I’m a professional chef, which means I’m on my feet all day every day, and staying hydrated is essential to staying healthy. Lately, I haven’t been taking as good care of my body that I should. It’s left me feeling tired, sluggish and weaker than usual. (Even though I drink my coffee at the right time!) With a hot New York City summer in full swing, I thought it was time to make a change.
Drinking more water has been said to have numerous health benefits, from weight loss to increased circulation and beyond. Adding an extra glass (or three) is an easy and healthy habit to get started, so why not? It took me a few days, but this tiny change in my schedule turned me into a hydration fanatic. After two weeks I was hydrated—and hooked. Here’s how!
Figuring Out How Much Water to Drink
- Men need about 124 ounces of water every day
- Women need about 92 ounces of water every day
I bought a large 16 oz glass water bottle (like this one) that I could tote around and refill whenever I needed, which is much more sustainable than wasting $1 or $2 every day on a plastic bottle. I made sure to drink half the bottle right when I first woke up, the second half in the middle of the morning, a full bottle with my lunch, at least another half on my commute home, and a bottle with my dinner plus one glass as I got ready for bed. The more times I filled my 16 oz bottle up a day, the better!
Although I drank mostly tap water or cucumber-infused water, it doesn’t all have to be plain H2O. I also counted sparkling water toward my total when I was feeling the need to switch it up (which I did every few days). Fluids can also come from other beverages and food with a high water content.
Here’s What Happened
Remembering to drink water throughout the day is an adjustment. To keep me going, I set alarms on my cellphone, and even added calendar alerts for an extra reminder. After about a week, I started ignoring the alarms and was able to remember on my own. (Woo!)
When I first started drinking roughly 8 glasses of water a day, not much happened. Sure, I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom more often than I would’ve liked. I couldn’t make it through my morning commute without a bathroom break, either! Aside from that, I didn’t notice much of a change. I started to wonder, “what’s all the fuss about?”
But after Day 2, I noticed that not only did I feel like I had more energy throughout the day, I also wasn’t as hungry as I am usually. If I felt peckish during the day, a glass of water did the trick that a snack usually does. I started to notice that many of the times throughout the day that I would typically feel like snacking might’ve just been thirst all along. (Who knew?!)
With less snacking I started to feel lighter and less bloated. I also wasn’t bogged down by the sugar and sodium in my “go-to” snacks, so my energy levels were actually higher despite a lower calorie intake. Win-win!
Better yet, after about a week my skin started to clear up and began looking smoother and more refreshed. It’s no secret that moisturizing is key for great skin, but I didn’t realize that hydrating from the inside could be equally beneficial.
This habit made me look and feel great with relatively little effort. Any wellness routine that’s free, easy and convenient is one that I can get behind. With summer in full swing, you can be sure I’ll keep it up! (I might even add a healthy grab-and-go breakfast to my morning routine, too.)