A key part of the Weekday Fast plan is to drink a good amount of water every day. Your body is made out of mostly water, so it is important to stay hydrated. Why drink so much water? It keeps you hydrated, flushes toxins out of your body, and keeps you full!
How much exactly to drink is a matter of debate among experts. Water needs vary by your weight and sex (men need more than women) but even the Mayo clinic says 3 liters for men, 2.2 liters for women. You may have heard “eight 8oz glasses a day” – that turns out to be almost 2 liters, which as it turns out is probably on the low side. Other experts recommend taking your body weight in pounds times .75 and drinking that in ounces. For a 200lb man that would be 150oz. Unfortunately, some people have taken it a little too far and there have been incidents of elite athletes dying from drinking too much – so don’t go overboard!
A panel of 17 experts from around the world collaborated and determined “In order to replenish the body with enough water without overwhelming the cells, the Institute of Medicine determined the ideal amount is approximately 16 8-ounce cups (3.7 liters) for men and 11 8-ounce cups (2.7 liters) for women.” Based on a lot of Internet searches, that seems to be current recommendations.
I drink a gallon a day almost every day. I have a 32oz souvenir cup from an Aggie football game that I use as my water cup and the first thing I do when I get to the kitchen in the morning is fill it up with ice water and drink it while I’m making coffee. I then have alarms set on my phone for 10:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm to remind me to fill up my glass. I know many people who carry a water bottle with them throughout the day and try to take a sip every few minutes. Here’s a trick: if you need to drink four glasses a day, put four rubber bands around your glass and every time you fill it up, move one rubber band from the top to the bottom. Do whatever works for you, but drink up! You probably want to finish drinking your daily allotment by dinner time so as to ensure…ahem…a restful night’s sleep. (And not too many late night bathroom breaks…)
If you need more convincing, check out this article about the health benefits of drinking water first thing in the morning, then waiting 45 minutes to drink or eat anything else. According to the author, early morning water therapy can “…naturally heal us from diseases like high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma, autoimmune disorders, diabetes and migraines.” Sounds good to me!
Make a new habit that anytime you feel hungry, you take a good size drink of water. It will serve two purposes – not only to help get you to your daily goal of water intake, but also help fill you up until it’s time for your next meal. This is a good example of how to reframe a “bad” habit into a good habit. Remember with the habits cycle – Cue, Response, Reward. (For information, see Charles Duhigg’s excellent book, The Power of Habit). The cue in this case is your stomach grumbles. The reward you seek is to quell the hunger pang, but instead of doing that with a cookie or a bag of chips, drink a glass of water. You still get the reward of not being hungry but without the empty calories of the cookie or chips.
Start your day with a big glass of water, and then keep drinking throughout the day!