Drinking More Water
If you’ve found this article or video, you might be wondering how to drink more water. There are many reasons you might need to drink more water. Some medications require us to have a steady level of hydration, such as lithium and other salts. Other people might have physical symptoms that can be relieved by improving their hydration. This article goes through 5 tips you can use today to improve your water intake.
Tip 1 — Make Your Water Intake Measurable
The first tip focuses on understanding how much water you drink, and being able to track your increases. I use a Nalgene graduated water bottle to measure my liquid intake. By drinking two bottles per day, I am able to consume the full recommended 64 ounces of water per day. Alternatively, if I am having other drinks, like tea or coffee, I might only drink one bottle of water, and do my best to balance the other 32 ounces. The key here is to use a measuring device while you learn to track your intake, so you know exactly how much you are drinking. If you don’t have a graduated bottle, you can measure your favorite container using measuring cups, and then use that container as your standard. For example, if you have a 20 ounce bottle or mug, you’ll need to drink a little over 3 full measures. There’s no perfect way to measure your intake, so just do your best.
Tip 2 — Make It Attractive
This tip is inspired by Atomic Habits, a book that can teach you how to improve any habit you can imagine. In his book, James Clear talks about the power of aesthetics in our ability to maintain a habit. If we want to make a new habit, like drinking more water, as easy to keep as possible, we want to make the habit a pleasant experience. For drinking water, I suggest using water flavorings, which you can find near bottled water at the grocery store. Alternatively, you can use a container or bottle that is pleasing. I personally use a Nalgene bottle (see Tip 1) that has Spiderman on it, which makes me happy every time I use it. I also use a variety of water flavoring to keep my drink from tasting flat and boring. These were critical changes I made when I started trying to drink more water, and they make all the difference for me.
Tip 3 — Put Your Drink Where You Can See It
This tip may seem trivial, but it’s actually very powerful. We are more likely to do things that are obvious, and more likely to avoid things which aren’t as convenient. For example, if I make the mistake of bringing a bag of chips to my desk, where I can reach it any time, I am almost certainly going to eat the entire bag. However, if I use a bowl that is a reasonable serving, I’m less likely to go back to the kitchen for more chips. This is because the cost/reward balance is different if it takes more work to get the same reward. Using the inverse of this example, by putting our water in front of us, where we can see it and reach it anytime, we are more likely to consider drinking, and more likely to actually drink.
Tip 4 — Space it Out
You want to drink your water over the course of the whole day. Your body can take water from your stomach and turn it into urine in about 5 minutes. If you drink all of your water in a couple of chug-fests, your body is going to turn it around and dispose of it, because it’s too much water to stay in your blood. By slowing down your intake, or spacing it out over the course of your day, you guarantee that you’re getting the benefit of your hydration, rather than flushing it down the literal and proverbial toilet.
Tip 5 — Avoid Diuretics
Diuretics are foods and drugs that make your body more inclined to produce urine. Caffeine, alcohol, certain fruit and fruit juices, and even your medications can all act as a diuretic. If you’re worried about staying hydrated, you want to try to reduce the intake of these substances. If your medication is a diuretic, it’s even more important to reduce the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and other diuretics, because you can’t just stop taking your medication. If you’re concerned about your medication affecting your hydration, talk to your doctor, and minimize the intake of other diuretics in the meantime.
And there you are. Five tips to drinking more water and staying hydrated. If these were helpful to you, let me know. If you want information on eating healthier foods, stay tuned for our next video/article combo. Thanks for stopping by, and remember to be kind to yourself and others.
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