I recently caught up with a group of friends at a local café and soon found myself fielding a series of jocularity, laced with increasing giggles – it felt like I was the brunt of some joke. Here I was amidst a group of grown women who were unashamedly laughing out loud as I poured water into my glass from a drink bottle I had brought from home. The guffaws reached a pinnacle when I then refilled my empty water bottle from the jug on the table, only to then refill my glass again from my BYO water bottle. By this time even I had tears streaming down my numb cheeks!
These are good friends, who have known me for a long time. I wouldn’t put up with just anyone laughing at my expense, nor do I usually join in and enjoy the laughter along with them! This instance though, I could see how my odd behaviour was hilarious to observe, especially for dear friends who have known me well before I embarked on my ‘hydration kick’.
We all know that hydration and drinking enough water is important. We hear it in the media every other day. Most experts will confirm that drinking 8 glasses, or about 2Lt, of plain water each day is what we need to be at our best. I found a 4-step process that successfully helps to determine your personal daily water intake level for optimum hydration.
If you are not yet on the hydration train, then I strongly suggest you make it a priority to drink enough water each day. The benefits are both profound and quickly noticeable. Simply drinking enough water will have you feeling healthier and more energised, thinking clearer and looking younger!
But 2Lt (or more) is a LOT of water to drink, especially for those of us not used to drinking even half of that each day. My odd behaviour at the café is just one of the tips I use to help me keep hydrated. Rest assured though, it is not, as one of my giggling friends suggested, that my drink bottle magically turns the water into wine!
Now that I know my body needs 2.25Lt of water each day to function at its best, I use a number of tricks, incorporated as daily habits, to help me drink enough.
Measure it out
Each morning, as part of my breakfast and lunch preparations for our house, I fill up the water bottles. Often our bench looks like an advertisement for re-usable drinking containers as there can be up to 10 vessels filled with water ready for the 4 members of our family to take out on their day.
My husband and I always take at least 2 bottles with us – one large one of 1-2Lt and a smaller one that is about 750ml. We know that before dinner each day we need to finish all that water for our bodies to function at their best. Consistently drinking 2Lt or more in a day keeps us from feeling fatigued, helps our digestion and has our skin looking and feeling firmer and brighter.
When I have my 2 bottles with me for the day it’s easy to keep track of how my water intake is going throughout the day. I empty the smaller bottle and then refill it from my 1.5Lt bottle to keep drinking until both bottles are empty.
At times when I can’t carry over 2Lt of water with me, I use the 750ml bottle to keep track of my water intake. When I was at the café with my giggling friends I knew I had to drink my full water bottle three times before dinner. Instead of using the café’s jug to fill my glass and guess how much water I was consuming, I chose to drink the water I was measuring out so that I could still keep track for the day.
Help with the taste
Plain water is just that, plain. It can be very hard to swallow (see what I did there?), especially if you are used to drinking juices, soft drinks or hot beverages instead. When I first started increasing my water intake I found it very difficult to get through enough water each day. Then I discovered an easy and healthy way to make my water a little less plain and I use the following ideas throughout the week to help me swallow enough water.
A squeeze of fresh lemon or lime freshens up plain water immensely. My daughter loves to put pieces of cucumber and lemon into her water. I use no-sugar, or low-sugar natural hydration sticks in one 500ml lot of my water each day. Alternatively, I find that strawberries and mint work a treat. You may also find that simply having your water cold from the fridge, or warm from the kettle, can make it a lot more palatable to your system.
An exercising body needs more water
The volume of water we each need to consume daily increases with strenuous activity such as exercise. Any water you drink during your gym workout or while on a run does not count towards your 2Lt for the day and shouldn’t be taken from your measured water.
When your heart rate increases, and you start to sweat, your body is losing more water than what has been accounted for in the determination of how much water you need each day. You’ll know yourself that going for a walk leaves you less thirsty than a pump class, so during exercise drink as you need, but don’t count it towards your daily intake volume.
I struggled with this for quite some time. Lately, I’ve found success by having a separate water bottle in my gym bag which I don’t fill from my daily measured water.
Keep it in plain sight
A bottle of water tucked away in your bag isn’t going to do very much to remind you to keep hydrated. Keep your water bottle where you can see it, at all times. Use the drink cup holder in the car, put it on the desk at work, have it on the bench when you’re in the kitchen.
One of the best ways to ensure you build a habit of healthy hydration is to set yourself triggers for taking a sip of water. Perhaps each time you stop at a red light use it as a reminder to have a drink. Whenever you walk past your bottle as you go about your daily housework, take a sip. Each time you hit ‘send’ on an email, stop and hydrate.
Measuring my daily intake, keeping track as I consume enough water, finding triggers to remind me to drink, and using natural temperature and flavour enhancers to make it all more palatable has made the biggest difference to my health and wellbeing. I encourage you to take on even just one or two of these tricks and tips to improve your hydration levels daily. I have no doubt that you will feel and look better than you have in years.