No one should argue the importance of drinking water. It's necessary to life, considering our bodies are made up of over 60% water. In fact, many doctors say you can only survive without it for three to four days before your blood pressure is reduced to fatal levels.
Weight loss gurus proclaim you should consume specific quantities of water to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. You've likely heard that you should drink half your body weight in ounces over the course of a day, or the suggestion that you should consume eight ounces with and between each meal.
Set a timer!
Align your water bottles for the day!
Write down your intake every time you drink something!
All this math starts to stress me out. Not to mention I'd prefer not live my life in the bathroom.
Does it really have to be this hard to be hydrated?
The general rule of thumb when it comes to hydration is that you should try and consume 64 ounces (almost two liters) of water a day, hence the eight, 8 ounce glasses recommendation.
That starts to feel like a part-time job if you ask me.
But the benefits of being hydrated are numerous:
- Water helps regulate your body temperature.
- It transports oxygen and energy to your working muscles.
- Dehydration can mask itself as hunger. This means you could be eating hundreds of unnecessary calories.
- Symptoms of deydration can include fatigue, headaches, dry skin and digestive problems.
- Studies show proper hydration can reduce your risk for heart disease and some cancers.
- Replacing sugary drinks with water is an effective strategy for weight loss.
Let's cut through all the recommendations and get real.
How much do we REALLY - I mean REALLY - need?
I have excellent news for you. NOT as much as you think.
Here's what's forgotten in that generalized daily 64 ounce recommendation:
Coffee counts. Caffeinated beverages may be considered mildly diuretic by some but the truth is they do not cause you to lose fluid in excess of the volume ingested. Two cups of coffee in the morning? You've already reached 1/4th of your goal.
Food counts. Water accounts for a high percentage of the molecular makeup of many fruits and vegetables with the added bonus of fiber, vitamins and nutrients. If you consume any of the foods on the list below, you have automatically contributed to your daily water intake. (Yay)
Let's say you average four servings of fruit and vegetables a day (you can do better, by the way). We'll attribute three of those eight ounce glasses of water to your food intake.
All of a sudden, you have accounted for well over half of your water "requirement" without even trying!
Consuming the remaining three 8 ounces glasses of water or unsweetened beverages sure seems a lot more doable, doesn't it?
A great rule of thumb we share with all of our clients is that when your urine is pale (think weak lemonade), you are hydrated. There is no need to make this any more difficult or put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
And of course, you should definitely compensate for exercise or hot environments and increase your intake to recover the fluids you have lost.
The truth of the matter is this is yet another example of over-complicating something we are all pretty good at already.
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