We’ve all heard that you’re supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day. But do you know why? And is that really how much water you are supposed to drink?
To answer these questions, let’s look at my Uncle Rocky for some insight.
The Uncle Rocky Story
Years ago, I remember going to my Uncle Rocky’s house. He always had a strange assortment of jokes and gags laying around his house.
One thing in particular was an old man’s face hanging on his wall. The old man had a little red tie that you could pull on and then it would make this terrifying yet funny laugh.
At the end of the laugh it would spit water at you. Yes, this was my childhood.
(You can see what I am talking about here: Laffun Head Man.)
Anyway, one day I noticed he had some pinto beans sitting on a window sill in his kitchen. Thinking that this was a new joke or trick, I asked about them.
He went on to explain that he used the beans to keep track of how much water he was drinking. Everytime he drank a glass of water, he moved the beans from one side of the window to the other.
The problem he said was at some point he would forget which was the pile indicating how many he drank vs. how many he needed to drink. The point is that he was tracking his water intake.
Why Is Drinking Water and Tracking It So Important?
First of all, water delivers important nutrients to all of our cells. If our cells do not have what they need to function properly, it can cause symptoms like:
- Muscle fatigue
- Slowed metabolism
- Dry skin
- Decreased energy
- Increased heart rate
Secondly, water can help with weight maintenance or loss if that is a goal of yours. Drinking water helps you feel full longer without adding any additional calories. It also helps avoid the negative effects of dehydration that we just went over.
In fact, research has also shown that drinking a glass of water right before a meal helps you to feel more full and eat less.
One study, for example, found that people who drank water before meals ate ~75 fewer calories at each meal. This adds up to about 225 calories saved per day, which then could potentially equal a 23 pound weight loss over the course of a year just by drinking water before your meals.
How Much Should I Drink?
Generally, 0.5 to 1.0 ounce of water per pound of bodyweight is a great starting point.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, then you should shoot to drink 75 to 150 ounces of water each day. In terms of 16 oz plastic water bottles, you would need to consume between 5-9 bottles a day.
Now, you could walk around with a gallon jug of water to keep track or use a large container and count how many times a day you drink it then refill it. Or you can do what my Uncle Rocky used to do.
Another tip for adjusting your water intake is to simply look at the color of your urine. Yes, I know this sounds disgusting, but urine color can tell you a lot about your hydration levels.
Ideally you want your urine to range from clear to a light yellow color. The darker it is, the greater the chance that you are dehydrated.
*Please note certain medications can also affect the color of your urine so you might want to ask your doctor or pharmacist about this.*
You can then adjust your intake as needed.
Another Quick Tip
If you are not used to drinking enough water, I recommend slowly increasing the amount you drink over a few days to a week. You will be running to the bathroom a lot until your body gets accustomed to the increase in fluid.
Taking small and easy steps also makes it easier to succeed and reduces the chance at failure. Learn more about this mindset, called kaizen, on my blog post here.
Get to Drinking!
Hopefully this information can help shed some light on the importance of drinking water throughout the day.
Have a great week and let me know how you are doing with your water intake with an email or a comment below!
Just a friendly reminder that MOSS Rehabilitation Center is here for you during these interesting times. So if there is something on your mind or you just want some interaction with the “outside world” then please don’t hesitate to contact us.