After reading part one of this water blog series, you should now understand why water is so much more important to us than other beverage; why we must replenish with it regularly; ways we constantly lose water and how much we should be consuming of it each day! Whew! NOW, let’s talk about just how to get in the ounces you calculated in part one of this blog series that you should be drinking each day…
- Begin each DAY with water hydration! Within 30-45 minutes of waking up, it would greatly benefit your body to consume at least 8 ounces of water. If you can squeeze the juice from a freshly sliced key lime or lemon into it, even better!
- Begin each MEAL with water hydration! Before reaching for that utensil, reach for that glass. Consume at least 8 ounces of water before your first bite of food. This will not only add ounces to your water intake goal for the day, but it’s a great way to avoid overeating for those trying to maintain or lose weight.
- Keep water with you at ALL times! Never let “not having access to water” be an excuse for not consuming it. Also, we all know the infamous saying: out of sight, out of mind. Keeping water with you keeps it in your line of vision, thus serving as a subliminal reminder to take a swig or two. Invest in a water bottle that is no smaller than 24 oz in size. Aim for BPA-free plastic bottles or glass bottles. This large size bottle will also help you hit in your daily water intake goal much easier than trying to count out glasses, cups, or even the smaller store-bought plastic bottles of water.
- Stay hydrated IN-BETWEEN meals! Often times, in-between meals, the signal we receive from our brain that we interpret as hunger, is actually thirst (they’re very similar, and very often confused). So now that you know this, try reaching for that water bottle rather than that unhealthy snack to satisfy the signal. Imagine if you could curb that snack craving with 8-16 ounces of calorie-free, fat-free, sugar-free, sodium-free, preservative-free water!
- Stay AHEAD of your brain! You know you’ve properly hydrated when you’re ahead of your brain. By the time you receive the “I’m thirsty” signal, it’s often too late. Hydrate all day long with water, avoid running the risk of dehydration...then, sit back and watch the health benefits begin to manifest!
- Drink on a SCHEDULE! Sometimes you can have the water bottle, have every intention of getting your ounces in that day, but because of a busy work/school schedule, taking sips throughout the course of the day just slips your mind. If you’re one of those who don’t get in enough water because of lack of remembering to, trust me, you’re not alone. For people in this category, I recommend creating a hydration schedule. For instance, if you need to get in 80 oz/day, then map it out according to how many hours you’ll be awake. For instance, if you wake up at 7am and go to bed at 10pm, then you have 15 hours to map out. This could be something as simple as agreeing to drink just 5-6 ounces (less than a cup) each hour. Or, you can say, by lunchtime, I should have 30 oz down, by the time I clock out from work I should have another 30 oz down, leaving just 20 oz to get in before, during and after dinner. Then, once you’ve mapped it out, set alerts on your phone! They can go off at whatever increments you need, popping up on your screen saying something like “drink me” or “8 ounces”. You can even download apps that help in tracking your daily water intake and providing reminders to drink.
- Get creative with the TASTE! For those who don’t drink much water because it is tasteless and “boring”, then feel free to spice things up a bit. You can infuse your water with fresh fruits that not only add flavor, but health benefits as well. For instance, any berry will add antioxidant qualities, lemons and key limes will add alkalinizing qualities and grapefruit will add metabolism boosting qualities. You can also add mint leaves, a couple teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, cucumber slices, etc. You can switch it up to have a new, refreshing taste experience each day!
- Herbal teas COUNT! If you’re a tea drinker, then feel free to add the ounces of water from your tea mug to your daily water intake. Herbal teas are a great way to sneak in more water hydration, with the additional benefits that the tea itself may bring. Ginger tea, mint tea, chamomile tea, green tea, etc…just be sure to keep the sugar content down (or even substituted all together with a teaspoon of raw organic honey). Even starting your mornings with just warm water and the juice from a freshly sliced lemon or key lime (no tea bag needed) carries tremendous health benefits!
- Always ORDER water! When out to eat, try to get in the habit of ordering water. Servers are trained to entice you by going on and on about getting you a sweet tea, a coke or a flavored lemonade because of the upcharge in sales. It has nothing to do with what’s GOOD for you. You can ease into this by initially ordering water along with your current beverage of choice, so that once you finish the glass of your beverage of choice you can reach for that glass of water to quench your thirst for the rest of the meal (no refills on the other beverage needed). Once you start consuming more water, in every environment you are in, your palate will adjust and your body will begin to actually crave water, making this process easier and easier for you!
- Keep ONLY water at home! If you come to my house right now, aside from some almond milk, the only beverage I’d have to offer you is water. This is not because I haven’t gone grocery shopping…this is intentional. When I am thirsty, I cannot honestly expect myself to be disciplined enough EVERY single time to open my refrigerator and bypass juices, sodas, sports drinks, etc. for water. So I just cut all of the competition and distraction out of the picture. I advise others to do the same. It sets the tone not only for your own health, but for your family’s health as well. Convenience always wins, and if water is what’s most conveniently available in your kitchen, it’s what you’ll find yourself consuming the most of at home.
If you are doing all ten tips listed above consistently (not just a few every now and then), then there is no reason for you to NOT be getting in your daily water requirement. In fact, many will hit their daily goals without needing to do ALL ten tips, which is awesome too!
Please be sure to read the third and final part of this blog, where I’ll go into the different TYPES of water available on the market, highlighting which are the best and which are the worst! We’ll clear the air on a few things, bust a few myths and wrap up this blog series on my favorite drink!
Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA
Returning to Nature, LLC.