Staying Hydrated – How and Why?
Staying hydrated is a HOT topic this time of year 😉 and for good reason! Hydration is one of the bare necessities of life but water plays more than just the role of hydrating you. It can boost your energy, lubricate your joints, helps with fatigue, helps you have smooth bowel movements and keeps your body temperature cool. See? Lots of reasons to drink it!
One reason I did not list is weight loss. Why? I hear it all the time, “I was told to drink more water so I’d lose weight.” Well, that is not necessarily how it works. Drinking enough water for your day IS important for the reasons I listed above, so overall it’s a great and healthy thing to do for your body. Is it going to CAUSE weight loss? Probably not on its own. I find when people work on the habit of drinking more water they might be drinking less soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, or even snacking a little differently. All of which could impact the weight of your body.
I said, could impact your body. I cannot, nor can anyone else, make guarantees when it comes to how our bodies change in reaction to the habits we build. This is why setting goals with people based on how they feel verses what their body shape is can be so helpful! We can all benefit from healthy habits, we cannot all benefit from changing the size of our body.
So now we have the why behind drinking water and staying hydrated, let’s dive into the how.
Tips for Staying Hydrated this Summer
Let’s face it, a lot of people get tired of drinking plain water. So one great tip when it comes to hydrating is to flavor your water! You can throw all kinds of things in your water to flavor it such as:
- Strawberry slices and fresh basil
- Mint leaves
- Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
- Frozen blueberries (my personal favorite)
- Ginger root and sliced cucumber
- Frozen pineapple
- ANY fruit or vegetable or herb that intrigues you
Before you ask, yes you can totally flavor your water with things like Mio and Crystal Lite. I used to use Crystal Lite a lot but to be honest, I lost a taste for it. The thing with artificial sweeteners is they are not bad but I do tell people that the sugar substitutes in them make things extra sweet. While this can leave your water tasting delicious, it has potential to increase your desire for sweet things. Is this a 100% cause and effect deal? No. If you enjoy those items, consider using as much as you would regular sugar. Like one teaspoon of sugar in your coffee? Cool, use one teaspoon of Crystal Lite in your water.
How the heck do we actually DRINK the water?
Add it gradually
Habits are hard to form, I get it and when we start drinking more water it usually means more trips to the bathroom. Your body adjusts with you when you’re changing your habits, so know that you’re peeing more now but it won’t always be that way. Also, it might depend on HOW you’re drinking the water. Are you chugging five cups right before you go to bed to hit the recommended eight cups (note: the recommendation is more individual than that but. 8 cups is a great starting goal)? Don’t do that! Start with where you’re at. If you know you’re drinking three cups a day right now, add half of a cup somewhere or to where you’re already drinking some.
Carry a water bottle
This is an excellent way to drink more water. If you have water accessible to you, you’re more likely to drink it right? Some people love aluminum water bottles because they can keep the water extra cold. Other people love water bottles with tick marks with times listed on the side to encourage you to drink throughout your day. There’s no one best water bottle out there, just find one you like and roll with it. Bonus, this really helps reduce waste with the plastic water bottles out there.
Drink water with each meal
Do you set the table for each meal? My guess is no. If you don’t, try setting a glass of water down with each meal you have. Depending on the size glass you have, you might easily add 8-12 fluid ounces more per meal than you’d normally get. You can also consider a glass in the morning when you first wake up. Some people really like that habit as it makes them feel accomplished first thing in the morning.
Can I eat my water?
Yes! Consuming fruits and vegetables is a great way to help yourself stay hydrated. Watermelon of course has water right in the name so that fruit is especially helpful. You can also stock up on strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, oranges, and cucumber too! Basically, lots of fruits and vegetables have a good amount of water. Use that as another reason to hit your recommendation of at least five servings per day of them combined.
The big takeaways…
Staying hydrated is important – in fact it’s a necessity. You’ll get water when you do drink things with caffeine or added sugar too, but balancing it with just drinking water could help you feel your best. To those who say, “I don’t need that much water, I’m fine!” That’s OK – but let’s just experiment and see how you would feel with a little more water hmm?
Do you drink enough water (good way to judge is looking at your urine!)? Do you like to hydrate with flavors? Let me know below!