My partner has been commenting recently on the amount I drink. Now, I’m not an alcoholic before you jump to conclusions. He is amazed by the amount of water I drink in a day, which is something I never thought of as strange before he pointed it out.
Let us look at the facts. About 60% of a man’s body is water. In women, it is 55%. The internet has told me so. You are also meant to drink 8 glasses of water a day, as my HIIT instructor reminds us weekly. That’s a good sized glass not a puny little sippy cup. It’s the equivalent of about 2 litres a day.
To some people that sounds fine and to others it’s a ridiculous amount. My partner and I are prime examples. He drinks a cup of tea when he gets to work and maybe one in the afternoon. He will have a glass of squash with dinner and take a glass of water to bed and that’s it. I drink a glass of water with breakfast, a cup of tea when I get to work, then I chain drink water and tea all day at work, another glass when I get home, one with dinner, another couple in the evening and I take one to bed and it’s empty by the morning. I’m rarely seen without a glass of water to hand, it’s just a habit now.
We are probably both extreme examples but I would like to promote my side (because this is my blog and I can do what I like) and also because of the health benefits of drinking plenty of water.
Firstly, it is very hard to overdose on water so there aren’t really any downsides to drinking a lot of the stuff. If you are exercising it replaces lost fluids, if you are drinking alcohol it reduces the effects of a hangover, if you are ill it helps to flush out your system, if you are trying to lose weight it fills you up so you naturally eat less.. It’s win win. The trick is getting into the habit.
The good thing is that once you are in the habit of drinking a lot of water, your body will ask for it and remind you. Personally, I get a dry throat after about an hour of not drinking anything, and then I have an excuse to get out of my desk chair and stroll down to the kitchen for more water, aiding circulation and all sort of other boring benefits that we look for in the office-based workplace.
Start by noticing how much water you are drinking at the moment. Tea, coffee and squash can be included but tea and coffee count less because caffeine dehydrates you at the same time. Once you have your base starting point, you are aiming to increase that to at least 8 glasses per day. Here are some ways to think about drinking more.
- Every time you eat, have a glass of water at the same time. If you are taking sips as you eat that will also slow down the speed you eat, which is better for your digestion system and helps your brain figure out when it is full.
- If you feel hungry, have a glass of water instead of a snack. The water will fill your stomach to dampen the feeling of hunger. (Doesn’t help with the craving for sugar or salt but that’s just mind over matter I’m afraid)
(Side note: did you know that your stomach cannot differentiate between being hungry or thirsty? If you are still hungry after dinner the chances are you are actually thirsty and a glass of water or two will make that feeling go away)
- If you have any kind of habit at the moment that interrupts your day already, tag drinking water onto it. E.g. each time you want to chew gum, or smoke, or after you go to the bathroom, just add getting another glass of water into the existing routine.
- If you finish your glass, go and top it up again straight away. If there is always water available you are much more likely to drink even through a busy work day.
I find it helps to have a glass rather than a 2 litre bottle, which some people use, because I find that if the water sits there it starts tasting stale, which puts me off, or the bottle starts tasting funny. But just find what works for you.
Try it for a couple of weeks and report back. How easy was it for you to get into the habit of drinking more? Were you able to work it around your routine? Were there any methods you came up with to remind yourself to drink more?