I hope you’ve been enjoying my 5 Pillars of Wellness blog series as much as I have! If that doesn’t sound familiar to you, here’s a quick recap: My Pillars of Wellness are about optimizing what you’re eating, drinking and thinking, and how you’re resting and renewing.
Why those pillars? Over my years of personal experience and research, learning from doctors and dietitians, and working with folks like you, I’ve found these self-care practices to have the biggest impact on overall well-being.
And because the pillars of wellness are fundamental not only to your health, but also to everything we talk about here on KrisCarr.com, I’ve been exploring each one on a deeper level. And today we’re diving into one of the most essential, yet often overlooked and underestimated pillars: What you’re drinking.
When it comes to the Pillars of Wellness, that pretty much boils down to one thing (something that actually DOES boil)… water!
I’m passionate about hydration… but you probably already knew that if you’ve followed me for a while because I talk about it a lot! So you can imagine my surprise when I realized that this would be my first blog post 100 percent dedicated to it. That just goes to show how much of an unsung hero H2O truly is. So let’s give it the attention it deserves, shall we?
Why is proper hydration important?
Water is considered an essential nutrient for a reason. It makes up 60 percent of our bodies and is crucial for so many internal systems. Water aids in your body’s digestion and detoxification processes, keeps your skin healthy, helps maintain energy and boosts physical performance. It protects your joints, tissues and spinal cord by lubricating and cushioning them. Without enough water our cells actually shrink… and I can’t blame them!
Bottom line: Getting enough water is a matter of survival. How many of your daily “essentials” can you say that about?
How much water to drink a day
Ok, so we can all agree that getting enough water is super important. But what does enough really mean? Here’s a simple formula to help you figure out how much water to drink a day:
Your weight in pounds: ______ divided by 2 = ______ oz of water per day
Or, if you use the metric system:
Your weight in kilograms: ______ divided by 30 = ______ liters of water per day
So for example, a person who weighs 150 lb should consume about 75 oz of water per day (150 divided by 2 = 75). A 77-kg person should consume just over 2 ½ liters of water per day (77 divided by 30 = ~2.5).
Got it, tootsie? Write down the formula and your personal daily amount if it’ll help you remember. I know it might sound like a lot if you’re not a big water drinker, but don’t worry because I’ve got some easy tips for staying hydrated coming up in just a bit. Once you feel the many benefits of bathing your cells in plenty of H2O, I have a feeling you’ll never look back!
Special hydration considerations
Keep in mind that certain folks may have increased hydration needs. For example, if you do vigorous exercise, spend a lot of time in the sun or sweat a lot, make sure to keep extra close tabs on your H2O intake. Cancer patients, especially those in treatment, may need extra water to prevent dehydration from cancer therapy side effects like diarrhea and vomiting.
It’s also possible for people with certain health conditions (such as thyroid disease or kidney, liver or heart problems) and those taking certain medications to get too much water. Please work with your healthcare practitioner if you have any health challenges or are uncertain about your specific hydration needs.
How to tell if you’re dehydrated
Now that you know how much water to drink a day, let’s talk about how to tell if you’re not getting enough. Dehydration is serious business. Even a low-level H2O deficiency can affect how you feel. Here are some tell-tale signs of dehydration:
- Digestive troubles such as constipation
- Lack of energy
- Peeing less frequently or decreased urine output when you go
- Deep yellow or amber-colored urine (check out this handy guide to urine colors!)
- Low blood pressure
- Dry skin and / or eyes
- Mental fog, anxiety and other mood changes (source)
- Dehydration can be mistaken for hunger—if you feel hungry soon after a meal or when you’ve had enough to eat, try drinking some water
- And surprise… thirst!
If you have any signs of dehydration, especially the more serious symptoms, please consult with your doctor! I’m just here to empower you with info—this post is not a replacement for working with a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner. These symptoms could be indicative of other health issues, so they need to be evaluated within the context of your holistic well-being and background.
The skin elasticity test
I shared this in my Wellness Wednesday episode on hydration because it’s one of my favorite tricks! A simple way to measure your hydration level is by testing your skin elasticity. Lightly pinch the skin on your arm for a few seconds and then let it go. If your skin forms a tent and doesn’t return to normal immediately, it could be a sign of dehydration. Just keep in mind that skin loses elasticity as we age, so if you’re over 65, this test may be less accurate.
