If I had to pick out the conversations that I have most in the office, one of the top 5 for sure would be about proper hydration. You’d be amazed at how many people are chronically dehydrated in today’s society. It’s one of the questions that I ask on the initial visit and I often can tie it back to many of the symptoms that the patient complains of.
We see so many patients coming in complaining of headaches and when I ask about how much water they are drinking they will answer with “Enough.” However, when I push the issue and ask for actual ounces, we find that it’s dramatically less than our body requires. Fixing this one simple issue might just be the key to getting rid of annoying headaches….as well as a host of other issues, not limited to fatigue, insomnia and constipation.
Standardly, it’s recommended that we get 8 8oz cups of water a day, or 64oz. An even better measurement would be to take your body weight, divide it in half and then drink that amount in ounces. For a lot of people, that can be really overwhelming, so I tell patients to start to shoot for 64oz a day at a minimum. Initially, you’ll feel like you’re using the rest room all of the time. I promise that this decreases! Your body will adjust and you’ll find that you actually crave that amount of water if you happen to drink less one day.
In a prior blog, I mentioned the app Plant Nanny which helped me revamp my water intake. I haven’t always been great at it and admittedly, some days it’s still a struggle. In April of 2018, I started using the Plant Nanny app and after 125 days of drinking at least 64 oz of water a day, I felt that I could hit my goals without using the app. Throughout the rest of the year I was really focused on hitting that goal daily. And, if I fell short, I would make up that amount on the following day.
Again, this wasn’t an easy task, but I notice that I feel a lot better when I am properly hydrated. I immediately noticed that my skin looked better and that I wasn’t getting Charlie horses and cramps from a prior injury in my legs. I was sleeping better and in general felt better overall. For 2019, I have upped my goal to 80oz a day and it was a challenge at first but now is seamless. The biggest help for me was that I switched all of my 32oz water bottles to 40oz. So I am still drinking 2 water bottles full, however, I’m getting more water each time.
What if I don’t like water? I’m sure that’s the next question on many of your minds. It doesn’t have to be plain water, per se. You can drink herbal tea, seltzer water, water with lemon etc. It just can’t have any caffeine or any additives (no fake sugars a la Crystal Lite either!!). Also, think of coffee, Monster, Red Bull etc as negative waters, so you would need to drink your 64oz, plus supplement for the amount of those drinks that you’re taking in.
We’re coming up on the start of a new month. Try to make that your goal for February (it’s even a shorter month to try it out on!). I promise you’ll notice that you not only feel better, but that you also heal better!
- Dr. Cait