If you’ve read my About Me page, you’ll know that I am on a quest to find happiness by making changes and experimenting with new things, but I’m trying to keep it manageable and realistic by doing only one small thing at a time. On this journey, one key truth I’ve realized is that it is so important to take care of yourself.
One of my closest friends has often described me as having “such a big heart”, but lately she has, (in as nice a way as possible), really been pushing me to take better care of myself. both physically and mentally.
And you know what? She’s totally right! She’s worried about me because I haven’t been myself and truly, we can not take care of anyone else, until we can properly take care of ourselves!
We are made up of 70% water, so drinking enough water is absolutely critical to our health. And yet, most people are severely dehydrated. In taking some steps to take better care of myself, I recently made a very conscious effort to increase how much water I drink and it has made a huge difference to my general feeling of well-being.
Why You Should Drink More Water
1) Increases Energy
Dehydration can leave you feeling run down and tired. When you feel that afternoon slump coming around, before reaching for the coffee pot or a caffeinated energy drink, try reaching for a glass of water. Drinking even just a single glass of water can increase your energy level dramatically.
2) Keeps You Alert
Our brains are nearly three-quarters water, so even mild or temporary dehydration can alter your brain function and impact your mood. In the short-term, dehydration leads to fuzzy short-term memory, problems focusing, and general brain fog, but prolonged dehydration can also lead to a number of serious health problems including increased cholesterol, low blood pressure, premature aging, and even dementia.
3) It Helps You Lose Weight!
Last year, I joined a weight loss group and while I didn’t end up “sticking with it”, one tip I did take away was that our bodies often mistake thirst for hunger. If you’ve ever found yourself snacking all day but still “peckish”, chances are you might actually be thirsty! When you feel like reaching for the cookie jar or that extra snack, try drinking a glass of water first.
If you’re still hungry after 15 mins, then have a bite to eat, but a lot of the time you won’t need to. This will eliminate excess calories from unnecessary snacks and so boosts weight loss. But beyond that, water also helps to regulate your metabolism, boosts your energy when working out and so much more. Drinking more water is such a simple way to help you lose weight.
4) Boosts The Skin’s Glow.
Just before I decided to take the plunge and start Only One Small Thing, I was on a two-day business trip and I woke on the second morning of the trip with an enormous zit. Honestly, I ended up spending an extra 10-15 minutes on my make-up routine, simply trying to cover this monstrosity. Fast forward a week or so and while that monster had shrunk, it still hadn’t completely gone. Add to this, that despite moisturizing twice a day, my T-zone was super dry and I was also breaking out like crazy. Seriously, I’m in my 30’s why was I dealing with teenage zits!
But when I increased my water intake, I noticed an improvement in my skin almost straight away. Within just a few days, my zits cleared, my skin no longer felt dry (it felt like my moisturizer actually worked again) and my skin genuinely got a slight glow. So next time your skin feels less than its best – before you reach for expensive creams, face masks or serums, simply try some extra hydration!
5) Reduces Headaches
For years, I used to suffer from frequent headaches. I do suffer from allergies and as a result frequent sinus infections and had always put my headaches down to my crappy sinuses and stress. What I didn’t realize was my unhealthy diet and chronic diet was actually causing almost all of my frequent headaches. So if you suffer from headaches as I did, try drinking more water and see if they stop. Life is so much better when you don’t have a headache!!
6) Improves Digestion
Remember when I said that humans are 70% water? Well, our digestive systems need plenty of water in order to digest food properly. The problem is that more and more people are consuming fancy coffees and energy drinks rather than water and as these caffeinated drinks actually cause dehydration, it is no surprise that digestive problems and IBS are on the rise. Water along with fiber helps to cure constipation and generally to keep you “regular”.
7) Helps You To Detox & Cleanse
Water is essential to flush toxins and waste products from the system. The more water you drink, the better your liver and kidneys will function in order to flush toxins from your system.
8) Improves Your Ability To Exercise
Most people know to drink water when working out in order to replace what is lost in sweat, but did you know you need to make sure you’re well-hydrated before exercising, as well as during and after? Dehydration slows you down and ultimately makes your workouts harder so hydrating before you work out with make it easier and as water replenishes your muscles, organs, & cells it is also essential to help you to recover and heal after exercise!
How Much Water Do I Need To Drink?
For a long time, the common recommendation has been to drink 8 glasses of water (roughly 64 oz or 2l of water) each day and if this sounds like more than your current intake it’s a great place to start. However, as our water needs vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including age, weight, general health, and lifestyle, this general guideline amount may not be sufficient.
More recent studies recommend that in order to figure out how much water you should drink you should take your weight in lbs, divide it in half and drink that amount in ounces (so if you weigh 200lbs, you should drink 100oz of water each day) or you should drink roughly 30mls of water per kilo of weight (so if you weigh 100kg, you should drink roughly 3000ml/ 3l of water each day).
Based on my own experience, this more recent recommendation seems to be a more accurate indicator of my own hydration needs, but honestly, it’s best to simply listen to your body. A good indicator of your level of hydration is the color of your urine – if you’re adequately hydrated your pee should be almost clear, if it’s not, you likely do need to drink more water.
Can I Drink Too Much Water?
Technically, yes, you can drink too much water, as your kidneys do need to be able to process the amount of water you are drinking. But that is really how much water you are drinking at once, more than how much you are drinking over the course of the day. So don’t guzzle gallons of water at a time, instead drink it a glass at a time. The guidelines I found showed that if you keep the volume to less than a 30oz or 1L in an hour you should be fine.
How Can I Drink More Water?
Drinking the right amount of water is partly habit and partly creativity. Most people will acknowledge they need to drink more water, but a lot don’t enjoy plain water or simply find it boring. But if you really want to increase your water intake, there are a few easy things you can do to drink more water such as making sure that you pair water with parts of your routine, try sparkling or flavor-infused water and always carry a water bottle with you.
So remember, your body needs water. Take care of your body and it will take care of you!