How To Stay Hydrated

From Holly Phillips M.D.

We are water.  In fact, about 60% of the average adult’s body weight is made up of H2O.

So it’s no surprise that the more well hydrated you are, the better you feel – Water boosts your energy, improves your digestion, decreases your appetite, and makes your skin glow.  Although recommendations vary on how much water we need, The Institute of Medicine suggests women aim to take in 2.2 liters, and men 3 liters a day.

Unfortunately, drinking enough isn’t always easy.  As I discuss in my book “The Exhaustion Breakthrough,” thirst isn’t always the first sign you’re dehydrated – often fatigue is.  And many people get so used to being thirsty that they ignore the nagging physiologic alarm altogether.

But fret not, you can trick yourself into imbibing more of the calorie free refresher with these quick tips:

  1. Lug Around Your Day’s Supply – Buy or fill 3 bottles of water and bring them to work with you in the morning.  If you’re on the go all day, display the bottles in a place you’ll have to pass by frequently, like your front door, and keep one with you at all times.  The visual of how much (or how little) you’ve had throughout the day is a great motivator.  
  2. Eat It – Water-filled fruits and veggies count too.  Some of the best choices to wet your palate: lettuce, celery, tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and apricots.
  3. Make It Fancy- Try freezing kiwi, strawberries or grapes in ice cubes to zest up your glass.  Or drop in some lemon slices and cucumber.  No science here, but there’s nothing wrong with infusing your otherwise flavor-free glass with some zing.
  4. Make It Fizzy- Sparkling water is still water.  And bubbles are calorie free.
  5. Use An App- Just when you thought your smartphone couldn’t do any more, it turns out it can also help regulate your bodily functions.  Apps like DailyWaterFree, WaterMinder, and WaterLogger keep track of how much you’re drinking and remind you when you need a gulp.
  6. Set An Alarm- No need to go high-tech, an old fashion alarm will do just fine.  Set one to go off each hour and then use the following 60 seconds to recharge and rehydrate.  Take 10 gulps of H20, 10 deep breaths, and stretch your arms to the ceiling and down to your toes.  Voila! Instant energy.
  7. Use Colorful Straws- Some people find they’re more likely to mindlessly sip when drinking through a straw, and hence take in more.  Try some fun colors and shapes to relive your 4th Grade lunchroom days and enjoy.
  8. Drink Before You Eat- Drink a glass of water before each meal.  Sometimes our bodies confuse thirst with hunger, and staying hydrated can help keep cravings (especially for salty snacks) at bay.  It may also be good for your waistline – Research shows we take in fewer calories during meals if we drink water first.
  9. Water Down Your Favorites- If you’re a sports drink or fruit juice junkie, making the switch to flavor-free fluids might be a challenge. Instead, try a slow taper: 2 parts water with 1 part sweet drink, and dilute gradually from there.  Soon you’ll find that a little drop of the sweet stuff will do you.
  10. Warm It Up- Who doesn’t love comfort drinks?  The soothing routine of waking up to a morning cup of joe or decompressing with cocoa in front of the fire is more about holding hot mug and feeling the steam on your face than the beverage itself.  De-stress any time of the day with a cup of warm water, lemon and honey: Just breathe and relax.

For more from Dr. Holly Phillips see her guide to a digital detox, also see her advice for how to unwind before bed