I Tracked My Water Intake For a Week: Here’s What I Learned

Source: Derek Gavey

 

Last week, I discovered that 75% of Americans are dehydrated. That is kind of crazy to me. Especially in America, where water is essentially free, how is it that so many aren’t getting enough? Surely, I thought, I am in the 25% of Americans that are properly hydrated. So, I decided to track my water intake to see if my hypothesis was true. Here is what I learned:

 

1. I don’t drink as much as I think I do.

The recommended daily water intake for a woman is about 2.2 liters. I keep a two liter jug in the fridge that generally runs dry by the end of the day. Because of that, I thought that I could reach 2.2 liters easily. It turns out I was mistaken. I noticed that I have a habit of dumping out half-emptied glasses and bottles of water before refilling them. A pretty serious habit. So, I was heading to the kitchen often to refill my glass with fresh, cool water, giving the illusion that I was drinking at least two liters per day. In reality, most times I made it to about seven eight-ounce glasses per day–about 1.6 liters.

 

2. The amount of water I drink has a direct relation to how I feel.

While tracking my water intake, I also jotted down some of my feelings for the day. On days where I made it to 6 glasses, I noted feeling sluggish and tired. On days where I exceeded 8 glasses, I was energetic and productive. I didn’t think my water intake could have such a sudden striking effect on my body. I learned to think about my body as a gas tank. If there is no gas in it today, it won’t run properly today, even if it had a full tank of gas in it the day before.

 

3. When I’m not in the mood to drink, I should eat water-rich food.

I noticed myself craving water-rich foods, such as soups and especially fruits like watermelon and strawberries. If you find yourself failing to reach the daily goal of 2.2 liters, keep in mind that water intake from food counts, too! Some people get a fairly significant amount of their daily water from food, while others get a smaller percentage. Everyone is different–just know what works for you!

 

4. I’m more likely to drink water at certain times rather than others. And that’s okay.

It is ideal to drink a big glass of water first thing in the morning, because your body dehydrates over the night and the fluid levels need to be replenished immediately. For me, this is simply not possible. It sounds dramatic, but I can hardly choke down a glass of water for the first couple of hours after I wake up. I sip throughout the day, but I definitely consume the bulk of my daily water while eating meals. That has been shown to slow digestion quite a bit, but so what? If you have the same problem as me, you should work at training yourself to hydrate before you eat, but if that doesn’t work don’t sweat it! The most important thing is getting gas in that tank, even if it’s not under ideal circumstances.

 

In conclusion,

I’ll be honest, before this experiment, I would brag about how much I drank. I carry water with me nearly every where I go, drink a ton at restaurants, and keep cool jugs of water in the fridge that I deplete daily, but throughout the week I had to concede to the fact that I am part of the 75%. It’s pretty likely that you are, too. So, challenge yourself to reach your daily liter goal! I know I will.

4 Signs You Might Be Dehydrated

Source: Kurt:S

Did you know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? I think there is a cultural perspective that one can’t be dehydrated unless they have cracked lips or are on the verge of passing out. That simply isn’t true! In fact, you may be operating at a mild level of dehydration every single day and not even notice. Remember: Unless you are chugging water 24/7, your body is constantly using fluid. The symptoms can be subtle, but they are there. Here are a few warning signs you can look for to see if you need a little extra water in your diet.

 

1. Dark urine

Your urine can tell you SO much about how your body is working. When you use the restroom, check the toilet to see what shade your urine is. What you want to see is a light yellow or clear color. The darker your urine is, the less water in your system. If you ever see orange or brown, you are severely dehydrated–contact your doctor.

 

2. Constipation

Kind of gross, I know, but you might be dehydrated if you aren’t having regular bowel movements or if your bowel movements are hard to pass. Your ideal bowel movement should be smooth and easy to pass, like a brown banana.

 

3. Headaches

When you get dehydrated, the fluid levels decrease, which means your blood volume decreases, which means your brain is getting less oxygen than it is used to. This will cause headaches. If you suspect dehydration to be the cause behind your headache, hold off on over-the-counter meds like ibuprofen, which can make dehydration worse. Just settle down somewhere quiet and sip on some water until you feel better.

 

4. Muscle cramping

When you sweat, you lose valuable electrolytes, sodium, and potassium from your muscles. If you aren’t drinking enough water and replenishing these things, then your muscles will seize up and cramp. So, if you are finding yourself particularly sore lately, consider upping your fluid intake.

 

In conclusion, it takes a LOT of water to run that body of yours. Because it is running constantly, this is something you must always be vigilant about. Look for symptoms from your head to your toes and, next time you go on errands, bring a water bottle with you.