Are you drinking enough water?
And how much is enough?
The standard you often hear is 8 8-ounce glasses per day, or 64 ounces. My rule of thumb is ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you’d drink 75 ounces a day.
But it also depends on your age, sex, weight, climate, and exercise regime. If you’re older, male, weigh more than average, are in a dry climate or work out hard, you’re going to need more.
Check out the hydration calculator to see if you're truly hydrated.
A lot of people think they drink plenty.
More than likely, it’s less than you think and less than you need.
Take a couple of days to monitor the amount you drink – it may surprise you.
Also, there are ways to tell if you may not be getting enough:
· Your urine stream is weak and is dark in color (unless you just took a multivitamin which can come out dark yellow); you want it to be a strong stream of clear or light yellow urine.
· You have more than 2 hours between bathroom visits (you should be urinating every 1-2 hours)
· You are thirsty – at this point you are already dehydrated!
· Your lips are dry or cracked, or you have “cotton mouth” – tell tale signs of dehydration.
· You cough often (and don’t have a cold)
· Your eyes are dry and scratchy
· You are tired or irritable – dehydration drains energy levels
· You have cravings – often our body is dehydrated and tries to send us this signal, but we misinterpret it as a craving.
These are early signs of dehydration.
Next, you may have a headache, rapid heart rate and breathing and less urine output – this is serious.
Severe dehydration is a medical emergency: showing up as dizziness, confusion, fainting, and seizures. Dehydration is the most common cause of acute renal (kidney) failure and you are at greater risk of developing kidney stones.
For the average person, it’s not likely you’ll get too much. But there are times when drinking too much water can be an issue:
· If you have kidney or adrenal problems or you are taking diuretics, consult with your doctor.
· If you are an athlete, too much can deplete electrolytes, make sure you are getting your electrolytes and talk to your trainer.
· Infants should be given only formula or breast milk unless directed otherwise by your pediatrician.
The recommended amount is based on just pure water. If this amount is hard for you, increase it slowly, you will get used to it.
You can also add fresh lime or lemon juice or cucumber slices. When choosing beverages, pick clear ones like apple juice (vs. orange juice), or herbal tea.
Do not choose caffeinated drinks, those with sugar or artificial sweeteners, soda or alcohol for hydration.
Also, get a reusable bottle - I prefer stainless steel, you can also get a BPA-free plastic one and some have filters built in. Please don’t use commercial bottles as the plastic may have BPA (a toxin that can leach into your liquid) and they are not good for the environment.
Note the number of ounces in your bottle, and calculate how many bottles you need to drink per day. Carry it with you wherever you go and sip on it often throughout the day. Try not to drink it all in the evening as it will interrupt your sleep when you have to go to the bathroom!
Water helps our bodies work efficiently, gives us better workouts and more energy, fills us up and reduces cravings.
It’s not only a good tool for losing or maintaining weight but simply for being healthy. Drink up!