Did you know that hydrated and being happy go hand in hand? Did you know if you are irritated, confused, tired, constipated, have strong food cravings or a headache you may be dehydrated? When your body does not have what it needs, it lets you know. Of course there can be other factors, but drinking water is a simple, cheap and easy way to feel better mentally and physically. We all have a “stress threshold” of how much we feel like we can handle on a given day. Being dehydrated can lower your ability to handle stressors and can leave you feeling run down. Drinking water could improve your mood, help you feel better physically and may help you lose weight.
How Much? If you hardly drink water, try drinking 1 extra water bottle per day than your average. Congratulate yourself each time you drink any amount more of water. You are helping your body!
The Institute of Medicine recommends drinking 9-13 cups/2-3 L of water for the average person. A cup is 8 ounces which is a lot less than you may think. Another recommendation is to drink half (in ounces) of your weight (in pounds). If you weigh 200lbs = 100oz = 12 cups.
Or try drinking an 8 ounce schedule like this:
1. First thing in the morning 1-2
2. Between breakfast and lunch 1
3. With Breakfast 1
4. Between lunch and dinner 1
5. With lunch 1
6. Between lunch and dinner 1-2
7. With dinner 1
Or drink a 20 oz water bottle 1 all morning before breakfast, 1 all morning before lunch and 1 all afternoon before dinner. That leaves a half of water bottle before bed.
Listen to Your Pee
How do you know if you are getting the amount you need? Your pee tells all. I’m serious. Clear or light urine tells you that you are hydrated while darker yellow or amber tells you that your body does not have enough. Water helps you dump toxins and waste so it does not stay in your body so you really do want enough water!
Some people do not like the taste of water or feel bored drinking the same thing. The reality is you are depriving your body and asking it to work harder every day with less. This puts your body in a tight spot and it will complain. Try adding fruit like lemon, lime, pineapple, orange, berries, cucumber, or watermelon to make it more flavorful. You can even freeze the fruit in chunks to make your own ice cubes. Use water to make tea (watch possible increase in caffeine intake) or a smoothie. Or reach for a water bottle to satisfy your thirst and after sip a smaller amount of a drink you prefer. Ideally, if you use flavor packets look for ones without artificial colors or preservatives. If you find yourself hungry and craving snacks, try drinking water first. Your body may just be telling you it is dehydrated. Be clever and snack on cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, cucumber, celery, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, leafy greens or other foods with a higher water content.