Water is the essential fuel for life and without it we won’t last long. Yet so many of us don’t drink enough, putting a strain on our bodies, our minds and even our spirits.
When we’re evenly mildly dehydrated our body cannot work efficiently, we get tired more easily, find it difficult to concentrate and are more likely to get ill.
In the UK we’re told to drink 6 to 8 glasses a day, while in the US the recommendation is for eight 8 ounce glasses a day.
A recent article suggested that men need around 3.7 litres or 125 ounces of water daily and women around 2.7 litres or 91 ounces of water, with at least 80% of this coming from drinks while the rest can be from our food.
But if we’re looking for a more personalised recommendation, we can look to our own body weight as a guide. First we need to find out our weight in pounds. Let’s say we weigh 70 kilograms, that’s approximately 154 pounds. Now we divide this figure in half, giving us 77. This number is how many ounces of water we should be drinking each day. We can convert this into pints or litres to make a more useful measure, so our 77 ounces equates to almost 4 pints or just over 2 litres.
WEIGHT (in pounds) divided by 2 = the number of ounces of water we should be drinking each day.
154 pounds divided by 2 = 77 pounds = 77 ounces of water, or about 3¼ pints, or just over 2 litres.
Of course, it’s not just our weight that matters. The more exercise we do, the more water we should be drinking. In hot weather or inside with the central heating on, we’re going to need more too.
A useful indicator is the colour of our wee. If we’re drinking plenty throughout the day, it should be a nice (not sure that’s quite the right word!) light straw colour.
So now we can work out how water we need to be drinking, we just need to get on with it. Here are some tips that have helped me to increase the amount of water I drink every day.
- Using your preferred calculation, find a container that holds the amount of water you need to drink in a day. Keep topping up from here through the day and make sure it’s all gone by bedtime. Nice and simple.
- Drink a big glass of water as soon as you wake up. Leave it next to your bed so you don’t forget. To keep it cool, you can add ice cubes the night before, or leave it at the front of the fridge ready to grab.
- Drink a big glass of water before every meal. Not only is this a great example of habit stacking, (the idea that we’re more likely to remember and implement new habits if we link them to already established routines) but it can help to speed up your metabolism and aid digestion. You should also start to feel more satisfied earlier in your meal, helping to avoid over-eating.
- If you feel the urge to snack, why not drink a glass of water first. Sometimes the sensations of hunger or thirst are easily confused. Give it ten or fifteen minutes after drinking and your craving may just have passed.
- More habit stacking ideas – leave a glass of water by the kettle, or the toaster, or the cooker, so you can drink it while you wait for them to do their stuff. Think about the transition points in your day, or the times you are waiting around and consider how you can set yourself up to associate them with drinking another glass of water.
- Get a water bottle or cup that you love. You’ll be more likely to use it and get into the habit of taking it out and about. Have a look here, here and here for some nice ones (not affiliate links, just helpful ones, I hope).
- Add in a glass of sparkling water a day to give you some variety.
- Add slices of lemon or cucumber, or maybe some ice cubes or fresh herbs. You can also freeze small pieces of fruit and use those as ice cubes to flavour your water, not just improving the taste but making it more visually appealing too.
- Try using a straw, sometimes we drink faster this way.
- Start recording your water intake with a tracker.
- Use coloured elastic or hair bands on your wrist or on the cup itself. Move them across to the other wrist or down the cup as you drink helping keep track of how much you still have left to meet your target. Or you could use magnets on the fridge or a tally count on your calendar or daily planner.
- Set reminders or alarms on your phone, or just leave yourself notes around the house reminding you to have a drink.
- Consider whether you could drink more if you varied the temperature of the water. I’ve started drinking so much more water since I realised I like it much better at room temperature. I keep a jug out on the kitchen side, while the rest of my family like their water chilled. Maybe you might prefer warm water infused with lemon? Experiment and see what works best for you.
If you’re not sure why you should be drinking more water, check out this post. I’d love to know what’s helped you to drink more, please let me know in the comments and keeep drinking x