In this week’s challenge, you will learn how much water to drink a day and how to do it effectively.
Drinking sufficient water each day (not soda!) to maintain a healthy level of hydration is a “keystone habit.” It is essentially a catalyst for other good habits. According to Charles Duhigg the author of the book, “The Power of Habit”, “keystone habits” once established, can naturally put the rest of your life in order.
Why stay hydrated?
Conquering your water goal allows you to gain tremendous health benefits including successful weight management. Water is the most important component of losing weight permanently.
And it is the best beverage you can choose for proper hydration levels. (1) Developing this smart hydration habit will aid you in long-term weight loss. Outlined below is my simple 3-step habit change. It will inspire you to increase and automate your water consumption.
Benefits of drinking water
Did you know that about 75% of American are chronically dehydrated? Aqua, however, is crucial for a number of essential body functions. So before we look at “how much water should I drink a day”, we should first deepen the “why”. Proper hydration does the following:
- Keeps your metabolism revved
Drinking water and weight loss go hand in hand. A proper hydration prevents constipation and aids the body in flushing out body waste and fat. If there is not enough fluid in the body, the kidneys do not work properly. In consequence, the body has to recruit the liver to help reduce toxins and waste products. But this means also that the liver cannot properly function and less fat is metabolized. In return, more fat remains in the body and is stored in the fat zones.
- Boosts body performance and concentration
Inadequate fluid intake leads to deteriorating body performance. Even minor dehydration can lead to a worn-out feeling and slowed concentration. Dehydration increases blood viscosity and decreases blood circulation. As a result, muscles use anaerobic metabolism and this decreases body performance and concentration.
- Helps you feeling full
After drinking water, the stomach becomes full and the tendency to overeat decreases. Dehydration on the other side can be misinterpreted as hunger. Thus, one eats despite lack of hunger.
- No calories
I know it's obvious…But I want to emphasize it. Water contains zero calories. As mentioned and referenced above, there is no better replacement for high-calorie bombs such as sodas, sugary drinks, and alcohol that often cause body weight gain.
- Bottom line: Staying hydrated is essential for fat burning, increasing energy, improving digestion and diminishing cravings. What are you waiting for? Before you read on, just grab a glass of extra water. Cheers!
How many ounces of water should you drink a day?
The recommended daily fluid consumption varies according to gender, age, and geographic location. The Institute of Medicine has set an adequate intake of 91 ounces (2.7 liters) for women (about 11 cups) and 125 ounces (3.7 liters) for men (about 15 cups). (2) It is important to note that this is a general guide but not a daily target. For most healthy people about 80% of this comes from beverages – caffeinated drinks included. The remaining liquid comes from what you eat (fruits, vegetables).
To assess your specific needs you may want to use your weight as a measure. Divide your weight in pounds by half. Convert this number to ounces. For instance, if you are a 140 lb. woman, you should attempt to drink 70 oz. (approx. 2 liters) or 8 cups per day.
Eight glasses every day?
That is a lot of liquid! Despite knowing about the many benefits, staying hydrated is still a struggle for most of us.
Sometimes the daily quota is not enough considering the fact that there are situations when you are losing liquid in higher quantities. You may need to increase your liquid intake during hot weather, pregnancy, breastfeeding, flights, or during periods of high physical activity levels.
One thing is sure: For hydration, you should never wait until you are thirsty. By the time the brain signals arrive, dehydration already occurred. A good rule of the thumb is to drink enough liquid that your urine has very little smell or only a light yellow color.
Can you drink distilled water?
If you want to drink distilled water, you can do so without concern. There is no risk of mineral deficiency if you do not drink more than 470 ounces (14 liters) per day. You should only pay attention during physical exertion – in this case, you should preferably avoid demineralized versions.
Baby Steps: How to hydrate effectively
The most crucial factor to successfully increasing your daily water consumption is increasing access to clean water. Carrying a bottle around helps to remind you that you need to drink.
Below is a simple 3-step habit change that will help you to increase and automate your water consumption.
The best thing to do is to start with a tiny behavior you want to automate:
Grab a reusable water bottle and put an inspirational sticker onto it. Or write your name on it with a permanent marker. Now you're ready to drink from it throughout the day. You may put a bottle into your purse, desk drawer, gym bag or car, and be sure to refill it regularly. Water within your reach makes you more likely to sip on it instead of other drinks and can provide a visual inspiration to drink more of this healthy fluid.
- Try setting computer or smartphone reminders that tell you to drink water every 2 hours, or decide on a few other “triggers” like receiving a phone call.
- Develop the routine of drinking a glass (8 oz/250 ml) every two hours or whenever you receive a phone call.
- After one week sticking to this habit, reward yourself with a new perfect reusable stainless steel water bottle (e.g. from Kleen Kanteen) or a BPA-free bottle. Make sure to choose a unique design or your favorite color. The more you identify yourself with your bottle, the less likely you will lose it.
If you are like me sitting at your desk for many hours then the investment in a beautiful glass carafe you see on the picture above would be the healthiest option. Tip: Before buying your reward, go through your existing bottles, carafes, and plastic containers. Toss away old clutter or those that you never use and make room for a helpful companion to enter your life.
Inspirations from my dear readers
A big thank you to my dear readers Dawn, Emily, Julie, Morgan, Pam, Sara, Selvana, Stacy, Tara and Valerie for sending me their beautiful, smart bottles as inspiration for other readers here on LeanJumpStart. The green one is, by the way, my own one – the Tupperware “Sportsfreund”. All bottles are BPA-free.
Tell me how the hydration challenge is going for you
Please tell me how this week's hydration challenge is going. Is it hard for you to drink a glass of H2O every two hours? Is it a big struggle for you going to the restroom more often throughout the day? What is your best tip on how to drink water to lose weight?
My personal tip is fruit infused water for weight loss: Check out my top 24 detox water recipes!
Take it to the next level and learn to drink more water with the advanced 2-week action plan.
Inspirational quotes about water
As a huge quotes fan, I want to end with an thought-provoking quote. Click through for all 43 water quotes and inspirational sayings.