I want to at least let you know that dehydration affects everything from your ability to digest properly, to your mental health.
So now, my parched friends, let's talk about some tips to make sure your whistle stays wet.
Here’s a strange tidbit: did you know that thirst and hunger signals are easily confused? If you think you’re hungry but it hasn’t been at least two hours since you ate a meal, try drinking a glass of water first. Give it a few minutes – maybe 10 or 15 – and see if you still feel hungry. Chances are, you won’t. Don’t worry – the better you get at keeping hydrated, the clearer these signals will become.
Also, by the time you feel thirsty – your mouth feels dry, your lips are maybe chapped – you are already dehydrated.
The more dehydrated your body is, the more it gives up on telling you it’s dehydrated. If that seems strange, think of it this way: if you really needed or wanted something, and continued to ask for it over and over, but were continuously denied, wouldn’t that get exhausting after a while? Would you continue begging ad infinitum, or would you start asking less and less? Maybe you would decide to save the asking for instances when you feel the greatest desperation, and just sort of quietly sulk the rest of the time. Well that’s what your body is doing! It’s gotten used to being shot down in regards to this most basic need for so long that it’s tired of asking and is just quietly going about the business of being dehydrated and functioning below par, only piping up about this need now and then when things get especially bad.
This is how you get used to being dehydrated. But as you drink more and more water, and your body becomes used to the idea that there is an available supply after all, it becomes freer about asking for it when it needs it. This way, it becomes easier and easier to drink enough water. If drinking water feels like a chore to you, just stick with it and give it time, as your body will be happy to receive it, and will relearn to tell you about how much it wants it in time. You won’t have to force yourself any more. You will feel thirsty. And you will love how good water tastes.
TIPS FOR UP-ING YOUR WATER INTAKE
Keep a refillable 1-litre glass jar, full of water, next to you on your desk at work, or nearby you as much as you can (keep it in your bag if you’re out and about most of the day). You are more likely to sip at it if it is sitting there, in eye sight. By knowing exactly how much water is in your jar, you will have an easier time knowing how much you have consumed so far, and how much more you have to drink, and are therefore more likely to reach your goal of drinking a minimum of 2 litres per day (because that’s your goal, right?).
Drink herbal tea (so long as it is caffeine-free, herbal teas count toward your water intake).
Add fruits and herbs to your water for different flavours:
- Mint and cucumber slices
- Raw ginger slices and berries
- Apples and cinnamon sticks
- Fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Coconut water, chia seeds, and pomegranate seeds
- Watermelon pieces and mint
- Sliced, pitted cherries and fresh squeezed lime juice
- Lemon wedges and blueberries
- Lemon slices and parsley
- Blackberries and fresh ginger slices
- Strawberries and fresh basil leaves
- Orange, lime, and lemon slices
- Lemon, ginger, and a pinch of cayenne
- 1-2 drops peppermint essential oil
- Use your imagination: the possibilities and combinations are endless!
Drink up, friends!
Candace Bell, BA, CNP
holistic as heck nutritionist