking. What has worked for me personally is purchasing a bottle with times on it so I know how much water I should be consuming at each point of the day. I'm a goal-oriented person and I love feeling like I'm accomplishing things throughout the day. Having a water bottle that challenges me to meet certain deadlines at various points through my work day has helped me ensure I'm meeting my water goals.
2. Start and end your day with a glass of water
This actually helps kickstart my day in the morning. I drink a glass of water with a little lemon in it before I do anything else. It helps to start my day off on the right foot, and gets me ahead on my water bottle which makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something right away. This is also a great way to get a couple of glasses of water in toward your daily goal if your day got away from you because you were so busy.
3. Balance coffee and water
This has been a genius trick for me. As an avid coffee drinker who at one point probably had a bit of a caffeine addiction, I love the idea of not having to give up my cup of coffee in the morning. Instead, I try to balance the coffee (or lattes) that I do drink by drinking a glass of water for each cup. This also works for wine or any alcohol for that matter. Add a glass of water after each drink to help keep you hydrated and feeling better.
4. Add ice
Did you know that adding as little as four ice cubes to your drinks adds approximately 1/2 a cup of water to them as well? This is a really easy way to incorporate more water into your regular, daily routines. Adding ice cubes to smoothies has worked well for me!
5. Drink from a straw
This is one I learned through some research, but apparently, we are more likely to swallow more at a time when we use a straw to drink. Additionally, using a straw makes our drinks more accessible and we're more likely to drink more than if we have to open a top each time we take a sip.
6. Drink after each bathroom break
Like so many other people right now, I'm working from home. I don't have kids and I'm home alone all day while working, so the only real reason I get up from my desk during my work day is to go to the restroom or take a walk at lunchtime. So I used this opportunity to drink a glass of water every time I get up to take a bathroom break. It's helped me incorporate more water into my day and in a way that doesn't feel overwhelming.
7. Eat your water
This is one I hadn't really thought of, but you can consume a lot of your daily water intake from the foods you eat. It's an easy way to sneak more water into your day without feeling like a chore. Fruits and vegetables with high water content help with this (think cucumbers, zucchinis, watermelon and grapefruit).