Living in Washington State, I’m always so grateful in the spring time when that sun starts to pop up and the weather starts to get warm again.
But the rising temps really got me thinking of how important it is to stay hydrated and how easy it is to forget to drink enough water.
Truthfully, with nearly all of my clients, drinking enough water is in the top 3 things they struggle with. But it’s one of the most important things for your overall health and for those working on weight loss, so it’s something we all really need to start working on!
Before we jump into things, let me ask you one question: If you had to guess, how many cups (or ounces) of water do you drink in a day?
How much water should you be drinking per day?
You are supposed to drink at least half your bodyweight (measured in pounds) in ounces of water each day.
That means that a person who weighs 200 pounds needs at least 100 ounces of water per day! For a better visual, 8 oz = 1 cup, so that’s 12 and half cups of water per day.
A study by the Mayo Clinic estimates the average American only drinks 32 ounces of water each day. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many 64 pound adults running around. Gosh, I hope not!
However, there are situations where you may need even more water:
- If you are exercising and sweating (you lose water as you sweat!)
- If you live in really hot temperatures
- If you are a pregnant mama
- If you are a breastfeeding mama
Kids need water, too, but their daily requirements are different. The daily amount of water a child needs depends upon factors such as age, gender, and weight. Read more here.
6 Reasons to Drink More Water
1. Water is essential for survival!
The average person could live without food for nearly a month, but we could only survive about one week without water—that’s how essential water is to human life. Sadly, dehydration can occur much more quickly in certain situations of chronic illness, extreme heat, etc.
Although the saying, “by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated” is NOT true, what is true is that when thirst hits, your body has lost more than one percent of its total water — yikes!
Let’s talk about dehydration for a minute...
What are some of the signs/symptoms of dehydration besides feeling thirsty?
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Fatigue, dizziness, headache
- Dark urine
- Decreased frequency of urination
2. It helps provide more energy.
In a 2012 Journal of Nutrition study, women found everyday tasks more difficult, had more trouble concentrating, and were more fatigued and irritable when they were mildly dehydrated.
Bottom line, if you need a mental pick-me-up, go for a glass of water before you grab a snack.
3. Good hydration can help reduce cavities and tooth decay.
Water helps produce saliva, which keeps your mouth and teeth clean.
4) Water can affect your mental, physical, and emotional health!
Numerous studies show attention, memory, and mood can be damaged, and physical distress such as headaches, constipation, and kidney problems can result when dehydration occurs.
In fact, studies have shown a simple glass of water can help boost brain function by 14%!
5. It can save your heart.
One study showed that both men and women who drank five or more glasses of water per day had about half the risk of dying of coronary heart disease.
6. It aids in weight loss — seriously!
Not only is it the lowest calorie beverage (HA!), but it also helps suppress the hunger hormone Ghrelin! Often, when we think we are hungry, we are, in fact, THIRSTY!
5 Easy Ways to Start Drinking More Water
1. Eat your water!
What?! This may sound silly, but fruits and vegetables are a great source of water and also make for a healthy alternative to other snacks like chips or candy!
Here are some examples of fruits and veggies with the high water content:
Cucumber, Lettuce, Celery, Radishes, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Cauliflower, Watermelon, Spinach, Strawberries, Broccoli, Grapefruit, Apricots, Cherries, Grapes, and Zucchini.
In fact, watermelon (one of my summer favorites) is 92% water per volume. Cucumber is the highest among fruits and veggies, and is 96% water!
2. Find a water bottle you LOVE.
Ideally one that holds 20+ ounces, so you don’t have to refill it as many times per day! I find that the easier to drink it is (i.e. if it has a straw) the more likely I’ll be to grab the bottle and have a quick sip.
3. Bring your water everywhere you go!
Keep it at your desk, bring it in the car — seriously, take it everywhere! If you always have your water bottle near you, you’ll drink more water without every trying!
4. Drink water first thing in the morning, and before meals.
In our newest program, 2B Mindset, the creator of the program has a saying “water first, veggies most,” this is something I can totally get behind!
Try drinking at least 16 ounces first thing in the morning to get your day going (yes, before your morning coffee and breakfast). Then, drink another 16oz again before every snack or meal. Drinking water before a meal helps with digestion!
5. Set alarms on your phone or use an app.
One app I find so fun is Plant Nanny! Every time you document your water consumed, it helps a plant grow. It even allows you to choose different plants!
Want to Spruce Up Your Water?
There are plenty of ways to go beyond plain, boring H2O. Here are a few of my favorite ways to drink water so that it isn’t boring! I found a bunch of these awesome tricks when pregnant.
- Try adding fruits, herbs, or even some vegetables to spice up your drink and add flavor without adding the sugar you find in fruit juices!
- You can freeze some lemon slices in ice cubes for an easy water upgrade.
- Try a little ginger or herbs to switch things up a bit.
- If you’re missing the fizz from your soda, try some sparkling water or club soda.
Try Sparkling Water
Water can get so BORING, I know. Seriously, sometimes you just don't want to drink more plain water, am I right? But it is important to drink up!
My favorite alternative is soda water, sparkling water… whatever you want to call it! This was my go-to when I was pregnant — I fell in love with them!
This picture is an example of one brand, La Croix, but there are many others out there (Kroger and Safeway carry their own brands that are cheaper, as does Trader Joe’s.)
Word of caution, though. You want to be sure ANY flavored waters you drink do not have:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Added sugar
Healthy sparkling water should have ZERO calories and be naturally flavored.
Healthy Flavored Water Recipes
Minty Cucumber Lime
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced
- 1/2 lime, sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
Strawberry-Lemon with Basil
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/2 lemon, sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup cubed watermelon
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
Pineapple-Orange with Ginger
- 1/2 cup cubed pineapple
- 1/2 orange, sliced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1-quart jars
- Wooden spoon
- Agave or another sweetener (optional)
- Choose a flavor combo from above, or come up with your own combination, and gather all of the ingredients.
- Place fruit, herbs, and/or spices in the bottom of a jar, and muddle with a wooden spoon. (That basically means to mash up the fruit to release some of the flavor-filled juices).
- Fill the jar with water, and give it a taste. (You can also fill the jar with seltzer water for a fizzy treat).
- Enjoy it as-is, or refrigerate overnight for maximum flavor!
I hope you found this helpful. Let me know what your favorite tip was, or one surprising fact you learned!