2013 Wellness Challenge Week 3: Drink More Water
I have to say this is the first challenge I wasn’t excited about. I’ve never been a big drinker…of anything. I just can’t fathom gulping multiple ounces of liquid at once. I especially despise that jiggly water feeling inside your stomach when it just sits there. Bleh.
However, drinking water has its benefits. According to a study titled “Human Water Needs” published in 2008, the authors found that on average 2.7 liters of water for women satisfies basic human needs. This doesn’t take into account climate, exercise and other factors that could increase your need for water to stay properly hydrated. So that means I should get about 91 ounces of water a day, or the equivalent of 5.6 16-oz bottles of water. Granted, you also get water from the food you eat and other beverages, but for a girl who MAYBE drinks a bottle of water a day, I’m way off the mark.
Drinking water helps maintain the body’s fluid balance, which regulates everything from digestion to circulation. Water can help you curb appetite by making you feel fuller longer, lubricate the muscles for peak performance, keep the skin looking healthy and young and keep the kidneys working so that you can consistently release toxic buildup. In a nutshell, it’s kind of important.
Instead of tackling this one against sheer willpower, I decided to get creative about sneaking more water into my day. I tried warm water and cold, tea, smoothies, soups and fruit. I never reached 91 ounces and seemed to level off at an average of 46.5 ounces a day.
At first, drinking more water didn’t seem to be helping with much of anything. I was tired, hungry and irritable. But as the week went on, I noticed that drinking more water did start to stave off cravings, it did give me slightly more energy and I felt better overall. This naturally increased my productivity and I was able to stay strong through Friday and complete most of the work on my to-do list. I decided not to track differences in creativity, because I couldn’t possibly understand how drinking more water would make me more creative, unless I started pulling out the wacky metaphors like getting into the flow…I’ll spare you the rest.
So, here are 7 different ways you can drink more water in one day!
Invest in a beautiful carafe and always keep it full
On Sunday afternoon I went over to a friend’s house for a recipe group. Everyone brough different dishes and we had a nice lunch and chat. In the middle of the table (and conveniently positioned right next to me) was a glass carafe that was constantly refilled with fresh, cool water. Not only was it exceptionally easy to refill my glass, but picking up the carafe and watching the water pour smoothly into my class was entertainment in itself. The convenience of the carafe caused me to drink about 2 ½ glasses of water in an hour without even thinking about it! Genius.
I got my VitaMix blender in the mail at the end of last week, which made me super excited to make smoothies. As I was making my smoothie on Monday morning, I realized that smoothie drinking is a great way ingest some extra water, as the smoothie recipes I was consulting all called for at least a cup of water if not more. Add in some tasty fruit and you have a healthy breakfast PLUS a fun way to drink more water. Bonus points.
I’m a moderate tea drinker already – tea hoarder may be more appropriate, as I seem to accumulate more tea than I ever drink – so I thought it would be easy to get some more water into my day this way. I certainly had a nice selection to choose from and chai in the afternoon sounds so romantic, but I had a hard time getting onto a schedule, so my tea drinking was more erratic than I had hoped. I found research that confirmed drinking hot or warm water is great for staving off hunger because it makes you feel full faster. Thus, not a good idea if you’re trying to consume large amounts of water. Best to stick with cold water, which is more appealing to the brain and easier to drink more of at once.
Start your day with hot water and lemon
In the Ayurvedic system of medicine – think India’s equivalent to Traditional Chinese Medicine – it’s suggested you start the day by drinking a glass of warm water with lemon. This is supposed to jumpstart your metabolism and get your bowels moving. I found it pleasant to drink warm water with lemon, but it became more a part of my meal than a standalone healing extra. I suggest trying this out in the morning at least once and also throughout the day.
Elixirs, potions, Kombucha and specialty drinks
There’s a restaurant in Boulder called Shine that I always loved to go to for their elixirs and potions. Despite the fact it might be a bunch of New Age crap, I still like to try the creative concoctions and enjoy thinking I’m drinking something healthy all the same (that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid”…). I found a recipe for a cleanse elixir amongst the pages of Whole Living and tried it out. It involved some turmeric, ginger, cayenne, honey and lemon…an acquired taste. Adding spices to your water help promote healthy digestion and give a little kick to your morning warm water with lemon. I’ll definitely try it again and keep searching for good elixir recipes. Anything to make water more fun.
Fruits and flavors
Back in Ohio, I bought a water bottle at Kohl’s that has a little screw-out container for fruits, herbs and spices. The idea is a cool one – make your own flavored water – but the flavor of water has never been my problem. Plus, the tap water where I live is the most horrendous tap water I’ve ever tasted – it honestly tastes like sewage, no matter how much you filter it – so I’m consigned to the evil plastic bottle for now. But, if water flavor is your problem, this nifty water bottle can solve that problem real quick.
The rubber band method
And finally, my co-worker once tried to drink more water by putting five rubber bands on her water bottle and taking one off each time she drank a full bottle. It gave her a visual for how much she had already drank throughout the day and how much more she had to go. Motivation and tracking all in one!
What is your favorite way to drink more water?
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