How To Drink More Water Daily
I’ve always been able to find articles that stress the importance of drinking lots of water. They always tell you why it’s important to drink water and sometimes they even tell you the average person’s proper intake amount. However, they don’t tell you how to drink more water. I’m going to share some practical tips that have helped me get on track with drinking more water — the proper daily amount.
Quick Note: Although it has been reported by WebMD (back in 2008) that drinking 8 glasses of water is not based on any scientific evidence, but is merely a guideline, I still believe in (and have personally experienced many of) the wonderful benefits that keeping your body properly hydrated brings to your overall health.
So what is the definition of dehydration?
Dehydration is a condition that occurs when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in.
Basically, your body outputs water every day in multiple ways and you should make an effort to match it’s output to keep yourself from drying out. There are many ways to consume water, like from certain foods or other liquids, but my tips, below, focus on the main thing — good old H2O.
I used to think that dehydration was just an “over time” kind of thing, but now I know that I can be hydrated one day and dehydrated the next. This is because we loose water on a daily basis. With dehydration, there are levels: Mild, Moderate, and Severe. To my understanding, severe dehydration is something that occurs over a period of time of not being properly hydrated each day and is serious and life-threatening. However, a lack of fluids for one day can definitely result in dehydration, which is why our bodies require proper hydration (H2O) on a daily basis.
So, back to my hydration strategies…
For some people, drinking water is second nature. Maybe they’re more athletic or active, therefore their brains tell them that they’re thirsty more often. Or maybe it’s easier for them due to other reasons. I don’t know. But I do know that drinking enough water each day for me had been very tough for a few years.
During college, I’d become accustom to putting all of my focus into my schoolwork (and into whatever day jobs I had at the time) that I didn’t really think of drinking water throughout the day. This carried on into my day job (which was extremely stressful). Even when my eating habits remained normal, my water-drinking habits suffered and began to dwindle over the years. I’m sure it was due to enormous amounts of stress paired with not knowing how to correct the issue (which I was unaware of at that time).
I began to notice some unpleasant changes in my body. I would have major headaches, constant heart-palpitations, extremely dry throat in the mornings, a growing lack of focus, dark urine, plus dry skin & hair. I was suffering from dehydration.
Once I began to eliminate all things stressful from my life (I also began attending yoga classes), I was able to actually acknowledge the fact that I was dehydrated. This lead me to looking into finding a way to get myself back to drinking more water. I’m happy to share my tips with you in hopes that they might help you too!
1. How much water do YOU need each day?
This is something that’s going to be different for everyone because we’re not all the same size, weight, height, or shape. Also, everyone’s not at the same activity level as each other. Some people workout, play sports, or dance regularly while others may sit in a chair for majority of each day of the week. Either way, it’s important to find out what is the best daily water intake for you rather than searching for the average person. So I did just that. I Googled: “How much water should a 103lb woman drink each day?” With this search, I found an article with a weight & ounces chart that made the answer very clear for me.
2. How do I drink more water each day?
Here’s a biggie. I found a strategy that works well for me and my mindset. Since the chart I mentioned above tells me that I need about 67-ounces of water each day, I decided to do some math to find out how that could factor into my typical way of drinking water (via bottle).
Each bottle of spring water holds 16.9 ounces. Typically, I was struggling to get through one of those each day while working, eating, studying, or whatever else I did with my time throughout the day. This was horrible and I was gradually becoming dried out. So I said to myself, “How many bottles of water do I need to drink in order to reach 67 ounces?” Well, 67oz divided by 4 (an educated guess) is 16.75oz of water. So, four 16.9oz bottles equals 67.6oz of water. Great! All I have to do is drink about 4 bottles every day. But wait! I can barely drink one bottle each day, how in the heck am I going to manage drinking four?
3. My daily “Water Block” schedule. Breaking It Down.
Here’s where my main solution comes in. More math. Each bottle of water holds about 2 and a half cups each. Knowing that drinking 4 bottles would equal a day’s amount of water for me, I decided that I can pour my bottled water into a glass and commit to drinking one glass (only 2 cups) every 4 hours! That’s only 1 cup every two hours. When you break it down like that, it doesn’t seem like so much. It doesn’t seem like a chore.
Helpful Tip: Pour only a cup at a time (or half a bottle) into your glass. Something about seeing this small amount of water in a clear glass makes it so much easier to drink at a faster rate.
This is the main thing that helped me turn my lack-of-drinking problem into a day of delightful hydration. I added it to my schedule in 4-hour chunks. I use my iCal a lot for projects, life stuff, appointments, etc. and it’s pretty blocked out each week already, so I decided to use the Google Calendar app for scheduling my water blocks only. I get up around 8am each day, so that’s when my first “water block” begins. My calendar app alerts me at the start of each four hour block and is very helpful. Here’s what my Water Block Schedule looks like:
4. From a glass or from a bottle?
As I mentioned before, over the last few years I’d been struggling to drink more than one bottle of water. I’d also been suffering from constant headaches. One day I poured my bottled spring water into a glass and drank it from there in an attempt to reduce my headaches. I thought that maybe sucking water from a bottle was contributing to creating tension headaches. Whether or not that was true, I haven’t found out yet, but I did realize that it was much easier to drink my spring water from a glass (which has a larger opening, meant for pouring) than a bottle. So that’s how I transitioned from the daily bottle to the daily glass (unless I’m out & about, of course). I still buy the pre-measured 16.9oz bottles of spring water, but when I’m home, I pour it into a glass.
5. Out of sight, out of mind.
Another thing I learned during my progress to drinking more water was that whenever my bottled water was off to the side somewhere, I very easily forgot about it. Keep your glass of water in front of you, rather than off to the side, so that you will remember it’s there. This works great when you’re at your desk, at the dinner table, out to eat, etc. Grab a coaster and keep your water directly in your sight.
6. Remember that you are helping your body maintain good health.
Lastly, the first thing that started my progress towards drinking more water each day was educating myself. I began doing research on the health importance of keeping myself hydrated every day. After experiencing some of the negative effects of dehydration and reading about others, it pushed me into the opposite direction of allowing myself to be dehydrated. It also kept me thinking about all of the wonderful things that water does for my body, inside and out. All in all, the more you learn about the health benefits, the more you’ll want to step up your efforts in keeping yourself hydrated.
According to nephrologist Steve Guest, MD, our brain and kidneys work together to determine how much fluid to release or hold onto for reserves. With that said (and knowing that our bodies expel large amounts of fluids on a daily basis) it makes me more eager to help my body maintain a good, regular amount of water to keep things running smoothly. Drinking water at regular or balanced intervals, such as in the 4-hour blocks described above, will help make sure that I’m replacing my body’s natural daily fluid loss.
Ultimately it’s about breaking this very important task down into smaller, more manageable pieces to make it easier to take on and accomplish your hydration goals (and at a faster rate). It’s also about maintaining a healthy mindset. Think: “I’m helping my body maintain it’s health and beauty.”
If you’re into games and competition, think of it as a game of beating time: Drinking the 2 cups before the four hour block has passed. Or drinking 1 cup before the two hour half-point has passed. (Of course, depending on your weight and activity level, your numbers will differ from mine, but you’ll still be able to divide your numbers into manageable chunks).
Finally, remember all the wonderful things water does for you, besides keep you alive! Think about not only how it improves your skin and outer appearance, but also how it waters your organs, eases the work your heart has to do, and improves your overall health.
Let this motivate you to drink more water.