HOW MUCH WATER DO WE NEED?
The first thing that I learned when I started focusing on my water consumption is that the “Eight Glasses a Day” we hear about doesn’t really apply to most people. For the past year, I’ve been consciously trying to drink 84 ounces of water a day, which is well above the eight glasses (64 ounces) we usually hear about.
You have some options for calculating your water needs. Plant Nanny uses your weight and activity level to calculate how much water you need to drink. You can also use this tool from Med India to figure out how many ounces of water you need each day.
THE TOOLS TO USE
Drinking enough water is a little bit challenging, but keeping track can be even more tricky, especially if you’re not using an app or forget to enter your water in the app you’re using (guilty!). The solution that has worked best for me is to grab a large, reusable hot-and-cold cup and drink from it all day.
I use a 30-ounce steel tumbler and drink all of my water and tea from that one cup. Since it works for hot and cold drinks, I can fill it with water or hot, decaffeinated tea and be in business.
Three 30-ounce tumblers is 90 ounces, and it’s much easier to keep track of a few large cups a day than a few ounces at a time, all day long. Plus, having a to-go cup with me at all times makes it easy to sip all day long and actually hit that 84 ounces.
My other strategy is keeping it fun with flavored water. Don’t worry, I don’t mean those icky, powdered packets of artificial color and flavor. To flavor my water, I just drop in an herbal infusion “tea” bag. One herbal tea bag lasts the whole day and adds a little bit of flavor to my water, naturally. Ginger, hibiscus, and chamomile are my favorites, but you can use any infusion you like to add some zing to your water.
So, what happened when I started drinking enough water in a day?
- I’m still more thirsty than before. I guess my body is used to this “being hydrated” thing. Now that hydration is the status quo, I feel thirsty sooner when I forget my cup at home.
- I drink less alcohol. I’d gotten into the bad habit of pouring a glass of wine at 6 p.m. every day while fixing supper. It’s harder to squeeze in a glass of wine when you still have 20 ounces of water left to drink.
- I drink less coffee. Coffee is another bad habit I’d gotten into. Some coffee is fine, but I was drinking almost exclusively coffee until lunchtime before starting this water project. Now, with 84 ounces of water to drink, I’m motivated to alternate coffee and water throughout the morning. It’s cut my coffee-drinking in half from around four cups a day to two.
- …yet I have more energy. You’d think that cutting the coffee in half would mean less energy, but dehydration saps our energy, too. Replacing half of my coffee servings with water has actually made me more energetic.
- My skin breaks out less often. I don’t break out a lot in general, but I do tend to have a small breakout once a month around my period. That still happens, but it’s not as severe and seems to go away more quickly.
- I sleep better. This could be water-related or it could be because I’m drinking less coffee and less alcohol. Both coffee and alcohol interfere with sleep, so it makes sense that cutting back on both would lead to better sleep.
- I don’t pee constantly anymore. When I first started drinking more water, I peed more than when I was pregnant. It was serious, but it didn’t last. After a few months, this seemed to even out, and I’m back to normal.
Drinking enough water wasn’t life-changing for me, but it has helped me break some bad habits. It also just feels good to set a goal and meet it! Do you have any tricks for hitting your water goals? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!