Happy 4th of July everyone! Summer is in full swing in Interior Alaska and all of the Northern Hemisphere and that means trying to squeeze in as many outdoor activities as possible. While running around shuttling kids to summer activities, going to the beach or heading out on a family vacation, don’t forget to make sure you are drinking enough water. Many of us don’t drink enough plain water to keep ourselves properly hydrated without being active, so it’s even more important as we add the extra activities to our daily lives.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
Depending on who you talk to or what article you read, the minimum is anywhere from ½ your body weight in ounces to a gallon a day is recommended. My thoughts on those numbers are ½ your body weight in ounces is if you don’t do any physical activity, but even sitting is physical activity. My advice: go for the gallon a day UNLESS it’s lower than ½ your body weight in ounces. For example, Mark is currently weighing in around 300 lbs., so he should be taking in at least 150 ounces a day (a gallon is 128 oz.). Here are some of the symptoms I have experienced when I don’t drink enough water:
- Thirsty (this means you are dehydrated)
- Low – grade headache.
- Hungry – aka jonesing for food you don’t normally consume
- Brain Fog/Can’t Concentrate (our brains are made up of 70+% water too!)
- Bloated (yes, you can be bloated if you’re not drinking enough water)
- Digestion issues
- Constipation (our colon needs water to “move things along”)
When I start feeling any of the above symptoms, I reach for my water bottle. Within minutes of drinking 12-16 oz. of fresh water, I start to feel better and most times, my symptoms will go away.
Does The Water I Drink In My Coffee, Soda’s and Other Drinks Count?
NO! Adding coffee to water makes hydrating water dehydrating. (You know how it goes…you pee out twice as much when you drink coffee), and don’t even get me started on sugary or worse-yet diet sodas. Fruit juices are mostly sugar, so skip these health-busting, waistline expanding drinks for just plain, old, boring water. (I’ll save why those drinks are so unhealthy for another time).
What If I Don’t Like Plain Water?
There are many options to adding flavor to plain water, without using artificial sweetening powders and sugar. One of my favorite ways to change the flavor is creating infused water using my favorite fruits and vegetables. Cucumber mint is incredibly refreshing on hot summer days, as well as raspberry lime and plain old lemon or lime. Just be sure to wash your fruits thoroughly, especially lemons and limes, first. Again, while this is a great option, be sure you aren’t adding any sweeteners, your body is craving the water, not the flavoring.
But Won’t I Have To Run To The Bathroom Every Five Minutes?
The physical benefits will far outweigh the extra trips to the bathroom to pee. Unless you have a job where you can’t run to the bathroom as needed, such as a brain surgeon or haul truck driver like Mark, that excuse is one you can’t use. Why? Because giving our bodies the amount of water it needs WILL have us running to the bathroom more to rid the body of unwanted toxins. Yes, water is detoxifying. Our bodies use the urinary process to rid itself of excess gunk in our systems. If we don’t get enough water, hence not going to the bathroom, the gunk stayed clogged in our organs. Like Earth, our bodies are made up of 70% water and look at what happens to an area when there is a drought…that’s what happening inside our bodies. Every once in a while, take note of the color of your pee. Is it dark yellow? If so, it means your dehydrated. The lighter the color, the more hydrated you are. A few months back I had to have a pre-employment drug test and when I came out of the bathroom with my sample, the nurse asked me if I had taken the water out of the tap it was so clear! (Now THAT’s hydrated folks).
What Will I Notice When I Start Drinking Enough Water?
Not only will the color of your pee change, the color of your world might too. Some of the numerous benefits: better sleep, weight loss (that alone is reason enough, right?), more mental clarity/focus, better mood, and the list goes on and on. When I start feeling that way and realize it’s due to lack of water, within minutes of drinking 12-16 oz. of fresh water, I start to feel better and my cravings go away. Here is a link to a great article on the Holistic Healthy Way website: 11 Reasons Why Dehydration is Making You Sick and Fat, check it out here.
We love hearing from you! Comment below or on our Facebook or Instagram pages with your favorite way to help remind you to drink enough water to share with our readers so they can be sure they are chug-a-lugging their water too! Bottoms up!