You've probably all heard by now that you're supposed to drink half your body weight a day in water. You might've heard this referred to as the "8 by 8 Rule," meaning you should aim to consume eight 8oz glasses (64 ounces) of water per day.
But, do you know why? And, more importantly, do you actually drink all that water?
I'm by no means an expert on the physiological benefits of being adequately hydrated, but here's the limited amount I do know. Firstly, it's important to know that our bodies are made up of 60 percent water and we're constantly losing water from both urination and sweating. There have been many studies linking hydration to brain functioning, physical performance, weight loss, and a number of other health issues like skin quality and even cancer.
As an example, one study I came across on PubMed found that in women, a fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise impaired mood and concentration, as well as increased the frequency of headaches. According to two other studies, drinking 17 ounces (500 ml) of water can temporarily boost metabolism by 24–30%! Bottom line, maintaining water levels is key to survival and optimal body functioning.
And, as Erika’s mom said, “drinking a lot of water melts away excess stored fat.”
Moving right along, let’s get back to the core focus of this blog: self care. To be fully transparent, I find myself in the middle of the road when it comes to water intake. I always have a blender bottle with me and on a good day I drink anywhere from two to three, which is approximately 50 oz. For this week, I wanted to up my game and set a goal of 1 gallon (128 ounces), which is nearly double my daily intake. To help keep me on track I focused on five things:
1. Drink a full blender bottle (25 ounces)first thing in the morning (I've heard and read this is a great way to get your system going).
2. Finishing the bottle every time I go to the bathroom (as a mental reminder to drink)
3. Drinking before I eat a big meal (to aid with digestion).
4. Keeping track of my intake with a mobile app (to keep myself accountable).
5. Adding fruits and vegetables (to keep it flavorful and interesting).
Erika shares this goal. In fact, her work has a #goals channel on Slack where they talk about their personal and professional goals and everyone has committed to drinking more water due to the benefits it offers for physical and mental fitness. To help her stay on track, Erika has a huge 1-gallon bottle she fills up every morning to refill her drinking cup until it’s empty. That bottle is huge! She’s given it a name - Walter the Water Bottle - and refers to it jokingly as her sixth child when people tease her for carrying it around with her.
The results are amazing! I feel great! I would have never thought that such a simple change could make me feel so different so quickly. Some of the things that stand out the most for me are my skin is definitely more hydrated and looks more elastic and bright, my lips are less chapped, and when I had started to slack on my intake, I got a headache not to mention that my appetite was definitely in check. I found I had fewer food cravings, but if I did feel hungry, I drank a full 15/20 ounces before eating anything, which made me feel full and stopped me from reaching for snacks.
I am certainly going to be implementing this in my daily routine because although the change was simple and subtle, the benefits were amazing. In fact, there's really no downside unless you count remembering to drink and always keeping a bottle nearby. And, if you’re interested in the big bottle Erika carries around, here’s the link.