Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Getting Back on the Health Wagon: Five Ways to Drink More Water

Water{via pinterest}

In January, I made a focused effort to get back on the health wagon, and as part of that effort, I really wanted to drink more water.  I have had a terrible lifelong habit of going days without drinking water.  No joke.  Days.  I would alternate between coffee, coke, juice, and maybe in the morning, a glass of milk.  But water, nope, nada.  Once it became a joke among my friends that I literally never drank water, I flirted with the concept, drinking one or two glasses a day.  (Hardly impressive, I realize.)  But in January, I realized that water is a miracle worker.  When you ask a doctor how to be healthier, they tell you to drink water.  If you ask your trainer to lose weight faster, they tell you to drink water.  If you ask your dermatologist how to improve your skin, or if you ask your dentist how to improve your teeth, the answer will still be water.  So after 27 years of leaving every fiber of my body dehydrated, I decided to get my stuff together and start drinking enough water.  But creating new, healthy habits is easier said than done.  So if you're one of the millions of people out there (like me) who have trouble getting the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, here's how I've been able to fully embrace the habit.

Have water with you.  Earthshattering, I know.  But if you want to drink water, you've got to actually have it with you at all times.  At work, in the car, next to the couch while you're watching tv.  I've taken this a step further by always having water visible.  Seeing my giant water bottle on my desk reminds me to take a drink.  Seeing it in the passenger seat reminds me to take a gulp while running errands.  Don't let your thirst be your cue to get some water, let seeing your water bottle be the cue to drink up.

Measure your bottle.  Find a water bottle that works for you, know how many ounces the bottle holds, and aim to drink the bottle as many times necessary to hit 64 ounces.  For example, my water bottle holds 33 ounces, so I know to drink one bottle in the morning and one bottle at night.  If it's 1:00 and I haven't made it through a full bottle, I know I need to get drinking.

Embrace the gulp.  You know those cute, perky women who seem to just sip water all day long from their pretty little water cup?  Well that's not me.  I don't sip water.  I tend to realize about once every hour that I haven't had a drink in a while.  (I typically realize this when I see my water bottle sitting on my desk: see point #1).  So I grab my bottle and take several long gulps.  It's not the least bit graceful, but it gets the job done.  If the sip doesn't work for you, just embrace the gulp.  This has helped my water intake tremendously.

Drop in a piece of fruit.  Once in a while, I want a little oomph in my water, and rather than reach for a sugary substitute, I just plop in a piece of fruit.  Whatever I have laying around the house works.  I keep bags of frozen fruit in my freezer for smoothies, so typically I'll pop open one of these bags, and drop in whatever my fingers find first.  Frozen strawberries, peaches, blueberries, pineapple, raspberries...literally, any fruit will work.  This helps break things up and add a little pizzazz to my water gulping.

Drink before you eat.  Water is one of the best ways to feel full, so before every meal and snack, I take several gulps of water.  It helps cleanse my mind a bit before eating, and of course, it has lots of health benefits.  So before you chow down on your veggie wrap or sandwich, have several gulps of water.  This is especially important if you're dining out, as portion sizes these days are huge.  Don't let your brain fool you into think it's starving when in reality, you're moderately hungry + really thirsty.

So there you have it, five ways to increase your daily water intake.  Surprisingly, since January, I've stayed on the bandwagon with this goal.  (Working out not so much, but that's another story.)  For those of yall who are regular water drinkers and read and this said, "Umm, duh Allison," excuse my ignorance and keep on rocking on with your water drinking.  But for those of you who are like me, I promise, these simple tips work!  And for an added bonus, I've found that the more water I drink, the less of the sugary stuff I crave.  Score!

Since January, I have noticed major differences, just from upping my water intake.  My skin is better, I have more energy, I feel fuller throughout the day, I have less headaches, and my overall mood is better.  So I guess all those people are right, water really is the miracle drug! :)

*I am not a medical doctor, so with anything health related, consult your physician before making major life changes.


suburban prep said...

Drinking a good amount of water also helps to ward off kidney stones too if you are prone to them. I will add a few drops of lemon to my water. But when lemon is added it is a natural diuretic.
It does make you full.

Kelly said...

DAYS WITHOUT WATER?!? Allison!! Just reading that line made me reach for my water bottle (which is also always in sight). I <3 me some water! Preferably with lime.

Dave and Jenny McIntosh said...

I have the exact same problem. I just forget to drink anything. I am a camel. Perhaps I try to focus on drinking more of the good stuff. (As I just took a big gulp of water)