TIP #1: Begin your day with a tall glass of water, even before your first morning brew or eating breakfast. This serves as a wake up call for your system signaling the beginning of its long day ahead. If you need to use a special cup, go on ahead. Whatever works for you. I’ve actually started to prefer one of the cups we use in my home during the summer months for cookouts. Random, I know, but it’s large and allows me to get in a lot of water.
TIP #2: Get a water bottle AND actually use it! For some reason water bottles are so easy to sit in the cabinet and collect dust. If you have a visible water bottle at your desk or in your bag when you’re on the go, you are more likely to drink more water. So make sure you put your water bottle to good use.
TIP #3: Be creative with your water. If you aren’t used to plain water or get sick of drinking the same thing over and over again, get creative with your water. See the suggestions below. And remember that despite their caffeine content, coffee and teas still count toward you water intake.
- Use lemon, lime, or even orange wedges for flavor.
- Tired of the citrus flavor? Switch up to watermelon, kiwi, cucumber, or even mint for a refreshing change.
- Unsweetened teas are great to become friends with!! There are several bagged teas on the market now, such as berry and other flavored green teas, herbal non-caffeinated teas (apple cranberry is one of my favorites), and flavored black teas that can help you get in more water for the day. These teas often taste good when you include a wedge of lemon or lime, or with a few drops of honey. No need to drown it in sugar! If the tea at your desk becomes cold, turn it into iced tea. When at home, you can make a large batch of iced tea and include a splash of 100% juice for the entire family to enjoy. The key is to experiment with the flavors to see what you like. I know some may be thinking how expensive teas are, because I thought the same thing when perusing through the variety of yogi teas…$4.69 for that little box! When you do the math for the product, however, we spend way more per cup of coffee at Starbucks and even at McDonald’s for that matter.
- Put a splash of 100% juice in your water and vary it up from week to week so you won’t get bored–cranberry, grape, apple, you name it!
- For a bubbly treat, mix 100% juice with seltzer water in a 1:3 ratio–1 part 100% juice to 3 parts seltzer water.
- Coffee even counts toward your water goal, but make sure your coffee isn’t loaded with sweetener.
TIP #4: Drink a cup of warm water after dinner (or even better, after every meal). Even though our bodies will naturally warm up the water that we drink, with any process, this takes time. Understanding the physical laws of chemistry through my grueling undergraduate years, I know that saturated, artery clogging fats are hard at room temperature as well as in cold water, and melt in warmer temperatures. Applying this same logic to our bodies and understanding that it takes time for our system to acclimate in temperature, I can see why some cultures have century-old customs of drinking warm liquids after every meal. Just think of melted fat running through your arteries versus hardened fat trying to move through our systems. I know which one I prefer! Applying this same logic, I’m a big fan of drinking room temperature water instead of ice-cold water. But of course there is the exception of hot sweltering days when our bodies need to cool off!!
These tips above all sound easy in theory, but it’s a matter of finding a strategy that works for you and going with it! Also note that it will be a process. For example, I’m not the biggest fan of plastic water bottles because of the detrimental effects of plastics (and the icing on the cake was learning how bottled water is merely tapped water beautified; see CNN clip here), but if that works for you right now, do what works. And if you aren’t the biggest fan of water’s taste (or lack there of), you may need to put more 100% juice in the water for now and gradually reduce the amount of juice that you put in your mixture. If you are currently downing 2 diet sodas a day, make the goal to cut back to 1 and gradually go down from there.
It’s a matter of incrementally cutting back on the unhealthier drinks and replacing them with the better-for-you drinks. In fact, these gradual changes are preparing you for the day when you won’t even prefer the taste of sugary beverages anymore. And I hope that that day is sooner rather than later!