Welcome to the first of our 52 tips – one for each week of 2022 – as we commit to a Full Year of Resolutions together! Instead of making huge and hard-to-stick-to goals, let’s find ways to make small but meaningful changes we can adopt and keep up this year. Our future selves will thank us!
Our first tip for the year is an easy one, but difficult for people to do on a regular basis.
Drink more water.
This is so simple to say, yet so hard to do.
Most of my clients readily admit they aren’t drinking enough water. “I know I should drink more!” they tell me. I’ve found that the average person says they’re drinking somewhere between 24-48 oz. of water a day, which is not even close to enough water for optimal health.
Every system in our body benefits from water. Our body is made up of 45-60% water. The truth is, most of us are walking around with some form of dehydration.
How much water do we need?
The minimum you should be drinking is half your weight in ounces. So for me, a 150-pound woman, I need to be drinking 75 ounces a day. It used to be a lot for me, but now it’s just a regular part of my routine.
Make sure you’re drinking good, filtered water. David and I have an acutrue filter, but there are a lot of good filters out there. We also have a good filter on our fridge, so we can easily access cold, clean water throughout the day.
Many of my clients want to count their coffee, juice, and sodas as part of their water intake. But here is the hard truth: Those don’t count. In fact, most of those things are actually diuretics, which means they’ll leave you even more dehydrated. For every caffeinated drink you consume, you actually need to increase your water intake to counter the diuretic effect.
The Covid Connection: Water Helps Keeps You Healthy
If you’re exercising, out in the sun, or sweating in any way, add extra water. If you are sick, it’s even more important to stay hydrated. If you have a cold, your body needs extra water to help all the processes to work that help flush it out (blowing your nose, etc.) If you have Covid, you need to drink extra water to help flush out sickness through your fever, stuffy nose, and coughing.
Drinking water may even help prevent getting Covid. Doctors hypothesize that hydration levels not only affect how likely it is one will become infected with Covid, but staying well hydrated can also affect the severity of the case (you can read more about this here). Regardless of what kind of sickness you’re battling, you can help your body out by providing the hydration it needs to help you get better.
How do you possibly do it?
Drinking water is hard for a lot of people. Increase by increments. If half your bodyweight sounds impossible, start by drinking an extra 24 ounces. Then work your way up.
Drink a full glass of water right when you wake up. You’re somewhat dehydrated from sleeping, so drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning. It’ll help your brain, organs, skin, lungs, digestive system, muscles…those organs are all about 75-80% water, so you’ll help them function better. When you don’t drink enough, your body pulls water from those places and your organs don’t function as well.
Helpful Tips to Successfully Drink More Water:
I take three insulated containers and fill them first thing in the morning. I drink them throughout the day, and I don’t let myself drink anything else unless I’ve had my water. I have a favorite coconut flavored water I like, but I don’t let myself have it until I’ve had my daily water.
Make it a game. Reward yourself for drinking your water in a healthy way (like my yummy coconut water). Keep score. Challenge your spouse or a friend to do it with you, and keep each other accountable.
I have a friend who does an 8-week family health challenge repeatedly throughout the year. They each put $15 in the pot. Anyone who keeps their goal for the 8 weeks gets their $15 back, plus any left in the pot by other participants. For her health goal, my friend drinks 32 ounces of water before eating or drinking anything else each day. This has become a fun way for her to be accountable and stick to doing something she knows is really good for her. It helps to make that morning water drinking turn into a habit.
How do YOU drink more water? What works for you? We’d love to hear your ideas and tips for staying healthy by drinking water. (Comment below).
Does More Water Equal More Bathroom Breaks?
One of my clients expressed a concern when trying to increase her water intake. She is 120 pounds and has a goal to drink 64 ounces of water a day. She wasn’t enjoying the side effect of having to go to the bathroom so often, especially during the night.
If you experience a similar issue, don’t despair. Your body will adjust to the extra water. It will start to get used to having a fuller bladder and going longer between bathroom breaks (unless you have a more serious bladder issue). Try to drink most of your water before 4 pm. That way you’ve expelled a lot of it before bedtime.
You can also strengthen your bladder muscle and expand the amount it can comfortably contain by holding it a little longer. If you’re at home and have easy access to a bathroom, try not to go when you have the first urge. With practice, you can eventually teach your bladder to hold more liquid.
Give yourself two weeks to adjust and then reassess.
Your Future Self Says Thank you!
Initially you might not notice a big difference, but over time, you will see (and feel) a big change. Do something today that will bring big benefits tomorrow. As life coach Jody Moore teaches, you’re going to sacrifice either way. You can do the work and sacrifice a little now, or you’ll sacrifice in the future with unwanted consequences. This is especially true when it comes to our health.
This is your first of 52 weekly tips we’re going to give here at More Than Healthy. Our hope is that you’ll tune in to our weekly tip each Monday and give it a try. Not all tips will work for everyone, but if you implement a handful of tips throughout the year, these small changes will result in big health dividends over time.
You can find the video recordings of our Monday videos and calls on our More Than Healthy Facebook and Instagram accounts. You can also read more about the important connection between drinking enough water and your health in our book, Eating to Live: Unlocking the Leaky Gut Code, available now.