“Drinking water is like washing out your insides. The water will cleanse the system, fill you up, decrease your caloric load and improve the function of all your tissues.” – Kevin R. Stone
What Does Stay Hydrated Mean
We do not nearly get the daily recommended water intake our bodies need. Nutritionists and studies tell us the average individual male should intake 3.7 liters, while the average individual female should intake 2.7 liters. Our bodies need water throughout the day to cleanse, detoxify and purify the blood. Drinking water only when we reach thirst is already too late because it is the body informing us that we desperately need water. In my opinion, the lack of proper water consumption can be attributed to three major factors.
1. Water Does Not Have A Taste
Water does not have any additives, flavors or ingredients. The is taste neutral and does not engage any specific taste bud on your tongue.
Water acts the opposite way to clear any lingering tastes on your tongue. When you drink water your tongue has no lasting impression of it. Your brain cannot make an association between water a particular taste. This association is a craving and for water, there are no cravings.
By contrast, when you drink some soda, the taste lingers on your tongue for a few minutes after. The soda engages particular taste buds on your tongue and creates a flavor profile your brain is then able to associate to that drink. Cravings based on this association cause you to drink the soda more and more.
Unfortunately, water does not have this same appeal because our brains lose track of it as soon as we finish drinking.
2. We Sip Water. We Do Not Drink Water.
Think about the last time you had water in a glass. Did you drink it or did you sip it? Chances are you took one or two big gulps because you were thirsty and then you set it on your desk and sipped the rest. Now think about the last time you had water in a bottle. I would bet you took big gulps from it periodically. Our minds have been programmed to treat liquids in cups as having more value than those in bottles.
Whenever we purchase or order beverages for enjoyment we get them in glasses. Over time our brains make associations to glasses as vessels for liquids that have value (sometimes expensive value). We take our time to enjoy the beverage rather than absorb it quickly. We want to take our time to drink it because it is a finite resource. When we put water in glasses, our subconscious interprets it as a valuable commodity we have to enjoy rather than absorb. We tend to slowly sip it over the course of hours. This causes us to only drink a few glasses of water throughout the day. As such, the type of glass or bottle we use for water is extremely correlated to the way and frequency you drink it with.
3. Exactly How Much Water Do I Need?
Do you know the daily recommended amount of water someone of your age, physical build, and gender needs?
Most of us don’t.
There is so much mixed information floating around the internet that it is hard to settle down on a finite number. Some numbers come from outdated studies in the 70s, others come from old wives tales and some come from companies that bottle water. Even worse, we have to do abstract calculations from liters or gallons into cups, glasses or bottles that we use in our homes or at work. This confusion often results in underestimating.
When a fixed number or goal is not established in our mind, we tend to take the path of least resistance we “guesstimate” and that number is usually under. Over time, the impact of drinking less than the daily recommended amount of water can compound to depriving a lot of water of our bodies without us even knowing.
Buy a wide-mouth bottle. The key is a wide mouth.
As we discussed earlier, one of the key issues with not drinking enough water is because we use glasses. Our minds have been programmed to treat liquids in glasses as commodities and as such need to be savored and sipped. Using a bottle with a wide mouth allows our brains to treat it as something to chug. This will allow you to drink more water per sip and at a faster pace.
When I implemented this tactic I went out and bought the 32 Oz Hydroflask bottle. This bottle contains a fairly wide mouth preventing me from taking sips even if I wanted to. Within days of getting it, I found myself subconsciously taking multiple big gulps from it whenever I would put it to my mouth. This has significantly increased the amount of water my body intakes. Even if I drink from it infrequently, I know each time I do, I take in a good amount of water to balance out the gaps in between.
Add mint, lemon, or berries to your water.
Water has no taste and as such we do not crave it. However, adding an edible perennial (mint, rhubarb) or fruit (lemon, orange, berries) can add a subtle flavor to your water. Through osmosis, some of the fragrances or sugars of the perennials or fruit get absorbed by the water and start to build a flavor profile. This triggers your brain into building an association and a craving.
This tactic, by far, has helped me increase the amount of water I intake. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and adding mint, lavender and some berries trick me into craving a beverage I want to drink throughout the day. This trick has worked so well I even use berry-infused water as an alternative to drinking soda or high sugar drinks.
Start with a goal and gradually increase
One of the major problems with not drinking enough water is not knowing exactly the amount of water your specific body needs. The best approach for this is to use a calculator which takes into consideration: weight, age, height, gender, physical activity, weather, and even current urine color. These factors can drastically differentiate the amount of water you need to intake versus your parents, friends or co-workers.
An online calculator I have had much success with is the CamelBak Hydration Calculator . The CamelBack Hydration Calculator even provides basic conversion from liters to ounces and commonly used bottles.
Start with this calculation and identify where you currently are. Take the gap and build out a plan to catch up over the course of a week. It would be foolish to start drinking a lot more water on Day 1. As with any new change to your body, it needs to be gradually introduced and worked up to. For example:
- You currently consume 0.5 Liters of water
- You have been recommended 1.6 Liters of water
- The difference is 1.1 Liters
- 1.1 Liters / 7 days (one week) = 0.15 Additional Liters or 5 Additional FL Oz or 2 Additional Shot Glasses of water per day.
Every couple of months revisit the calculator to see if the amount of water you need to intake has increased due to physical activity, additional weight or a change in the weather (water intake definitely increases in cold weather). This way you will always hit your recommended amount and give your body exactly what it needs.
Good Things About Drinking Water
Initially, I was someone who rarely drank water because it was an after-thought. Occasionally, I would sip it from a small glass on my desk once a day. At the time I suffered from oily and dry skin, acne breakouts and always felt like my body was lacking something.
Since implementing the above-listed techniques I was able to double my daily water intake. I now drink multiple 32 oz bottles of water throughout the day and a couple at the gym. My skin feels fresher, moisturized and even looks younger. I rarely feel dehydrated, especially during the winters and summers. Drinking more water has caused me to refill my bottle constantly which has even aided in preventing me from sitting for long stretches (very unhealthy) and will feel fuller so I do not overeat.
Overall, I feel much healthier and satisfied having plenty of water in my body at all times. It is hard to find me these days without my 32 oz hydroflask bottle by my side. These small techniques have gone a long way and imprinted a sustainable habit in me which will continue throughout my life. I hope they do the same for you.
What Is The Right Way To Drink Water?
What I’ve shared above are tactics and techniques that have worked for me, however, I am still looking for more effective ways of spicing up water. I would love to hear what tactics or techniques have worked well for you. Feel free to comment below with an example. Please share so we can learn and possibly incorporate ourselves.