There’s a lot of hype around drinking enough water, but is it really that important?
YES! Staying hydrated isn’t just a good nutrition goal to have, it’s essential for good health.
Minor dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, while severe dehydration can lead to kidney failure and can even be fatal.
On top of all that, dehydration can really hold you back from reaching your weight loss goals. Water is a natural appetite suppressant, helping you to not overeat. It also helps improve metabolic function, and makes it easier to max out your workouts.
I recommend drinking between 12 and 16 cups (not glasses but cups) of water a day, and never less than 10. Here are four ways that you can stay hydrated all the time!
Make a Water Schedule
Making a schedule is really helpful when you’re trying to reach a hydration goal. These are my two favorite ways to schedule your hydration:
- If you have a pretty regular schedule, you can just plug your water drinking in to your day. I’m definitely a schedule and list oriented person, so I fit my water drinking into my daily routine the same way every day. I drink two cups immediately upon waking, then two more by 9am, four cups by noon, four more cups by 3pm, and four more by 6pm. You can even set alarms on your phone to remind you!
- If you’re more visual, try getting a gallon of water and marking out a timeline on it with a permanent marker. Draw lines that split up the jug into manageable segments and write times that goes with them. For example, you could draw a halfway line and write 1 o’clock next to it as a reminder to drink half your water by 1pm.
Eat Water-Rich Foods
According to the Institute of Medicine, about 20% of our total water intake comes from food. Eating foods with a high water content is not only good for staying hydrated; these foods are also typically low in calories, making them healthy snacks.
Make sure you still get your 12-16 cups of water, though, since you can’t measure the water you get from these foods. Better safe than sorry!
With that said, some of my favorite water-dense foods are watermelon, cucumber, celery, and strawberries. Not only do these foods have a high water content, they are also nutrient rich, full of fiber, and just plain tasty 😉
Eat a Liquid-Based Meal
Another great alternative to drinking all of your water is eating a water-based meal. In addition to helping you hydrate, a smoothie or a soup will also help you fill up faster while cutting back on calories. Don’t forget: water is a natural hunger suppressant.
Broth-based soups are a great way to eat your water, but soup isn’t exactly the first thing you want to reach for in the heat of summer. A smoothie, on the other hand, is a great way to whip up a cool, heat-friendly, water-rich meal. You can even throw in a few water-dense foods to up the hydration factor while adding more flavor and nutrients. Add a scoop of IdealShake to make it a complete meal.
Mix It Up!
If drinking 12 cups of plain water each day makes you want to gag, try mixing it up a bit. There are plenty of ways to add flavor to your water without adding tons of sugar and extra calories.
You can try adding lemon slices or other fruits to your water to up the flavor factor. Drinking unsweetened tea is another great way to add some interest to your water routine.
My personal favorite addition to a glass of cold water is IdealBoost. Not only does it help me drink all the water I need it also gives me a great boost of energy and helps me crush cravings in between meals. IdealBoost contains Slendesta®, a potato protein extract that suppresses hunger for 3 whole hours!