One of the changes I had to embrace for my adoption of a healthy lifestyle was to increase my daily intake of water. In the past, I was so negligent that I know there were days where I would only drink 1 glass of water while drinking sodas, teas and coffee to satisfy my thirst. When I decided to make a change I did a little research on the importance of water which I am sharing here with you.
The Body’s Need for Water
We all know that we cannot live without air to breathe and would not dare to hold our breaths to minimize our intake. Water is just as important as air. The human body is made up of about 60% of water and requires it to sustain life. The brain, muscles, lungs, and blood contain water. The liver and kidneys cannot function properly without it. We understand that we cannot live without water yet some of us are not drinking enough of it each day.
Benefits of Drinking Water
There are many benefits to consuming an adequate amount of what I have now deemed the “nectar of life” each day. Once I mentally internalized these benefits it made it easier for me to make the effort to drink more water. Here are some of the benefits of drinking more water:
- It is a natural appetite suppressant.
- It increases the metabolism
- It helps the liver and kidney to function at 100%
- It supports muscle tone and contraction
- It aids in the digestion process
- It helps to eliminate bodily waste and alleviates constipation
- It hydrates the body and lubricates the joints
- It controls body temperature
How Much Water is Enough for ME?
We all have heard that we should drink 8 – 8 oz. glasses of water per day which is a total of 64 ounces. However, since we all are unique individuals with differing body types, activity levels, and health conditions, this “one-size-fits-all” approach did not make sense to me. I discovered a tip on the internet that suggested starting at the 64 ounces of water and adding 8 ounces for every 25 lbs of excess weight. This made sense to me so I chose that method Additionally, I considered my level of “sweat effort” exercise and the fact that I live in humid, hot Houston. Once I started drinking my determined amount of water I paid more attention to the results of my urination output to determine if the symptoms of insufficient water intake had disappeared.
Symptoms of Insufficient Water Intake
The best method to determine if you are drinking enough water is check for the symptoms of dehydration. Here is a list of a few of those symptoms:
- Decrease in your level of concentration and focus
- Discoloration of your urine – usually a dark yellow color – with a strong odor
- Poor bowel functions – constipation
- Feelings of tiredness and fatigue
- Joint pain and muscle cramps
How I Increased My Water Intake
When you are accustomed to drinking everything but water to satisfy your thirst it is difficult to get started on changing that behavior. These are the steps I implemented to successfully reach my intake quota.
- For the first 3 weeks, I gave up all other drinks – teas, sodas, and coffee. Now I only drink herbal teas because they do not contain caffeine which increases dehydration.
- I divided my intake into 6 daily increments as follows:
- 1 increment immediately upon waking
- 2 increments before noon
- 2 increments before 6 pm
- 1 increment 2-3 hours before bedtime.
The first 3 days I “ran” to the restroom continuously but by day 4 it seemed my body adjusted to the new level of my intake and my trips to the restroom decreased.
Other Beneficial Changes
In addition to all symptoms of dehydration disappearing, there have been some other improvements to my health. The skin on my face looks and feels great. At one point, I was suffering from an itchy scalp in one spot and that has gone away, too. All of these good changes in my body help me to remain diligent about my daily water intake.
QUESTION(s) : How is your level of daily water intake? Do you have symptoms of dehydration?