Water you waiting for? This is one habit you need to get on right away!
Drinking water is not just good for your health, it’s good for everything! Every cell in our bodies needs it to function optimally and when we don’t drink enough over a long enough time, we can trigger all sorts of unwanted symptoms and conditions: poor concentration and brain fog, sluggish bowel movements, fatigue, dry skin and hair, irritability, insomnia and weight gain, to name a few.
Even with the best of intentions, most people find it challenging to stick to the water habit.
Okay, it’s not the easiest habit to lock in, so we’re going to coach you through it. This guide looks at the top four reasons people find the habit so hard to stick to and give you hacks to address each one:
1) Plain water tastes bland.
2) It’s easy to forget…even when you’re trying.
3) Those extra bathroom trips are not at all convenient.
4) The recommended daily amount is hard to do (at first)!
Plain water tastes bland!
HOW TO HACK IT:
1. Eat more water-rich foods and meals
Getting more water through meals is an easy win. Soups are great as well as eating more high water content foods. These BTW, contain at least 90 percent water per volume:
- bell peppers
How to make this a habit: Start topping your cereals with berries – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries. Add spinach or broccoli to omelets. Eat the side salads that comes with your restaurant meals. Make soup one of your go-to dishes. Have a smoothie or juice for breakfast 1x week. Keep a water-rich fruit on hand for snacking. Pick a couple of your favorite vegs and fruits and earn to make a few quick delish snacks from them:
- Slices of tomato with feta and basil
- Celery sticks with sunflower seed spread and raisins (substitute filling for gauc)
- Apple with almond butter, slivers of nuts, and raw cacoa nibs
2. Flavor your water
A slice of lemon or lime, raspberry or orange will flavor your water and make it go down easier…and look so pretty in glass containers. Another way to flavor your water is to dilute fruit juices like fresh squeezed OJ with 8-parts water to one-part juice.
3. Drink healthy alternatives
Teas, coconut water, smoothies, fresh-squeezed juices, almond milk, lemonade and sparkling water are all great alternatives to plain water. Btw, if you drink a lot of sodas thinking they count toward your water requirement, think again. In fact, sodas can lead to dehydration. According to Elson Haas, MD, an integrated-medicine physician in San Rafael, Calif., sodas and sweetened drinks trigger chemical reactions that demand significant amounts of fluid to properly process and filter, and can actually dehydrate the body.
It’s Easy to Forget!
HOW TO HACK IT:
4. Link it to another task
If you associate something you do every day with getting your chug on, you’re more likely to remember:
- Have a glass of water first thing in the morning.
- Drink water before every meal. This is a great weight-loss hack too.
- Drink warm or hot water after all meals. Great for digestion and relieves constipation.
- Have more than a sip. Most medications and supplements perform better when you take them with a full glass of water.
- Bring your refillable water bottle to the gym. The experts recommend that we drink water after a workout to replenish the water we lose during exercise.
- Make time for “tea time.” Do like the Brits do and add a “tea-time” break to your day.
5. Schedule It!
- Set 1 or 2 daily reminders on your phone or computer; “Ding…it’s water time!”
- Set out your water bottle in front of you.
- Keep at it. With repeated effort and tries, you’ll remember more and more often.
6. Create a Plan
Create a “Drink-up!” plan around the times that are good time for YOU
When is a good time to have your first glass every day?
Usually right after you wake up!
A biohack that I recommend for weight loss and wellness is to have a glass of water with lemon or Apple Cider Vinegar first thing every morning.
What are some other convenient times?
Think through your day hour by hour and plan other breaks around things you do daily such as have lunch, take a couple afternoon breaks and have dinner. And just like that, you would have identified six markers in your day to drink water.
Plan your last drink of the day: Part of your plan should include a cut-off time in the evening when you stop drinking water; I recommend stopping 3 to 3.5 hours before you go to bed. This can limit nighttime bathroom trips to no more than once a night.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I often recommend routines as a habit formation tool. It’s effective here too, because you and I, if nothing else, are creatures of habit.
7. Have an Ultimate Why
Whatever your goals…be they health, wellness or beauty-related, drinking more water will help. And because having an Ultimate Why is the single best way to motivate yourself to do anything, choose something you can really commit to. And hey, no judgement here! If vanity is gonna do the trick, go with that!
Here’s what you do: Over and over again, think of all the ways water can improve your beauty and skincare game. As you’re apply lip balm notice how the cracks begin to heal when you drink more water. Notice how the whites of your eyes get clearer.
These beauty benefits of drinking adequate amounts of water, are real and should be part of any skincare or beauty regimen:
- Helps to flatten tummy and burn fat.
- Help you to have a better night’s (beauty) sleep.
- Relieves constipation (important for weight maintenance).
- Helps combat skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
- Replenishes skin tissue and increase its elasticity (anti-aging).
- Minimizes bags and dark circles under the eyes.
- Is great for hair and nails because it helps to improve circulation.
- Makes the whites of the eyes brighter and clearer (my fave).
- Minimizes the appearance of cellulite.
- Helps you lose weight and keep it off.
TIP: While we’re on the subject of beauty… could a beautiful water bottle inspire you?
Check out bottles by Soma, the MemoBottle, several including S’well bottles and the BKR 1 Liter bottle on Urban Outfitter, gorgeous Corkcicle bottles, a Fliptop bottle by Sol Water and these by Bobble with built-in filtration.
Too many bathroom breaks!
HOW TO HACK IT:
8. Drink more to go less
The good news is that “going more” is just a phase. The frequent bathroom trips will taper off once your body gets used to being hydrated.
9.Work Some Strategies
These water drinking strategies will help you go less.
- Sip, don’t drink.
When you sip the same amount of water (let’s say sip 6 ounces in 30 minutes vs chugging the same 6 ounces in one go), you lessen your bathroom breaks.
- Drink less coffee, alcohol and soda during the early phase. These are diuretics and they will make you want to go even more.
- Add a pinch of Sea Salt. Your body will hold water infused with Sea Salt longer. Plus, Sea Salt has beneficial minerals and electrolytes. Remember, just a pinch and NEVER use table salt.
- And as mentioned, have a cut-off time in the evening.
72 oz is too much!
HOW TO HACK IT:
10. Do Your Best!
Doing your best is an important mindset to develop. It means not setting high lofty goals you can’t achieve, but committing fully to the ones you set. Starting out, if you can only commit to half the recommended allowance (or about 30 ounces), do that and work your way up. Also, remember that doing your “best” will look different every day. Some days your best will look like 40 ounces, other days it may be less.
11. Start Small and Build
Starting out, you don’t have to force yourself to drink the suggested approximately 64 ounce (I use the half your body weight rule to determine how much water you should consume). Start with a goal of 30 or 40 ounces and increase your intake over time.
Drinking less in the beginning will also cut down on bathroom visits and make this goal less overwhelming for you.
12.Plan to Fail!
For health related goals, the number one reason people give up is because they “fail.” Things start out great, then they forget or go on the wagon for a day, or two, or three, and they think it’s over. Habits take time and even when you have the habit down, you’re going to have days when nothing seems to go right, including your healthy habits but it’s the net result that matters. Remember that you’re not drinking water because it’s a trend, you’re doing it because you recognize that it’s part of how you feel your best, have energy and focus for everything you have to do. And trust me, on those days or during those periods when life is knocking you about, you will be happy that most of the time you were doing one of the simplest and best things for your well-being because you’ll have better health, a clearer mind, more energy and all the other benefits to draw from.