If you’re trying to take care of your body and make healthier choices the first thing you might do is take a closer look at what you’re eating. But, have you thought about what you’re drinking? Or, maybe not drinking?
Water should be everyone’s beverage of choice. You see our bodies are around 60% water and every organ, tissue, muscle, and cell needs water to operate properly. We need water to help regulate our body temperature, aid in digestion, and clear toxins.
The good news is that Americans are drinking more bottled water than any other packaged beverage. Back in 2010, soda was the number one consumed beverage in the US! The bad news…. we’re using loads of plastic! And, the average American is still drinking 45 gallons of soda per year.
So, we’re doing well but we can still do better.
When I talk about water one of the first questions or comments I get is… “Well, don’t coffee, soda, and alcohol all contain water?” Sure, they do! But, they don’t count towards keeping you hydrated and your body functioning at its best.
Consider the contents of those drinks. If you’re putting artificial sweeteners or a creamer in your coffee you’re putting all kinds of unrecognizable ingredients and chemicals in your cup. Alcoholic beverages and mixed drinks are very high in sugar and calories - sometimes containing as many calories as a meal! The body perceives caffeine and alcohol as a toxin so when we drink them our kidneys upregulate to flush them out as quickly as possible, leading to dehydration.
Now, I’m not saying you have to give up your morning coffee or occasional glass of wine. I’m just encouraging you to reassess how much and how often you’re having them and to take a close look at what other ingredients might be lurking in those drinks.
Regardless, we all need to pay closer attention to our water intake. Here are three ways I have found to easily drink more water and stay hydrated.
#1 - START WITH WATER
I can pretty much guess where most of you go within 5 minutes of waking up. Probably the coffee pot! I am also a passionate coffee drinker so I’m definitely not anti-coffee. However, I do try and drink a glass of water BEFORE enjoying my morning coffee. After 6+ hours of sleeping and not having anything to drink we wake up dehydrated. And, as I just mentioned, coffee does not exactly hydrate us well. Plus, starting a day with a glass of water usually helps us drink more water throughout the day. If we start with coffee, chances are we’ll drink more coffee.
#2 - DRINK WITH A STRAW
Believe it or not there is something about the action of opening a container or tilting our heads back to take a sip that stops us from drinking. A straw can help you overcome that barrier. Just think about how easily and quickly a soda goes down with a straw versus drinking it from a can or a glass. Am I right? My favorite straws are these made out of silicone and I especially like the wide ones that are often used for smoothies. You can find them easily online. If you have kids, drinking through a straw really helps them too. I’ve cut a few of these straws with scissors so they are shorter and easier for my daughter to use.
#3 - MEASURE IT AND GET A VISUAL
I often get asked about how much water I recommend people drink. Because we’re all different and have different needs I like to use a calculation to customize how much water each of us drinks. Take your weight and divide by 2. That’s how many ounces of water you should drink per day. Depending on how much water you drink already these might seem like a lot. If it does, just work your way up to that amount over a week or two. Once you know how much you should be drinking you want to get a visual. If you have a water bottle you already use find out how much it holds and how many times you need to fill it each day to you reach your ideal amount. I’ve had clients bring a water pitcher, fill it up at the beginning of the day and continually fill their bottle or cup. Seeing exactly how much you should be drinking can help prevent you from not getting enough.
There you are! Three ways to drink to your health by drinking more water.