How to stay hydrated
Wondering how you’ll possibly meet your daily hydration needs? I have no doubt you’re up to the task, but here are some tips and tricks to help you get there:
- Get a pitcher big enough to hold your entire recommended daily intake. Fill it up at the beginning of the day and pour a fresh glass whenever you find yourself on empty. You’re done when you hit the bottom of the pitcher! Pro tip: I keep my pitcher at my desk so I don’t forget.
- Set hydration reminders. Use calendar notifications, an app (like WaterMinder) or old school sticky notes. Whatever works for you!
- Track your progress. Stay motivated by gamifying your hydration. Make note of how many ounces or liters you drink throughout the day so you can pace yourself. My free Wellness Tracker is perfect for this!
- Enjoy green drinks. Your daily ounces or liters don’t have to be 100 percent plain water. Fruits and veggies are made of water just like we are, so blend or juice ‘em up into a tasty, hydrating treat. I named my Hello Hydration juice after two of its ultra-hydrating ingredients: watermelon (about 92 percent water) and cucumber (about 96 percent water).
- Bring water with you wherever you go. On walks and car rides, to work and the movies… wherever you are, your water should be, too! Avoid those disposable plastic bottles—they’re bad for the environment. Get yourself a reusable stainless steel, glass or silicone water bottle instead.
- Add some flavor! Who ever said water had to be boring? If you have trouble getting excited about water, infuse it with fruits, veggies and herbs. Experiment with different flavor combos and don’t forget to enjoy how pretty it looks! Here’s a delightfully quenching recipe for Orange, Grapefruit, Rosemary Infused Water.
- Filter your water to make sure it’s free of icky pollutants. Check out this article to learn more about the importance of water filtration and the best types of filters.
- Mix things up with seltzer or sparkling water. Isn’t everything more fun with bubbles? You may have heard rumors that carbonation robs calcium from bones, erodes tooth enamel and irritates the stomach. But some of the research that prompted these concerns involved carbonated colas rather than plain carbonated water. Just steer clear of store-bought varieties with added sugar, artificial sugars and other additives. And if you want to reduce waste, try making your own sparkling water with a machine like this one from Kitchenaid or this one from SodaStream.
- Don’t just pound water all day. Guzzling too much in a short time frame could make you feel sick, which could demotivate you from your long-term hydration goals. And while overhydration is rare, it could dilute your body’s healthy sodium and electrolyte levels (source). Check in with your doc if your pee is totally clear—it may be a sign that you’re drinking too much water.
- Sip on green or herbal tea, nut milks and fluids from soups and broths. Water is everywhere, so get creative to meet your daily needs!
Next stop: hydration station!
I hope the info and tips in this article help you stay happily hydrated. Paying attention to what you’re drinking is just one piece of the wellness puzzle—but just like your favorite jigsaw, the picture isn’t complete without it. Think of every sip as a thank you to your amazing bod for all the walking, loving, playing, running, thinking, sitting, standing, stretching, laughing, etc. it allows you to do.
On that note, if you’re thinking “Hydration is great, but I really need to work on all my life and wellness habits,” then do I have the thing for you! The Wellness Tracker I shared above comes from my time-tested Results Journal. It’s the tool I built based on years of journaling and is the exact system I credit with having the life I love now—a wonderful relationship, healthful and nourishing self-care habits and a 7-figure dream business. Go here to check it out and get your own copy now.
And one last thing before you go… As you may already know, billions of people all over the world do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. I believe that hydration is a human right—no one should have to worry about getting poisoned by their water or not being able to find enough. If you’re interested in learning more about this global crisis and/or getting involved, I encourage you to check out charity: water, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or another organization that aligns with your values.
Your turn: What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to getting enough water everyday? Or, if you’re an H2O pro, what’s your secret to hydration success?
Peace & heavenly H2O,
My Results Journal was designed to help you supercharge your health, amplify your joy and rock your dreams. In it, I’ll guide you through the daily, weekly and quarterly practices that have helped me create a life I love so you can do the same. Plus, you can save 15% today when you make journaling a healthful habit all year long. Learn more and get your copy here.