In the past when I tried to “get healthy,” I attempted to change my entire life all at once, and it never worked.
This time I wanted to start smaller.
I began thinking critically about the unhealthy habits in my life. The first thing that popped into my head was soda. At that point I drank soda almost exclusively, and if not soda it was a sugary coffee beverage. Where I drank lots of sugar and caffeine, I was consuming little to no water.
I conducted some research to learn what my body was missing out on. I knew the body was largely made up of water, but I wanted details.
Although percentages vary across sex and age, healthy humans are all made up of more than 50% water. Individual organs contain varying percentages of water as well. The brain and heart are made up of approximately 73% water, and the lungs roughly 83%.
Water has a ton of jobs, too. It helps the brain function, distributes oxygen throughout the body, it’s essential for cells to reproduce and thrive, and it has many other important functions. It’s crucial, and I’m sure this isn’t news to anyone. Nonetheless, getting informed about H2O motivated me to change my hydration habits.
Here are a few items and strategies that helped me start drinking more water.
1. A Better Bottle
I realized immediately that my current water bottle wasn’t going to work. It was clunky, big and didn’t keep water cool for longer than an hour or two. I really don’t like drinking room temperature water.
Luckily, these days there are some pretty incredible water bottles that keep liquids cool for hours on end, like this one from Public Goods. I tested it out and it keeps water cool for hours. Plus, the sleek stainless steel design makes it easy for me to carry around, stands up to any daily wear and tear you can dish out, and is really easy on the eyes! For me it was also important to get something practical for carrying, not too heavy or bulky.
I also wanted to have something I liked the look of — we were going to be seeing each other often after all! Having water readily available throughout your day makes it easier to choose to drink it.
2. Stop the Sugar, Cut the Caffeine
Because soda and sugary coffees were my main source of “hydration,” you can imagine that it was difficult to cut down on the sugar and caffeine. Something that helped me was water additives. You can find a variety of water additives at most grocery stores. You just put them in water, and they add some flavor.
Though some may contain sugar and caffeine, it’s not nearly the amount in most sodas, and there are sugar and caffeine-free varieties as well. Now that I don’t depend on caffeine day to day, I have a soda every once in a while. All things in moderation.
3. Sweat It Out, Drink It In
I know that after I do some exercise, I crave ice cold water. Do activities that make you want to drink water! If you haven’t been physically active for a long time (like me), start with something a little less intense like a beginner’s yoga class.
4. Track It
There are tons of apps that help you track how much water you’re drinking. The one I use has a little plant, and each time you log water the plant gets a drink too.
Tracking your intake can be motivating and helps you to really see your progress. Make sure your water intake is right for you. Many factors influence how much water a person should consume. Even water isn’t good for you if you drink too much!
Take It One Drop at a Time
Healthy habits don’t all have to happen at once. In fact, gradual change is recommended over a complete lifestyle overhaul. Pace yourself and be realistic, it’s easier to commit to changes if you start small.
Drinking water hasn’t given me the perfect healthy lifestyle. However, this small change helped give me more confidence and put me on a path to feeling better in my body.
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