It’s only now that I drink a lot more water that I am able to recognise the impact dehydration had/still has on me.
When I don’t drink enough water, I experience brain fog, feel more tired, moody; my eyes and tongue are dry, I have headaches, poor sleep, trouble focusing and my skin looks awful.
The thing is, I was never a big ‘water-drinker’. That’s because I was (and still am) the kind of person who always has to pee, and I had no interest in doing more of that.
But once I quit smoking, I realized that thirst had a noticeable impact on my cravings. So, I had to choose: either I drank more or went back to smoking. After numerous set backs, I finally opted for drinking more.
To my own surprise, within only a couple of weeks, I went from barely drinking 500 ml of water per day, to drinking 2.5 litres. Sometimes even 3 litres, depending on different variables.
At first, it was a challenge, but it became easier with time, especially once I started implementing the following strategies:
1. Drink your first glass of water as soon as you wake up
The sooner I drink my first glass of water after waking up, the more likely I am to reach my goal. at the end of the day.
Not only do I have ‘more hours’ in the day to drink (it’s logical: if you drink between 9 AM to 9 PM, you can get more “glasses in” than if you drink between 1PM and 9 PM).
But also, if I start drinking water first thing in the morning, I get more thirsty throughout the day. This makes everything easier: I don’t have to force myself to drink more; I actually want to drink more.
But if I wake up, go about my day, and wait 2-3 hours before drinking water, then I won’t feel like drinking water as much throughout the day.
2. Keep track of your water intake throughout the day
Ever since I started tracking how much water I drink, my consumption has dramatically increased. I now drink between 1.8 and 3 litres of water per day, depending on the season, my level of physical activity, what I ate etc.
I believe that the key to progress no matter the area is to keep track.
Use an app, a spreadsheet, a pen and paper, a notebook… whatever! but track your water consumption everyday, so that you can see your progress.
Personally, I have been using the free version of the Water Lama app for over 6 months now, and I recommend it to everyone.
3. Always drink from the same (graduated) container
Once I started drinking water from the same 250 ml jar all day, everyday, keeping track of my water intake became so much easier!
I was tired of constantly trying to remember how much I had drunk earlier during the day, or to constantly wonder: “what was that red cup’s capacity? Was that 330 ml? or 250 ml?… 280?? And I also drank half of that smaller cup at around 10AM… was that 100 ml?? …”.
I mean, who remembers to write these things down immediately?
Keeping track (accurately) of my water intake was becoming a nightmare. And it’s hard to stay motivated when the think you are doing is a hassle.
That is, until one day I started drinking from the same 250 ml Mason jar. That thing follows me everywhere!
Now the math is easy and keeping track of how much water I drink takes me less effort and creates less headaches.
4. Fill that cup once, and don’t add water to it until it’s empty
Because you probably won’t write down every sip you take as soon as you take it, and you probably won’t drink exactly one (or two or three) full glass of water every time you are thirsty, tracking your water intake might become problematic at times.
That’s when I decided to fill my cup only when it was empty. I would then drink the amount of water I wanted. If, after that, there was still water left in the cup, I would leave it there, put the glass down and go do other stuff.
When I’m thirsty again I come back to that same cup. If I see that there is still some water left in it, then I I don’t have to ask myself a bunch of questions; I know that it means I haven’t reached the full 250 ml yet.
So, I drink what’s left in my jar, and only once the glass is empty, then I write down that I drank 250 ml on my water intake tracker app. And fill up my glass again at 250 ml.
5. Add some flavor to it
I personally only drink herbal tea, but to each their own. I would recommend avoiding artificial sweetened flavours, but there are so many other options to jazz up your glass of water!
You could opt for tea (green, black or white tea), or try adding some cucumber or strawberry slices, a few blueberries or raspberries, or even some mint or licorice leaves to your water.
Not only does it taste good, but it looks pretty as well.
6. Drink a glass of water about 30 minutes before a meal
Usually, during the next hour or two after a meal, I am “too full” to drink, which can be kind of limiting.
So, if my goal is to squeeze in more cups during the day, one strategy I try to apply is to drink water before* that meal. That way, if I don’t drink anything for a couple of hours, it’s not a big deal.
*Not too close before the meal, because I don’t want to lose my appetite. I am definitely not trying to eat less or lose any weight.
I was able to increase my water intake by 500 % in a matter of a few days/weeks simply by tracking how much water I drink during the day, by making tracking as easy as possible, and by applying a couple of strategies to squeeze in one to three extra cups of water whenever possible.
But my best advice would be: observe your own behavior, your limitations and the things that are challenging or working for you, and work around those things. The key to maintaining lasting change is to work according to our own strengths and needs.
How about you, do you have any tips for drinking more water during the day?
*Please note that there are no affiliate links on this post. The products I refer to or recommend, are simply ones I truly adore and use!