I have struggled with drinking enough water for a very long time. Years, actually. Somehow I rarely manage to drink enough.
Ok, that’s not entirely true. There was a 6 month period when I was drinking 3L of water a day, but then my life got turned upside down and I fell out of all my good health habits. For the past couple months I have been struggling to get back into the habit of hitting my water goal.
That’s why I was so pleased when Social Media Consultant and Trainer Kelly Noble Mirabella announced on Facebook last week that she’s starting a water challenge buddy group. This has been a great help in keeping me on track for water consumption. And the reason is accountability. Kelly has taken it upon herself to check in with us #OperationHydration agents throughout the day which really forces me to take a look at my water consumption and drink more!
The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters). If you exercise, you should have an additional 400ml-600ml for every 30 minutes of sweat-inducing exercise.
I aim for between 2L and 3L per day. I think of it as 4 or 6 16.9oz bottles. Each 16.9oz bottle is equal to 500ml. There is nothing wrong with drinking 3L daily. It is not an unhealthy amount over the course of 24hrs.
But too much water in too short of a period of time can be bad for you, and even cause death. When you drink too much water (6L or more) within too short of a window of time (a couple hours), you’re depriving your body of necessary electrolytes like salt, potassium, and magnesium. The kidneys control how rapidly electrolytes and other solutes are flushed out of the body, but if you drink too much water in too short an amount of time, the kidneys become overwhelmed.
Drinking too much water in too short an amount of time is rare. I know that’s definitely not my problem. What is my problem is not drinking enough water throughout the whole day.
I have discovered 10 tips to make it easier. Here they are:
1. Find your perfect temperature.
I like sipping on hot water with ginger throughout the day (in the ayurveda fashion), which does help keep me drinking water. I also really enjoy drinking room temperature water. I do not like drinking ice cold water, but a lot of people do. It’s a matter of finding what works for you. At what temperature are you most likely to drink water? Find that temperature and make sure to always have a vessel of water at that temperature near by for you to sip on.
2. Find your perfect vessel.
I’m a sucker for a good vessel. Just ask my husband. I have multiple drinking vessels for multiple purposes. I have my SIGG%20Fabulous%20Water%20Bottle,%20Aqua,%200.6-Literpretty 42Yogis Blue aluminum Sigg bottle which is great for when I’m on-the-go. My Sigg is lightweight, even when full of water, so it accompanies me to yoga class or the gym. I have a glass Snapware bottle that I use throughout the day for room-temperature water. And I have an insulated glass Cupanion bottle that I use for hot tea (herbal tea counts as water), and hot water with lemon and ginger.
3. There’s an app for that.
There’s an app for everything and anything. But by far the most useful app for me is the one that tracks my water consumption. There are several on the market, but I prefer Waterlogged because it’s a super simple interface. You tell it what your goal is for the day (one day is from 12am-11:59pm), and to log, you simply tap the big glass of water on the screen and enter the ounces. It has quick-set vessels for sizes you use regularly. If you have a FitBit, you can also track your water intake through the FitBit app.
4. Start a water support group.
Follow in the footsteps of Kelly Noble Mirabella and find a support buddy for your water. It could be a colleague, sibling, friend, or spouse. It doesn’t matter who it is as long as you’re both committed to hitting your water goal. All it takes is one person to feel nagged instead of helped for the buddy system to fall apart.
5. Drink 16oz when you wake up.
Keep a glass of water next to your bed and drink it when you first wake up, before you even get out of bed. This awesome little lifehack I learned from Peter Shankman, and has been backed up by Ayurveda and health experts. A glass of water first thing in the morning jump starts your system and gets things moving again after a night of stasis.
6. Drink 16oz before a meal.
Drinking a big glass of water before a meal has multiple benefits. First, you get another 16oz of water. Secondly, it will make you feel fuller faster, and help prevent you from overeating. There have been studies which indicate drinking water before a meal will speed up your metabolism.
7. Drink 16oz of water before a shower.
There are multiple theories about whether or not drinking water before a shower is actually helpful in remaining hydrated. Some people even claim drinking a glass of water before a shower will lower blood pressure. I’m hard pressed to find any conclusive studies about this published on the National Institutes of Health. But drinking water before a shower is good if for no other reason, it’s one more glass of water you get to check off your list.
8. Make water fun.
There are people who can drink water all day long and others who get bored and crave variety. If you crave variety, try adding some flavour to your water. I love lemon and ginger. I can drink water infused with lemon and ginger all day long. Other tasty water infusions include:
- Strawberry and Mint
- Strawberry and Ginger
- Cucumber and Mint
- Cinnamon and Ginger
- Coconut (You can buy coconut water, or if you just want the flavour, stick a piece of coconut meat in your water.)
- Basil and Watermelon
- Cucumber and Lime
- Lemon and Lime
- Lime and Cilantro (a personal favourite!)
- Rose petals
- Grapefruit and Rosemary
- Kiwi and Raspberry
- Orange and Blueberry
9. Refill your vessel as soon as it’s empty.
Waiting to refill your vessel will mean you don’t have water ready to sip on. (Nothing gets past me. 🙂 I find when I don’t have water by me, I’m less likely to get my ass out of the chair to go get some when I’m thirsty. Especially if I’m in the middle of something, like writing an article.
10. 3 Cleverly placed Post-Its
Posting about your water goal all over the house will remind you to drink water. Added bonus? They may also help your housemates drink more water. I suggest these Post-Its in the following locations:
- On the fridge and/or food pantry: “Hungry or thirsty? Drink water before opening me.”
- On your desk: “2L today!” (or whatever your goal is)
- On your front door: “Take your water bottle!”
What are your tips for drinking more water? Let me know in the comments!
A previous version of this article indicated water intake should equal half your body weight in ounces. The article has been updated to reflect the Institute of Medicine standard. The math works out to about the same amount of water unless you’re obese, in which case you would be drinking much more water than is recommended by the Institute of Medicine.