When the cold weather brings out plenty of germs and a fresh batch of the flu, I find myself constantly evaluating my health. When it seems like you encounter someone that is feeling miserable everywhere you go, I am extra motivated to keep myself healthy. Waking up in the morning and discovering that you have a sore throat or runny nose is one of the worst feelings. During the winter especially, I do everything in my power to remain healthy. Creating little habits to incorporate daily while you are healthy is so much easier than turning your life upside down when you are sick in order to recover. A few years ago, I finally discovered a secret weapon that not only helps me stay healthy during flu season, but also helps my body feel healthy and happy all year.
The secret weapon: drink more water.
Back in high school, I used to drink Coca Cola religiously. It was my go-to way of rewarding myself; whether I’d completed a day of school, made it through tennis practice, or finished my homework – Coke was my favorite drink. When I wasn’t drinking Coke, I’d find some sort of flavored drink or juice to keep me satisfied. Thinking back on those days, I rarely remember sitting down with a nice cold glass of water.
When I went off to college, I didn’t have a car and quickly discovered my dislike for grocery shopping. It only took a few weeks for me to realize that I’d be stocking up on snacks for my dorm room, and that Coca Cola was too expensive and too much of an inconvenience. It seemed that my only option now was to drink more water. Around this time I started working out regularly, and a combination of events introduced me to a brand new revelation: the water bottle.
Ever since college, I have absolutely loved drinking water. While I still enjoy an ice cold glass of Coke, these treats are few and far between. My husband and I save so much money drinking water and not having to spend money on drinks at the grocery store. My love for water soon turned into a habit, and for many years I have made a point to drink lots of water each day. My day always seems to run smoothly when I drink more water.
Increasing my water intake each day has resulted in so many benefits, many of which I never expected.
Whenever I am feeling sluggish or in a bad mood, I can usually trace the culprit back to drinking less water and filling my body with sugar or bubbles instead. My motivation is lower, my runs are slower and my mood is less happy when I am feeling dehydrated. Not to mention, water helps my body stay healthy and avoid all of the germs that float around everywhere we go.
While many people claim that they don’t enjoy drinking water, I find it hard to believe that someone can dislike something that has absolutely no taste. There may be a few exceptions, but it certainly seems to me that the culprit behind dehydration in areas where water is free and at our fingertips is laziness. (At least for me, this was the case). Prior to college, I never drank water because I was too lazy to fill up a glass. Grabbing a Coke was much easier and so much more exciting. Drinking any significant amount of water during the school day felt nearly impossible, especially since you could only get a couple mouthfuls at the drinking fountain.
For the past 6 years, I have been drinking at least 80 ounces of water each day.
The recommended amount is eight 8 ounce glasses each day, or 64 ounces of water. I picked 80 ounces mostly because it was a convenient amount for me and one that I was able to maintain. Drinking so much water initially seems like quite a drastic change, but ever since I discovered the secret weapon I have been able to complete this with ease each day.
What’s the secret weapon? A water bottle.
It seems so simple, and yet is so strange to begin carrying a water bottle with you. In my fridge, I always have three water bottles. Each day my goal is to finish all three of these water bottles, which together total 80 ounces. My water bottles are like my sidekick – traveling with me, going on car rides, sitting next to me at work, and on the end table while watching TV.
When I first began to drink more water, I had to make a conscious effort to take my water bottle with me when I left. I’d often leave my water bottle on an end table somewhere and forget about it when I went upstairs. I wouldn’t notice until I ate my next meal, and then catching up felt ridiculous. Drinking an entire 32 ounce water bottle in one sitting is quite a feat, and I usually wound up feeling discouraged and giving up. Getting behind early on in the day usually set me up for failure, and knowing that I was already behind decreased my motivation to even continue.
While the beginning took quite a bit of effort to drink more water, after a few weeks – days, even – it began to feel like a habit.
Once I got in the swing of things I knew what to expect, what amount of water made me feel the best, and when I would need to remind myself to take a drink throughout the day. I now aim to finish one 32 ounce water bottle by lunch, my second 32 ounce water bottle by dinner, and my last 16 ounce water bottle by 9pm.
Drinking water has truly revitalized my health. When I am making the healthy choice to drink more water, I notice that I am more likely to choose healthier foods throughout the day. Drinking water feels like a reward after a hard workout, and there’s nothing more satisfying than coming home from a sweaty run to an ice cold glass of water. My sleep has greatly improved since I’ve increased my water intake, along with my focus and energy throughout the day.
According to Medical Daily, 75% of Americans May Suffer from Chronic Dehydration. 75%! That’s shocking. Chronic dehydration is a condition that so many people live with and have no idea. It’s amazing how easy it is to get used to feeling sluggish and tired throughout the day. So many people live like this and don’t know that it isn’t normal, simply because it is what they are used to.
If I was told that there was one simple, free tool that could help me drastically improve my health and mood, I would definitely be interested. Well, it turns out that we have the greatest tool at our disposal, so why not take advantage of it?