Pro Strategies for Drinking More Water
by Joshua Danker-Dake
An entire article about water? Let’s do this.
Once again: you’re grown folks. You already know water is good for you, that it’s got plenty of health benefits, and that you should be drinking more of it and less of other drinks with sugar in them. You don’t need me to tell you all of that, so I’m not going to. Instead, here are a few practical ways that I personally use to actually go about it.
I drink more water when I keep it within reach.
This is the biggest one. I use the largest cup I have (my personal favorite is a one-liter plastic stein of the sort one typically acquires at Oktoberfest), because I’m lazy to get up to go refill it more often than I have to. The inverse is also true—when I’m in the middle of something and I don’t have water at hand, I have to get pretty thirsty before I can be bothered to get up to go get a drink. I keep water at my desk, I carry it around the house, I keep it by my bed—I spend the vast majority of my day within three feet of a glass of water, and by doing so, I probably drink double what I would otherwise.
I drink more water when it’s got some flavor.
Water can be boring, I get it. So spruce it up. (Note here that “flavor” doesn’t mean “calories”—nor does it mean “sweetness.”) My personal favorites are lime and mint (individually, although together can be cool too). Lime wedges and fresh mint leaves are great, but I’m not fancy, nor am I too proud to use bottled lime juice from concentrate or mint extract. Other people like lemon, orange, cucumber, or watermelon—you can throw pretty much whatever you want in there. It doesn’t take a lot to make water much more drinkable.
(Please note that I’m not talking about this in relation to “detoxing” or “cleansing” or any of those other popular but bogus buzzwords you’ll see if you Google something like “cucumber water.” If you have a functioning liver and kidneys, your body is detoxing just fine on its own—I’m just talking about enjoying your water.)
I drink more water so that I eat less.
It has been shown (and makes complete sense) that those who drink water before meals don’t eat as much. Obviously, that water takes up some space, so one can’t pack the stomach wall-to-wall with food in the manner in which one might be accustomed.
I’m all for eating well at mealtimes—but it’s typically not the meals that derail my weight loss goals, it’s the snacks. And I’ve found that water can also help with snack cravings: not because I’m trying to trick my stomach into thinking it’s full, but because a lot of times, I’m just thirsty. If you’re used to eating whenever you get a signal from the stomach, it can be easy to mix up the thirst and hunger cues. I like to drink a big glass of water, wait five or ten minutes, and then reevaluate.
Do you have any great strategies for drinking more water? Let us know in the comments.
Read more from Josh and the sustainable struggle series here.
Joshua Danker-Dake is the author of the acclaimed comic novel The Retail. A writer and editor by trade, he also serves as the Strategy and Tactics Editor for Diplomacy World, the flagship publication of the Diplomacy hobby. Beyond health and fitness, other things he gets rather excited about include He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, bombastic European power metal, and St. Louis Cardinals baseball.
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be careful of water being too iced. I find drinking cool water is way more enjoyable than FREEZING water. cold water from fridge or tap seems to do the trick quite nicely. 1 or 2 ice cubes rather than 37. Where can we post pics of our big drinking cups? Is there some hashtag for us to tweet? #waterstein ? # bigolcup ? #fancyglasswatercontainerwithplasticinsertforfruitrinds ?
Good info. My experience reminds me how easy it is to be under-hydrated, whether I’m actively working out or not. I find it helpful to start each morning with a large glass of water, along with whatever I have to eat. Then I try to have at least one large glass by noon. This also helps moderate my coffee intake;) Then, as you suggest, water before and with all other meals.