Hi, my friends! Welcome to a fresh new week and a fresh new month. And hellooooo spring flowers!
I thought a great way to start the month off right was by kicking things up a notch in the health department with a little challenge. A hydration challenge! If you’re interested in joining along, we’re getting started today, and the action will take place in the A Lady Goes West Friends Facebook group. Read on for the details.
But first, let’s back up and talk about the weekend …
As I mentioned in Friday’s post, Dave was gone for the weekend in Las Vegas for my older brother’s bachelor party, so I was mostly on my own with the boys (Brady and Rudy, of course). We did all the usual things and chores that we do every day, so it didn’t really seem like a weekend. Although it was awesome that Dave’s little sister, Gwena, made the drive from Santa Cruz (about 90 minutes away with no traffic) to come hang out for the afternoon with Brady, Rudy and me on Saturday. She stayed with Brady when I went to teach Bootybarre, then later, we went to True Food Kitchen for an incredibly delicious lunch and did some shopping, then she went off to some social plans in the City. The rest of the weekend was super ordinary, without any real festive Easter celebrations either. We picked up Dave from the airport mid-day on Sunday and relaxed at home, finishing up with our usual Sunday night pizza from the pizza oven.
Now, for the business at hand …
Let’s get started with the 12-day hydration challenge
Yup! A challenge! I’ve never actually done any sort of health or wellness challenge in my life. No cleanses. No 30-day no-sugar challenges. No a-plank-a-day challenges. No Whole30s. Nothing. I guess it’s because, as you know, I’m adamant about being balanced in your fitness and food and so the thought of a challenge, or the thought of entirely eliminating some sort of a food, seems a little extreme or obsessive to me. Although I do think you can get a lot out of something like the Whole30, and I would consider doing that particular challenge one day.
But right now, I’m ready to challenge myself with more water, because I know it’s something I need to work on. And this may seem a little boring or like something you don’t need, but I have a feeling you may. We all think we drink enough water, but I’d love to find out what it’s like to be SURE I’m drinking enough.
Why it’s important to drink plenty of water a day
Your body is around 60 to 70 percent water, so water is absolutely essential to your overall health and function. You can go much longer without food than you can water, and it’s very common for people to live their lives in a constantly dehydrated state without even knowing that they could feel SO much better if they just upped their water intake.
Here are just a few of the reasons why drinking enough water is important …
- It lubricates your joints so your body feels more mobile.
- It helps your body to get rid of toxins more easily, and it replaces the water lost through regular bodily functions.
- It helps your skin to look and feel hydrated.
- It helps your digestion and metabolism to work efficiently.
- It supports your energy levels, brain function and so much more.
Every body has different hydration needs
You’ve heard before that everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day. Many health experts say that’s a fine goal, although many think it should be higher. But the truth is that every body and everybody has different needs. Men may need more than women. Larger people may need more than smaller people. Active people may need more than sedentary people. And the list goes on …
When I worked as a trainer at Equinox, one of my managers said she thought people should drink their bodyweight in water a day, for instance, a 145-pound woman would have a goal of 145 ounces of water. That’s a LOT. And she had her clients shoot for that goal, knowing they were doing tough workouts and walking a lot in San Francisco. That’s probably on the higher end of the spectrum for sure.
To find out your true needs, you’ll have to listen to your body, talk to your doctor or talk to a registered dietitian who can do a full work-up on you. That being said, this challenge is just for fun, and you should proceed with caution and know that this is totally NOT prescriptive.
Reasons why you may have higher hydration needs
You’ll most likely want to be above the standard eight glasses a day rule if …
- You are extra active, doing HIIT, running or multiple workouts a week.
- You are pregnant.
- You are nursing.
- You live at a higher altitude.
- You feel thirsty.
- You live in a hot climate.
- You spend a lot of time outdoors sweating, etc.
If you answered yes to any of the above (I sure did!) keep that in mind.
Calculate your goal
We’re going to start just above the standard eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, with 10 8-ounce glasses as the baseline. This is where you can start.
If you exercise, or if you answered yes to any of the questions above, add on at least two more 8-ounce glasses.
Because I answered yes to a few of the questions above, I’m going to add on four additional 8-ounce glasses. My goal will be 14 8-ounce glasses of water a day, or 112 ounces of water a day. Wow! (Edited to add: During day 1 of the challenge, I actually decided to increase my goal to 18 8-ounce glasses of water to drink a total of 144 ounces a day.)
You can get hydration from foods and other beverages, but we’re not counting them
I want to make sure that you know that you also get water from the food that you eat. For instance, a lot of veggies and fruits contain water, which counts toward your overall hydration. And beverages like iced tea, coffee, green tea and sports drinks count toward your overall hydration as well.
However, for the sake of this challenge — we’re only tracking and counting water. That means water from a filtered machine, flavored water, coconut water, sparkling water and bottled water (although, try to avoid bottled water and use your own refillable, if you can). I won’t be counting my daily green tea, my daily matcha or any of the food that I eat into my hydration goal. Why? Because it’s a short-term challenge, and I want the focus to be pure straight water.
Tips to increase your water intake
Here are a few things you can do to help you drink more water each day …
- Buy a new, fancy water bottle with ounce markers on it and keep it with you always.
- Fill up two water cups each night, one to sip on if you wake up in the night and one to chug in the morning — if you have a room temperature glass of water by the bedside, you can easily down it as soon as you wake up — this is a big one for me, so I can start the hydration process right away.
- Drink at least one full glass of water before having your morning coffee or before your breakfast.
- Drink water before, during and after your workout.
- Have a tall glass of water by your side at the computer.
- Bring a water bottle with you when you walk your dog.
- Have a water bottle with you when you commute, on foot or in the car.
- Bring a full water bottle with you into the grocery store.
- When in doubt, have water with you and continue to drink it.
- Drink a full glass of water while you’re standing in front of the fridge planning what to cook.
- Drink a full glass of water while you’re standing in front of the stove/oven while your food cooks.
- Add some cut-up lemons, limes or mint to your water to give it a little flavor.
- Add a sprinkle of sea salt to your water if you want a little change.
- Drink room temperature water to help it go down faster.
Track your water and track how you feel
In order for you to see how you’re doing, you’ve got to do some logging …
- Every time you finish an 8-ounce glass of water, make sure you track it, either in the notes column on your phone or in a notebook.
- In the morning, midday (afternoon slump?) and evening, write down how your body feels. Do you feel hydrated? How’s your energy? How’s your mobility? How’s your skin? How’s your pee?
- Plan to keep steady with your tracking every day, all 12 days, from Monday, April 2 through Friday, April 13 and see if anything changes.
Head to the A Lady Goes West Friends Facebook group
Well, I’m ready to challenge myself, and I’m hoping you want to join in too!
Most of the action will take place in the A Lady Goes West Friends Facebook group, where we’ll do daily check-ins, starting today. It will be super informal, so you’re welcome to participate from afar, but it’s always more fun if you interact. I promise.
Be well, my friends. And drink up!
P.S. If you plan to post on your social channels, make sure you tag me @aladygoeswest so I can see it — and use the hashtag #aladygoeswestH20challenge.Join the #aladygoeswesth20challenge and get hydrated to start the new month ... Click To Tweet
Questions of the day
Who’s in for the challenge?
How much water have you had to drink so far today?