Water is the essence of life. Humans are comprised of almost 60% water, which means that we have to continually drink water to keep our bodies hydrated, happy and healthy.1 This essential nutrient is one of the most important elements for the human body, but people often struggle with hydration and consuming enough water.
How Much Water Should You Drink a Day?
With so many conflicting views and advice, it can be hard to truly understand how much water you should drink in a day. While experts agree water consumption varies for everyone, a general rule of thumb is to try to aim for eight, 8-ounce glasses per day or about half of your body weight in ounces. Depending on your activity level and your climate, you should drink a half-ounce to an ounce of water for every pound you weigh. So, if it’s the middle of summer, you’re participating in a lot of physical activity, and you weigh 150 pounds, your daily water intake should be anywhere from 75 to 150 ounces of water. To be safe, no matter the temperature, aim for at least 8 cups of water each day.
The general “rule” to drink half your body weight in water each day may even help you lose weight, too. Researchers found that drinking water may actually help you lose weight by slightly boosting your metabolism.2
If you’re feeling thirsty, that means your body is probably already dehydrated. Additionally, your body may sometimes misinterpret thirst for hunger, so it's important to stay hydrated by sipping water throughout the day, especially if your goals include weight loss. But the benefits of drinking water extend beyond keeping you hydrated during hot, humid summer months. Drinking enough water may also support your weight loss journey.
How can I stay hydrated?
Below are just a few tips to make getting enough water easier to swallow.
1. Set reminders
Creating reminders will help jog your memory to drink more water. Set up a calendar reminder on your computer for little reminders to keep your hydration levels up throughout the day. Need an audible reminder? Set an hourly alarm on your phone to remind yourself to take a few sips. If you are more of a visual person, try leaving a post-it note by your desk or in your kitchen to drink some water every time you see a note. You can even leave a note in your car to remind you to take a sip while on the road. Write it in your calendar or on your to-do list and check off your consumption! Setting constant reminders to drink more water will help you turn a chore into a routine.
2. Make it a routine
Make drinking water a part of your everyday routine! For example, when you first wake up in the morning, try to consume a cup of water before you enjoy breakfast. This will not only help you stay hydrated, but it could even help with digestion. To start, pick one or two habits that you practice daily and add drinking water to them. That way, you can slowly work more water consumption into your daily routine.
3. Choose a water bottle you like
Choosing a water bottle you like can help inspire you to drink more water. With numerous different kinds of reusable water bottles on the market, you can find the bottle that motivates you to drink more water while still looking stylish. There are tons of options to choose from: big water bottles that don't require frequent refills, water bottles with marks on them such as timestamps to help you keep on track, and water bottles with a filter to make sure you water stays pure and clean. We love the insulated water bottles which keep your water cool for hours even when left in a hot car. There are also bottles with a place to add fresh, cut up fruit to infuse your water and even high-tech bottles that track how much water you are drinking. The bottom line is, invest in a water bottle that you will actually use, and that will encourage you to drink more. With so many brands, colors, and designs, there’s bound to be one that fits your style!
4. Carry it everywhere
Once you’ve purchased your bottle — keep it with you wherever you go. Carry it everywhere – from the gym to the car to your bedroom – and refill as necessary. Keep a bottle of water handy at home, at work and on the run. If you'll be out running errands, freeze a water bottle overnight and bring it with you the next day. It will thaw in the car and allow for a cool refreshment between stops. Keeping a water bottle with you will help you stay hydrated all day long. You may even notice that you’ll take more sips just because you’re holding it – it becomes second nature! Can’t bring your water bottle somewhere? Be on the lookout for public water fountains and stop and take a few sips each time you see one.
5. Keep track
Keep a tally of your daily intake of water. Aim for four glasses by lunchtime and another four by bedtime. There are several ways you can keep track of your water intake. Simply keep a tally on a piece of paper or in a journal. Create a countdown in your journal from 8 to 1 and cross off the numbers in descending order until you get to zero. Or keep track on your phone. There are several apps that can help you keep track of your water intake. Most of them will show an empty glass that fills with water when you input your water intake or give you detailed status updates on how close you are to hitting your intake goal. It is a fun way to visually represent your progress.
6. Drink water before, during & after workouts
Water is extremely important while you’re exercising, as you are continuously sweating. Staying hydrated will ensure that your body remains at your optimum performance level. Drink water before, during, and after working out. Aim to drink 8 oz, about every 20 minutes, especially if the temperature is hot or you’re sweating a lot. Drinking water after your workout will replenish the water you lost sweating and help break down any lactic acid build up in the muscles, which may help to reduce soreness post-workout.
7. Create a challenge
Are you motivated by challenges or games? Create a challenge that will help you reach your daily water intake goal. First, define your goal, whether it is drinking a glass of water every hour or drinking eight glasses of water a day, and try to stick to it. Write down your goal and make a note on your calendar for each day you achieve it. Then create a prize for yourself. If you hit your goal for the week, reward yourself! Need some ideas? Check out these non-food rewards that will keep you on track with your weight loss goals.
8. Find an alcoholic beverage alternative
Although drinking alcohol can hinder your weight loss goals, if you do happen to imbibe, make sure you stay adequately hydrated by switching to a non-alcoholic beverage (preferably water) after consuming an alcoholic beverage. Better yet, avoid drinking a boozy beverage altogether, as alcohol can lead to dehydration and sabotage your diet.
9. Add bubbles & flavor
If consistently drinking plain water is hard for you, try unsweetened carbonated water. Sparkling water is a great way to put a bubbly twist on regular water and could also help replace a soft drink or energy addiction. Try replacing soda with sparkling water, or for more flavor, try infusing your water with fruits and herbs. Simply fill a pitcher with water and add 1-2 cups of your favorite fruits and herbs, stir, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for best results. Experiment with various flavor combinations, such as cucumber, strawberries, and mint, or blueberries, lemon, and basil. Or for a simple solution add a wedge of lime, lemon or orange to your water.
Another idea: Try heating your water up and a slice of lemon. There are even other beverages that contain some water that can help you stay hydrated. Coconut water, skim milk, fat-free milk, tea and smoothies all contain water - just make sure they fit with your plan if your goal is weight loss. However, drinking only these alternate beverages will not be enough to keep your body hydrated and should be used to supplement your water intake.
10. Eat your water
Did you know there are many other ways you can stay hydrated besides drinking water? There are several water-based foods that can help contribute to your daily fluid intake. Fruits and vegtables such as, celery, cucumbers, and watermelon carry a lot of water that your body will use stay hydrated. If you snack daily, try switching out some of your usual snacks for one of these low-calorie options instead!
Avoiding sugary, high-calorie drinks and adding more water intake to your daily routine will be overall beneficial to you - to your health and well-being, and potentially even your weight loss. The habit of drinking more water will not happen overnight, but following the tips outlined above will make sure you stay hydrated. Drink more water; your body will thank you!