WHY You Need to Drink More Water and 4 Tips for Drinking Enough
I know, you’ve heard it before, and you already know you NEED to drink more water each day. But are you actually doing it? Like, as a habit. On the regular? If you’re like most folks, probably not.
Speaking of regular, being regular is one of the things I’m going to talk about here today in regards to drinking enough water.
Human behavior is complex. We get ourselves into habits that aren’t always good ones, and they can be hard to break. Breaking a bad habit and replacing it with a better one can be even more difficult. You’ve probably heard that it takes 21, or maybe even 30 days to create a new habit. The science actually disagrees. The science indicates that it actually takes 66 days to create a new habit. SIXTY-SIX DAYS you guys!
So how did I get on the topic of habits when I started out talking about water? Well, like anything, when it comes to making improvements to your health by throwing out old habits and replacing them with better ones, it involves setting intention, creating routines, being in touch with your big WHY, and understanding how making that habit change is going to improve your life in the LONG RUN!
When you go into creating a new habit in your life, it requires some CONVICTION!
My goal here today is to help you understand HOW drinking more water will help to improve your life long-term, and offer you up some tips on how to create triggers during your day that will help make drinking enough water a part of your daily routine. Essentially, I want to teach you WHY you should make it a habit, and HOW to do that.
Let’s talk about FAT!
But before we go there, we have to talk about inflammation and toxins first. In case you hadn’t already heard, we live in a pretty toxic world today. From the foods we’re eating, to the products that we’re putting in and on our bodies, to our household cleaning products, to the air fresheners we’ve got plugged into our walls and hanging from the rearview mirrors in our cars, to the air we’re breathing, to the water we’re drinking (bear with me here) just to name a few.
Our bodies are equipped with an amazing detoxification system. But the problem is that in today’s world where we are constantly exposed to an onslaught of toxic exposures, that system becomes overtaxed and inefficient. This causes things that your body might normally address quite easily to become major toxic burdens. This leads to increased inflammation throughout the body and an increase in white fat cells.
When your body takes on the burden of excess inflammation due to all the toxic exposures you’re subjecting it to on the daily, you increase the storage capacity of your fat cells. Specifically you increase the storage capacity of your white fat cells. White fat is the type that builds up around the waist line that so many folks have difficulty getting rid of. We actually need it, but it becomes problematic when we’ve got too much of it. And can I tell you a secret? We don’t just end up with too much of it because we’re eating too many calories.
Your body will actually produce excess white fat cells to protect you! That’s right! Toxins are stored in your white fat cells as a protective mechanism to keep excess toxins that your body can’t eliminate through the liver, sweat, bowel movements and urination away from the brain. Toxins like chemicals, heavy metals, hormones and undigested food.
And guess what? All those extra white fat cells that are created lead to more inflammation that shows up as fluid retention…swollen fingers and toes, ankles and legs, puffy eyes. You get the point.
Your body is pretty smart. It will hold onto that extra fat and inflammation to protect you from those toxins being circulated throughout the bloodstream so they can’t get to the brain.
Here’s where drinking enough water comes into the picture.
One simple way that you can improve your body’s detoxification capacity and reduce inflammation is by drinking enough water each and every day! How much is enough? I’m not an advocate of weighing yourself on the regular, but in this case, knowing how much you weigh is important. Divide your weight in half, and plan on drinking that amount of pure filtered water in ounces, at minimum, per day.
For example, I weigh 130 pounds. This means that I need should drink about 65 ounces of water each day.
Drinking enough water each day will improve your ability to eliminate toxins from your body through regular bowel movements and urination, which are the precise ways we want those toxins to exit the premises.
“But Tamy!” I can already hear the cries, “Drinking all that water is going to make me have to pee all day long! I have a job that makes it difficult for me to make it to the bathroom.” My friends, I have a no-nonsense question and response to that concern. First, and foremost, we’re talking about your long-term health here. Do you care about your long-term health and the quality of life of your future self? Okay then, drink the water already and figure out how you can fit in more frequent trips to the latrine. Be a problem-solver here. It is your birthright to pee when you need to, and no job should hold you back from taking care of your bodily functions.
