A few years ago, a report came out stating that we needed to drink two quarts of water a day.
What!?! Say that again! Two quarts? How is that possible? I reacted the same way you did. I couldn’t believe they recommended this high amount. I thought it was another overblown piece of nutritional advice just like we needed to eat broccoli and kale every day.
If you break it down, it’s about eight cups of fluids a day. That means water, milk, coffee, tea, fruits. Let’s see if we can get that in a NORMAL day.
The first thing that I do when waking up is take a large gulp from a water bottle that’s always in my fridge. (Even though it’s tap water, I keep it in a Fiji bottle to make it look a little more refreshing.) As I posted before, if you’re feeling tired and sluggish in the morning, part of the reason could be from dehydration. Once you take a healthy sip, you’ll feel refreshed and energized to start your day. If you drink coffee or tea in the morning, that adds another cup or two of fluids.
Morning total fluids: two cups
I’m not sure many people do this, but I take a sip of fluid with almost every bite during a meal. I do it because it helps me digest my food. It also cleanses my palette so I can enjoy the flavor of every bite. It also helps me eat at a slower rate, which also improves weight loss. If you take a sip with every bite, research has found out that liquids soften the food so it’s easier to digest. It also reduces your appetite since it’s taking up more room in the stomach.
Lunch total fluids: two cups
Do you start feeling an energy lull in the afternoon? That could be from dehydration. You’re so focused on returning emails or finishing a report, you forget to take a sip of water. It reminds me of when I feed my kids and I have to tell them to take a sip of their milk while they’re forcing down a PB&J. Remind yourself by taking a break in the day by enjoying a nice and cold sip of H20. Better yet, treat yourself to a sparkling water. I know many of you think it tastes like Alka Seltzer, but I love it and it wakes my mouth up with the slight hint of flavor and having all those tiny bubbles popping in my mouth. Another way I try to add a little flavor to my water is by adding just a splash of lemonade or fruit juice. It provides a nice hint of flavor without tasting too sugary.
Afternoon total fluids: one to two cups
If you take a walk up the stairs like I always recommend, the first thing you’re going to do when you reach the top is head for a sip of water. If you don’t, that’s an indication that you need to start new habits. If you go for a walk or head to the gym, you’ll be constantly going to the drinking fountain to wet that dry mouth and replace the fluids that you’re losing. If you’re having problems getting enough water in the day, this is the easiest way to make your body crave more liquids.
Exercise total fluids: one to two cups
As I mentioned before, I like to drink fluids with my meal. Since dinner has larger portions, I tend to drink a little more. Of course, if you drink alcohol with your meal, this is a diuretic so you’ll need to replace it with more water. Fortunately, you read my previous post on alcohol where you take an extra sip of liquid before and after your drink to compensate for this loss.
Dinner total fluids: one to two cups
I take another sip of water before I go to bed. Part of the reason is that I’m usually thirsty after a long day. But it’s partly because my mouth feels a little dry from the toothpaste. The last thing you want to do is go to bed dehydrated.
Bed Time fluids: half cup to one cup
Final count is between eight and twelve cups a day. That’s not too bad. We didn’t even mention any milk or fruit that you may have had during that time. I will say that if you follow the same routine as above, you should be getting a sufficient supply.
I don’t think you should force down fluids. If you’re one of those people who are chugging from a huge water container throughout the day, I’m fine if you do it. Only years of tests will confirm if it’s truly beneficial. Since so many people have jumped on the recent H2O craze, research has surfaced mentioning the downsides of downing too much. The reports say drinking excessive amounts can throw off your body’s natural electrolyte and sodium balance, which can result in dizziness, headaches and confusion.
As I always mention, the body is constantly balancing itself. So, if you’re forcing down water, the body signals that too much fluid is coming in and it needs to force more out. On the contrary, if you’re not drinking any water, the body panics and starts to retain it. What you need to do is drink liquids at a regular rate so that your body doesn’t need to regulate itself. You shouldn’t have to force down water, it only makes your body work more. They key is drinking when you’re thirsty and those times that you may otherwise forget.