Increasing Hydration (Mini Series Part 3)
If you have been following this mini-series, you have been convinced that drinking enough water is crucial for your health and daily well-being. Furthermore, you know what counts as water towards your daily hydration goal. Still, somehow, drinking enough water is something that a large portion of us find challenging. Which is interesting, seeing that the need to drink enough water is a consensus opinion in a world where nutrition is often controversial. On an individual level, it is an unemotional behaviour (as opposed to, say, limiting intake), and even provides instant gratification.
Here are some of my favorite tips to help up that fluid intake:
Train yourself to recognize thirst versus hunger
Drink two cups of water and then ask yourself- am I still hungry? This will help you stay hydrated, which is what your body may actually be asking for. It can be a process to retrain your body to recognize water as what it is craving, but you will feel the difference in your well-being when you are finally providing your body with what it is asking for.
Have a method to track intake
The average person has no idea how much water she is actually drinking daily. Tracking how many cups of water you are actually drinking each day can be eye-opening. Once you have that information in hand, you can come up with a realistic plan to adequately hydrate. And of course, if you are drinking enough water already, acknowledging your successes is the best motivation moving forward!
Think about what you like drinking from
Invest in a large refillable water bottle that you can keep on hand. Alternatively, you can add cases of water bottles to your weekly shopping list. Keeping a large cup on the counter next to a sink or water machine to keep refilling. A fun hack is to convert a liter-size deli container into a cup by popping a hole in the cover and sticking a straw in. You then have a four-cup refillable water bottle to sip from. Make it a fun and productive family activity by allowing your kids to make and decorate their own cups to encourage them to drink enough water too.
Use mealtimes as benchmarks
You probably know by now that I am a big fan of mealtimes. This is yet another benefit to having set meals. For example, at each mealtime, remind yourself to drink up another two cups (feel free to personalize your goal) before the next meal/snack. A typical person eating five meals a day will then drink 10 cups of water each day without stressing over it too much.
When embarking on this challenge, a good question to ask yourself is, "What is the smallest effort I can make for the biggest results?” The smaller your behavior change is, and the closer it is to how you already behave, the more likely the new habit will stick. Think about the easiest way to help yourself ease into this new habit of hydrating more fully each day. Drinking enough water will definitely give those big results. Happy hydrating!