One of the pieces of the fitness puzzle that I am told often by people that they struggle with is the amount of water they drink… Or rather the amount they don’t.
I find that for most people, including myself, before changing their lifestyle to become healthier they tend not to drink a sufficient amount of water. We as a general population are vastly unaware of how many things dehydrate us and how many symptoms we may feel on a regular basis are due to an insufficient water intake. Changing such a basic habit is so deceivingly difficult. So, with the weather warming and the need for plentiful water intake growing more and more important, I wanted to share some of the things that have helped me ensure I am getting an adequate amount of water each day.
- Add in a glass of water at critical times. Just being aware of specific things or instances that dehydrate us and making a point to drink one whole glass to satiate ourselves after will help up our intake. For example, two things that dehydrate me every single day is my coffee and my workouts. Now I this. So I make it a point to balance my mug of coffee with a bottle of water. I also make it a point to drink a full bottle of water before leaving work to go to the gym and then after my workout I drink a full bottle on the drive home. This is in addition to the water I drink throughout the day and during a workout.
- Use a gallon. I have found for some having a huge gallon jug sitting and glaring at them gives a sort of negative reinforcement. A feeling of HAVING to finish that or having failed at their goal for the day. While feelings of failure are not at all what I am promoting, this type of motivation is necessary for some when it comes to changing a habit. Water intake is the type of habit where you may need to force yourself to be more aware of your daily routine, things that have become second nature. Having an unconsumed gallon of water on your desk or by your side forces you to recognize that you are not drinking enough water and letting the day go by without proper hydration and will prompt you to drink as you become conscious of that.
- Start marking your bottles/jugs. Most times that I use a gallon, I will take a thick black marker and measure out equal portions on the jug. I will then set goal times for myself. If I want to have my gallon finished by a certain time in the day I will set equally spaced hours at which I want to have finished the water to each mark. Again, this is a prompt to reach a goal. I am a very visual person. So writing on my bottle gives me a concrete and measurable goal to look at and aim for throughout the day. Continually reminding myself to take sips off the gallon in order to finish.
- Flavor it up a bit. I know flavored water has been advertised for quite some time. May people say they have a hard time drinking a lot of water because it is “boring” or “tasteless”. When you first make a big lifestyle change, going from consuming iced teas and sodas and juices all day to water… Well I can see why everyone gets tired of water pretty quick haha… Flavor is something we all enjoy and while I like the crisp, quenching, hydrating sensation of my plain just chilly but not quite ice cold water I can also appreciate a good flavoring. The key here is knowing what are you putting into your water. There is so much crap out there that sometimes it is hard to spot the diamonds in the rough. Avoid heavy sugar filled powders and mixes and as with anything, always check the label. One of the few (or only really) company that I use and trust is Nuun. My boyfriend began using it during the police academy and had such a good experience that I had to do some research myself. I have found that their mixes are tasty and effective and certainly manages to jazz it up a bit.
Now these are just a couple strategies. However, they are all ones that I, myself, have found the most effective in continuing to keep my water intake high. Sometimes all it takes is focusing your energy on increasing your intake for a little while until you notice all the amazing benefits. Once the benefits … such as weight control, better digestion, less bloating, better skin, better sleep, less headaches, better workouts … set in, it will be hard not to continue having water by your side!