First, how are you doing? Are you feeling well? Are you thirsty? You should probably go drink some water, don’t worry, I’ll wait… Okay, so water
Let’s start with some basics-
Why Do We Need Water?
As you may know or not know a lot of people don’t drink enough water. How much water off the top of your head do you think you need? 8, 8oz glasses? Well, let me tell you- you probably need more…a lot more. So, to clarify why drinking enough water is even important here a few things water and adequate hydration helps with:
- Bodily Functions- According to Webmd your body is made up of about 60% water, adequate water keeps your bodily fluids in check- such as saliva production, digestion, and nutrient transportation to blood circulation and maintaining body temperature.
- Keeping your brain sharp- According to previous research studies drinking enough water can have a negative effect on your alertness, memory, and focus.
- Anti-aging benefits- Water is essential to healthy collagen production (collagen is a protein that your body produces to keep your skin elastic)
Signs of Dehydration
So, now that we know some of the things water helps with…how do we know when we’re not getting enough? Well, here are a few signs of inadequate hydration:
- You’ll feel thirsty- mind you, when you’re feeling thirsty that means that you are already not adequately hydrated- hence why it is usually recommended to drink water regularly throughout the day.
- Not needing to go the bathroom for an extended period of time- the average person who is sufficiently hydrated should go to the bathroom about 6 or 7 times a day. This equals to using the bathroom about once every 3 ½ to 4 hours.
- Feeling tired- Yes, you may not be hydrated if you’re frequently tired. Your body is not running optimally and is attempting to conserve resources.
As stated earlier, most people are not aware that they are not drinking enough water and through my research I realized it was me- I was most people.
I had recently started working out very regularly and attempting to lose weight, in which my body was definitely using and needing more water. At the time I was drinking anywhere between 6-9 cups of water a day (48oz-72oz), with a goal of 8, 8oz glasses or 64oz of water. The questions for me were – why am I so thirsty? Am I really this tired? Am I looking tired? In addition, I definitely was not peeing as much as I thought I should have and I was having some serious dry lip issues.
How Much Water Do We Need?
With that information I needed to find out how much water was I supposed to be drinking- a quick google search gave me these results (insert google search results w/ calculator link in it).
The mayo clinic suggests 15.5 cups for men and 11.5 cups for women- that’s a start and I clearly was not getting that much, but I wanted to get very specific with this- what about my body and activity level? Would that alter how much water I needed? In short, yes. The average person loses about 17-50 ounces of water for every hour they exercise so that definitely needs to be taken into account when calculating how much water you need in a day. At the time, I was completing at least one, 20-30 minute workout a day so that means I was losing anywhere from 8-25 ounces of water daily and man, was I feeling it. Since I wanted to get more specific to my body and lifestyle further research was needed, in which I found this– according to Kristen Mccafrey from Slender Kitchen you should take in account your weight when trying to find your specific daily water intake need and there is a simple enough math equation that gets you closer to your specific daily water requirements. The equation is as follows (example is my own weight of 198lbs):
(Your weight) x 2/3 or 67% = ounces of water you need in a day
Ex. 198 x .67 = 132.66 ounces or 16.5 8oz glasses of water per day
I essentially needed 16 cups of water per day and I was barely getting 9 on my best days. Wow, what an eye opener- I was terribly dehydrated.
SlenderKitchen also has a calculator available to calculate your water intake with taking in account how much you exercise. Awesome! From their calculator I found out I should be drinking even closer to 144 ounces of water a day or 18 cups (specifically on days I work out).
Now, that seemed a bit excessive for me to jump right into so I decided
- I needed to start drinking more water
- How much more? 12-16 cups- that encompassed the minimum amount I was supposed to get to the reasonable higher end.
- How long should I try this for? 3 weeks, I thought that would give me enough time to really notice any differences- in my workouts, in my quality of life, and most importantly my skin/lips.
1. I was actually really surprised with the physical differences in my face- the lines around my mouth aren’t as “deep” looking, my skin overall has a rosier hue to it, and my lips do look a lot less dry and more vibrant.
2. I started sweating more during my workouts and feeling more accomplished. Since I hadn’t realized how dehydrated I was I had no idea how hard my body was working on just conserving water. Once the sweat started flowing more freely, I was able to push through more and the visual of seeing the sweat definitely helped me feel more accomplished and confident with my overall performance. I felt more like a beast ^.^
3. I learned more about my body and was able to identify my physical feelings better. Before starting this experiment, I knew I was thirsty but I hadn’t realized how thirsty I really was. On days when I was closer to 12 cups of water than 16 I felt the difference in my thirst. Only drinking 12 cups of water felt like my new “barely enough” amount and by the end of those days I was still pretty thirsty.
- You will go to the bathroom more. Be prepared for that, but it will eventually taper out into anew “normal” schedule after about a week unless you constantly chug your water instead of drinking it paced out.
- Make sure you pace out your water well-it really helps. In general my schedule was as follows;
- 7am-9am 24oz
- 9am-11am 24oz
- (afternoon break because no one wants to need to pee while they’re working out)
- 2pm-4pm 24oz
- (another break as we have evening walks and I didn’t need that bathroom accessibility stress in my life)
- 6pm-8pm 24oz, This is around the time I reached my “minimum amount” so everything else was as the thirst arose, but in general I would have another 24oz through the rest of the night until 30 minutes before bed.
- I recommend a water bottle. The one I have is a 24oz glass bottle hence my water increments were in 24oz or 3 cups. If you really don’t want to deal with refilling your water frequently then I would recommend this water bottle or this one, depending on your preferences and needs.
Well, there you have it. Drink. More. Water. In all seriousness though, take care of yourself, sometimes we’re not In-tune with ourselves as much as we should be or a small problem becomes bigger as we keep putting off the solution or not taking an active role in its resolve.
Update- I thought maintaining drinking closer to 16oz was too much for me so I decided to go with the minimum of 12 cups a day…and the chapped/dry lips returned and I was once again feeling the thirst. Drink. More. Water. Sometimes we don’t learn the lesson fully the first time and that’s okay. Keep learning, keep growing, keep trying.