I’m a health nut, but I wasn’t always this way. In the past several years, I made major and minor changes to my lifestyle, and I’m still working on it. Because I’m passionate about health and nutrition, people often talk to me about how to improve their diet and get more exercise. I could talk about it forever. Instead, I started this series, “5 Simple Ways,” in which I’ll share my tips for healthy living.
Our bodies need water to function. Without it, we might feel sluggish or hungry. I know I didn’t drink enough of it until a few years ago.
I never disliked water as a kid, but I definitely drank more juice or flavored drinks. In my early 20s, I drank a lot of diet drinks, which I’ve now cut out — for the most part — because I’m worried about the possible effects of artificial sweeteners. Now, I down at least 64 ounces of water a day, but usually more, depending on my physical activity.
My body feels noticeably different. I have more energy and fewer cravings, and feel more alert. Because of these small changes, drinking water has become a daily habit. I don’t even think about it.
1. Carry a water bottle with you at all times. I use a 20-ounce Rubbermaid container with a wide mouth so I can pack it with ice cubes, lemon, lime or herbs to keep my H20 refreshing. Double up if you’re going on a long drive or some where outdoors this summer.
2. When you empty your bottle, fill it up — even if you aren’t thirsty. That way, it’s the first thing you reach for when you’re parched.
3. Drink a tall glass of water first thing in the morning. If you don’t mind warm water, leave a full glass at your bedside. Or, head to the refrigerator for a cold glass that’s sure to wake you up.
4. Have it with every meal. My generation grew up drinking other beverages — juice, milk, tea or soda — during meal times and especially when dining out. Try to stay away from sugary drinks during most of your meals. If you choose to have a sugary drink, limit yourself to one, then switch to water.
5. Drink water whenever you’re hungry. Because thirst and hunger cues are the same, drinking more water could help you cut back on snacking. Whenever I’m hungry between meals, I think: When is the last time I ate? If I shouldn’t be hungry for a couple of hours, I drink 8 to 16 ounces of water and wait 20 minutes. Usually, my hunger goes away. If not, I have a snack. Also, drink a glass of water before a meal, and you could cutback on your intake.