Friday, January 23, 2015

How To Drink More Water

Do you struggle with cravings or headaches? Do you tend to forget things? Do you have dry skin in the winter? I have a solution - water!

Most Americans are dehydrated. Yes, we consume large quantities of pop (or soda if you're not from Michigan) and coffee (guilty), but we don't get enough water. 

While the base of the beverages we drink is water the rest of the contents counteract the benefits of water. The caffeine, sugar, food coloring, and other additives slow down the process of absorption of water into our bodies.

Here are some symptoms of dehydration:
Dark Urine
Dry Skin
Muscle Cramps
Food Cravings (especially sugar)
Foggy Thinking
Achy Joints

Do any of these sound familiar? Are you surprised that all it may take to "cure" these is a glass of water?

The recommended amount of water is half of your body weight, in ounces, per day. This may seem like an extreme amount for some people and you should definitely check with your doctor if you're above average weight. 

I think even the average weight person struggles to drink their daily allotment, but I know from experience that the more I drink, the more I crave and the easier it is for me to get to my recommended amount and beyond.

Some health benefits of drinking water:
Improved Kidney Function
Clearer Skin
Sharper Memory
Better Sleep
Easier Digestion

How to include extra water:
•Drink your allotment before you have coffee, pop, etc. (You'd be surprised at how much you don't crave your coffee after you've had a glass of water first thing in the morning.)

•Buy a nice water bottle that is easy to carry and drink from. 

•Mark your water bottle with time goals for each day using a permanent marker or label maker. You'll know how much you've had and how far you have left to go!

•Set a reminder on your phone to refill your cup at the top of the hour, then sip it for an hour.

•Add citrus fruit slices or cucumber to your water, or a couple of drops of peppermint extract, to make it more appealing to drink. Search Pinterest for ways to spruce up your water!

•Eat vegetables! What? Vegetable like peppers, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini and more have a high water content, so as long as you eat them raw you'll add to your water consumption.

•Eat fruit! Watermelon, pineapple, grapes, apples, blueberries, strawberries, etc. also have a high water content. And since vegetables and fruit are low calorie and high nutrition, it's beneficial all around!

The average American woman is 156 pounds, so her goal would be to consume 78 ounces per day. That's only 6.5 ounces per hour over 12 hours! Doesn't it sound easy when you break it down like that?!

(Men, the average American man is 196 pounds, so your goal is 8 ounces per hour.)

Don't think too far into the future and become overwhelmed at having to drink XX amount of water. Take it one day at a time. Start today and be proud of your accomplishment. Then do it again tomorrow - and the next day. Before you know it, weeks and months will have passed and you'll be feeling and looking much better!

You may also enjoy:
Healthy Habit: Drink Water (Written by my IIN Classmate, Julie Stiles)

Read my next post: Enough Is Enough