And let’s talk about poop for a minute here, too. One of the trends I’ve noticed with the large majority of the folks I work with who are struggling with chronic health issues, is the infrequency with which they are pooping. My friends, poop is the waste material, including toxins, that your body needs to discard! I know people don’t like to talk about it, but we need to. If your poop is backed up in your colon waiting to exit the premises for multiple days at a time, that means all those toxins have the opportunity to make their way back through your system. Hello inflammation, more toxic build-up and chronic health issues. No bueno.
If you are not having a full, very satisfying bowel movement at least twice per day, you are constipated. And toxic. If you are on an every-other day or every third day pooping schedule, that is a problem. I don’t care if that has been your routine your entire life. It may “feel” normal to you because that’s how it’s always been, but that is NOT normal.
So if there is one simple change you can make to your daily routine TODAY that will help to move the needle in the right direction on the health meter, then drinking half your body weight in ounces per day of pure filtered water is a great place to start. It’s a very simple change, but simple does not mean easy! If you REALLY want to create this habit, you must do so with absolute conviction and set yourself up for success by creating the triggers and routines that will keep you on track. Remember…66 days to create that new habit!
So how do I form this new habit of drinking enough water?
Here are 4 tips for keeping your water intake in check:
- Start by having some form of measuring system. I have a glass pitcher (I avoid plastic containers at all costs) that holds 64 ounces. I fill it at the start of each day and pour from it throughout the day. When it’s empty, I know I’ve had my minimum. On days when I sweat excessively in the sauna or from a workout, I’m sure to increase my intake a little more, and I add ½ tbsp of sole water to one of my glasses to replace lost electrolytes. Find your own measuring system and use it daily.
- Drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning when you wake up. Add some lemon to it, and drink it warm if you’re motivated to do so.
- Set reminders on your phone to drink water at various intervals throughout the day. Use that phone as the tool it was intended to be.
- Create some trigger habits. For example, if you have a desk job, you should be getting up and giving your body some movement for every 50 minutes of sitting. So every time you take a short movement break, drink some water! Figure out what triggers you could set for yourself to remind yourself to drink more water throughout the day.
What counts as water?
I’ve mentioned “pure filtered water” a few times here, and this is important.
Municipal tap water is treated with a variety of chemicals, including chlorine and fluoride. Drinking water that is laden with toxic chemicals is not a good plan, if your goal is to help your body eliminate them. If you don’t have a whole-house filtration system that removes all these toxins, then I recommend investing in a Berkey water filtration system. This is what I use for my own water since my living situation does not allow for a whole house system. I have a Berkey tank in my kitchen for my drinking, cooking, and veggie washing, and a Berkey filter on my shower heads as well so that I’m not breathing chlorine fumes during my showers.
Most people’s knee-jerk reaction to the price of the Berkey system is, “That’s way too expensive!” But consider this, if you are purchasing bottled water on a regular basis (exposing yourself to the chemicals in plastics and contributing to environmental waste) or paying for a water delivery service (which comes in plastic containers), then over time, you are paying much more than an investment in a Berkey system will be. You know what else is more expensive than a Berkey? Chronic health issues, both in quality of life and financially over time. The few hundred bucks invested in a Berkey will pay for itself in the long-run.
What about coffee and tea? Do those count towards my daily water consumption? I personally include my morning cup of Kicking Horse Swiss water processed decaf coffee as part of my daily water intake. First, I’m not sipping on coffee all day long. I stick to two cups, max in the morning. Secondly, since I drink decaf, my coffee is not a diuretic. Sipping on coffee all day long and counting that as your water intake is not a wise plan. Herbal decaf tea? Count it!
What about fruit juices and soda? Absolutely not my friends! Those are basically sugar bombs that are contributing to more inflammation. Check out my blog on excess sugar consumption if you haven’t already read it. What
What about alcoholic beverages? Do they count? C’mon folks! For every alcoholic beverage you consume, plan on adding an additional 8 ounces of pure water to your daily allotment.
Bottom line is that the majority of the water you drink each day should be in the pure form of water. I know, most of us aren’t used to that. We’ve grown accustomed to all the flavors that have been added to everything. But one of the responsibilities that comes with being a real grown-up is making tough decisions and doing things we don’t really want to do sometimes. Drinking water in the interest of improved health is one of those things.