Pamela Malo, MHS, RD, Arivale Coach
Proper hydration is a key part of maintaining a healthy weight, flushing out toxins, keeping up energy throughout the day, and simply staying alive. While some people can’t imagine going an hour without a sip of water, many still struggle to fit drinking water into their daily routine.
While the standard recommendation for an adult is eight cups of water a day (or 64 ounces), many people need more than that depending on their weight and lifestyle. For example, if you’re exercising regularly, you’ll likely need more water than the next person to rehydrate after a good sweat.
If you’re someone who has difficulty drinking enough water (or just wants to go above and beyond when it comes to hydration), here are nutritionist-approved tricks for building a healthy hydration habit.
1. Find a water bottle you love.
It’s worth it to splurge on a water bottle that’s a color, shape, or design you really like. If you associate your water bottle with positive feelings, you’re more likely to use it. If you think your water bottle is ugly and gross, well, you might just conveniently leave it home.
If you’re someone who loves ice-cold water, a Hydroflask or similar water bottle could be a great option. They come in many fun colors and hold hot or cold temperatures for hours. If you’re someone who loves drinking through a straw, find a lidded cup with a reusable straw. Spend some time thinking about how you like to drink water and find a product that matches your personal preferences.
2. Calculate how much water your bottle holds and set a refill goal.
A new water bottle should list its size on the packaging, if not on the water bottle itself. Take note and calculate how many water bottles you’d need to drink to reach 8-10 cups of water. For example, most Nalgene bottles can hold 32oz of water—that’s four cups. If your goal was to finish two full bottles during your workday, you’d already have almost a day’s worth of fluids by the time you get home.
Some people find even bigger water bottles (64-ounce bottles do exist) and fill them up once in the morning to slowly work through all day. You could even use a permanent marker to draw lines on the bottle for where you’d like to be by a certain time.
3. Try the rubber band challenge.
If you set a goal for drinking a certain number of water bottles, put that many rubber bands around your water bottle in the morning. Each time you finish a bottle, transfer the rubber band from the bottle to your desk or around your wrist. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment, and helps you remember how much you are or aren’t drinking!
4. Set up a phone reminder.
Some people find a lot of success with phone reminders every hour or two reminding them to have a glass of water.
Because this is 2018, there are of course many phone apps that can also help you build a water habit. Some have simple tracking and reminder tools, where others try a more game-like approach. For example, the app Plant Nanny has you water a virtual plant every time you drink water. If you’re not getting enough water, your plant will start to wilt!
5. Experiment with infused water.
If you don’t love the taste of water alone, try jazzing it up with fruits and herbs. For example, infusing your water with lemon slices and fresh mint can make it feel like a treat. Here are some instructions and healthy recipe ideas for making infused water at home.
6. Start hydrating early in the day.
Once you’re dehydrated, it’s hard to bounce back. Starting your day off with a cup of water is setting yourself up for success. Make it part of your morning routine to pour a glass of water with your breakfast.
7. Pair a water refill with another habit.
In a busy day at the office, it can be difficult to remember to refill your water bottle or glass. One trick is to pair your water refill with a more established habit or even just a common occurrence. Think about refilling your water before every meeting or whenever you get up to use the restroom.
There’s no right or wrong way to drink water—so long as you’re drinking it regularly. We hope these tips will inspire some new habits to get your hydration on!