I hate to pry, but I have to ask: is your urine clear? If not, chances are, you're not drinking enough water. We've all probably heard plenty about the importance of drinking water. And you might already know about the 8x8 rule of thumb (try to drink eight 8-oz glasses of water a day – and even more if you're working up a sweat or drinking alcohol). And while I've always bought into this advice, what I've struggled with is actually doing it.
Here are 10 tips that have helped me win the battle against dehydration:
1. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning. You're groggy, your mouth is dry, you need a pick-me-up. Instead of going straight for the coffee (which is my modus operandi, don't get me wrong), drink a nice, cold, refreshing glass of water first.
2. Carry a water bottle with you at all times and/or keep one at your desk at work. If you have a water bottle literally at your finger tips, you might find yourself unconsciously drinking more water throughout the day.
3. Substitute ice water for soda at lunch (or dinner or any time during the day). Kill two birds with one stone – eliminate that unhealthy soda from your diet and get more water into your system.
4. When the afternoon snack attack strikes, drink a glass of water instead. You might even find that the water quells your craving.
5. Drink a glass of water 30 minutes before every meal. This is an aspirational practice for me. I find it pretty difficult to remember to do this on a regular basis. But when I do, I notice that I don't chow down as much when I sit down to eat my meal.
6. Go one-for-one at happy hour. When you're enjoying a cocktail or two at happy hour or dinner or poolside, try to drink at least one glass of water (or, even just half a glass) for every alcoholic drink you take down. (It's a great way to prevent a hangover the next day too).
7. Drink water with lemon. Let's face it – water just doesn't tantalize our taste buds like other drinks do. Try squeezing lemon in your water for a little extra kick. In the interest of full disclosure, this never actually worked for me (see #10 below), but it might work for you.
8. Make it a challenge. Being the type-A New Yorker that I am, I love to take on a good challenge. So if you're like me and love a little friendly competition, make a bet with yourself ("Self, I bet you can't drink 4 glasses of water today") see if you can beat it. You can start low and gradually increase your target.
9. Take baby steps. If you're struggling to drink even one glass of water per day (which is the point at which I started this uphill battle), going straight for the gold on day one might leave you feeling lousy and defeated. So try to gradually increase your water consumption each day. Maybe you set a goal to drink a glass and a half today. Keep this up for, say, 5 days and then add another half a glass to the equation. And so on.
10. Form a habit. I used to hate drinking water. It just didn't appeal to me and a couple of drops of lemon juice didn't really make it any better. But, taking baby step each day, I just forced myself to do it. And slowly but surely, I grew accustomed to it and even began to enjoy it. Now drinking water constantly throughout the day comes second nature to me.
I wish you the best of luck in your journey towards clearer urine. You might find that integrating just one or two of these practices into your daily routine can make a big difference.