They say that if you want to lose weight, drink water. They say you should drink eight glasses a day. They even say hokey things like “Water is Life” and “This Is Water.” But how does this play into everyday nutrition? And if it is true that water has restorative and healing powers (in addition to helping your diet goals), how can you consume more of it?
That’s something I thought about after I graduated high school and was bored out of my mind still living with my parents. I had an affinity for drinking out of glass containers (albeit my beverage of choice was typically Mt. Dew), and I wanted to find large containers that would easily allow me to meet (and exceed) the eight-glass recommendation.
One day I realized the vases my mom had around the house would suit my needs, and there were enough to cycle through so I could wash them as needed. Little did I know that these “vases” were actually meant for drinks, though decanters/carafes/etc. are typically meant for pouring into other containers rather than directly into your mouth.
Still, whether I drank from these open glass implements or seal-able bottles, I made sure I was #BelligerentlyHydrated by priming my habits with full containers. When I still hadn’t started consuming alcohol, I posted a status on Facebook that just said, “Drinking tonight.” And then people were like, “WHA–?” And I was like, “-TER.” Now that I do consume alcohol, I still drink water first.
If this sounds like a beneficial habit to you, it is. Psychologists, nutritionists, and other theorists suggest the mindless habits we engage in can set us up for success or failure (see the book on Mindless Eating I previously mentioned here). Here are a few that I think have helped me consume more—and stay hydrated:
- #BottleItUp – Early on, I started engaging in a trend of keeping around large containers that I would fill with water. Because we can prime ourselves to feel the sunk cost of commitment, by setting up my environment with bottles I could easily drink from, my first consumption was not a bag of chips or candy (though I certainly used to have plenty) but a significant amount of water. Whether or not what they say about mistaking thirst for hunger is true, drinking water does start to fill you up. So even to this day, as I begin my day and before I enter a space with food, I like to #GetHydrated with an appetizer of water.
- Flavored – According to Mindless Eating, psychology research shows that flavoring water—particularly fruit and other nature-based flavors—triggers our minds to actually want to drink water. That’s why companies offer all different kinds of flavored water. I even see brands like Giant now trying to get people to think about their #Flavorite non-water beverages in order to try their “spiked-inspired creations“. (Note: they’re careful to disclaim the non-alcoholic nature of these beverages). Whether you buy flavored water, spike it yourself with flavoring liquids, or infuse it with things like chopped fruit, herbs, or other types of flavoring, drinking any water is more hydrating than none at all.
- Cucumbers – In a previous post, I shared my reverence for the power of cucumbers and their nutritional benefits, but even Macka B admits that a cucumber’s “95% water” makes it a “great hydrator.” And that’s not nothing. More to the point, you don’t have to drink water straight or even spike to hydrate: you can consume hydrating substances like celery, watermelon, and berries to ensure you’re getting #WateredUp. In fact, living in DC has taught me to be careful about consuming too much water before wandering far from a bathroom. So instead of drinking liquid (which is more likely to flow through me), I eat a cucumber. This habit is so common that the cashier in the health food store at the midpoint of my commute to the GWU started calling me “cucumber,” and I suppose there are worse things to be known for…
So whether you drink it straight, infused it with other substances, or osmose it into your body from subtle sources, I recommend getting #BelligerentlyHydrated on a daily basis. I’m not saying that it’s definitely magical, but I drink water every time I’ve had a sickness, and so far I recovered every time.
To listen to David Foster Wallace’s “This Is Water” speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI
To read more about sunk costs: https://www.behavioraleconomics.com/mini-encyclopedia-of-be/sunk-cost-fallacy/
To check out Giant’s Spiked Inspired Creations: https://www.facebook.com/giantfoodstores/videos/10215155208023757To groove again to the coo-cumber song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRGlon_ezvU