So we all know how important it is to keep our bodies hydrated – it helps our organs function better, it clears up our skin and, depending on who you talk to, it flushes out toxins too. And, with me being six months’ pregnant, I find it more important than ever to drink water to keep my body and my baby happy and healthy. In short, the benefits are numerous. And the downsides? Well, you’ll initially need to use the loo a little more frequently, but don’t worry, your body will quickly adapt.
If you don’t drink your recommended eight glasses a day, fear not! It can be done. As with everything related to your diet, if you’re in any way unsure, it’s always best to check with a medical professional first. And, as with anything you’re trying to turn into a habit, it’s best to start small and gradually increase your efforts. If you currently don’t drink any water, or very little, jumping straight in with eight glasses a day is probably not a recipe for lasting success. Start with just one glass. Drink one glass a day for a week, until you get used to it (and your bladder adapts), and then increase it to two. If you increase by just one glass each week, you’ll be hitting the recommended amount in just eight short weeks.
Ideally, you should drink your first glass of water first thing in the morning, as your body hasn’t been hydrated in several hours and may even have lost a lot of fluid during the night through sweating. (Eating a healthy breakfast is also important to re-fuel your body. But that’s for another post.)
But if you’re starting from scratch, and you don’t feel that drinking a full glass first thing in the morning is right for you, then consider just a quick mouthful, followed by a few more mouthfuls during the day. I hated water when I first started drinking it, so I used to drink a small amount right before each meal. That way I was still drinking it, but quickly following it with something I actually enjoyed.
So you’ve started increasing your H2O intake, but how do you keep it up? For me, I found it easy to forget to drink a glass, or I lost track of how many I’d already downed. What you need here is a bottle! Obviously, go for a reusable one over a disposable plastic one. Here’s mine:
Reusable bottles can be picked up quite cheaply, and I got this for free when I bought our water filter! The size you buy is entirely up to you. Eight glasses is approximately two litres but, personally, I would find a two-litre bottle far too intimidating if I filled it first thing in the morning and knew I had to make my way through the entire thing. My bottle holds 500mls, so I need to drink four a day, but I find it much more manageable. Work out what’s best for you.
But, even with all that, it can still be easy to forget it – you get caught up in other things and before you know it you’re heading for bed. So here’s what to do:
For me, that spot is the sofa in the sitting room. The corner closest to the door, to be precise. I spend a lot of my time at home in that room – the TV is there, my laptop is there, my diaries and notepads are there. But I also pass in and out quite often, between going to the bathroom, going to the kitchen to make dinner or a snack, answering the door, etc. Every time I leave or enter the sitting room, I drink a mouthful. If the bottle is close to empty the next time I go to take a mouthful, I drain it and immediately bring it to the kitchen to re-fill it.
Maybe you work at a desk. Leave your bottle on the side of your desk and take a mouthful every time you get up to do something. Maybe you’re in and out of your car all day. Leave the bottle in your car and take a mouthful every time you hop out. (Always start the day with a fresh bottle, though – don’t leave it sitting out overnight.)
So there you have it. Start small, and gradually increase. Don’t forget to give your bottle a good clean out every now and again to prevent any nasty build-up. After all, there’s no point drinking lovely clean water (it is clean, yes?) if you’re putting it into a unclean bottle. And, just because I’m feeling generous, here’s another tip:
One final word: your water intake will obviously depend on your lifestyle. Although eight glasses is what’s recommended for the average person, if you’re out there running several miles a day or doing a lot of exercise, you’re going to need more water than someone who sits at a desk all day. Use eight glasses as a target, but definitely add an extra glass for each few minutes of exercise you do.
And that’s it! That’s how I manage to drink two litres of water a day. (Don’t forget that your pets also need to keep hydrated, so leave fresh water out for them too.)
If you have any other tips or tricks, I’d love to hear them. Post them in the comments section below.