Not literally people. I was just trying to get your attention. Geez.

Let’s talk water.  Water is serious stuff when it comes to your health, but I doubt I’m shocking anyone with that news. Drinking water is easily one of the best and simplest things you can do your your health (and beauty).  It helps flush toxins out of your body, helps energize muscles, replenishes the fluids your body loses during the days, and um, helps make sure the “pipes” are working smoothly in the bathroom.  People who drink oodles of water also benefit from it in the beauty department as hydrated skin glows, is less likely to have acne, and heals faster. Also, water helps with getting  the bloat down when you venture a little off the healthy course of eating. Water is awesome and your body needs it, so let’s face the fact that you probably need to drink more of it. But exactly how much should you be drinking?  In researching that, I am going to tell you that I cannot find a consistent answer or formula to determine how much agua each man, woman, or child needs to intake in a day to keep their bodies hydrates. Some experts say women need 9 fluid cups a day. Others say more and others say less. The same issue comes up when looking into recommendations for males and children. It’s all a bit confusing and appears to be a giant gray area. But there is one message that is clear across the board, hydration is a major part of a healthful lifestyle.

So, while I cannot confidently offer you links to credible websites that will correctly tell you exactly how much water you should be drinking to meet your individual and unique needs, I will tell you my completely-unscientific-but-has-worked-for-me-for-over-a-decade formula for figuring out how much water I need to be putting down each day. It was one those things I either heard in passing from a friend of a friend or read in a silly magazine at the dentist’s office. Regardless of where I originally got this unscientific formula from (and truly, not a clue where it came from), I have found it to be an excellent method for getting enough water into my system daily to feel a wonderful difference. Remember, please, that I am not a doctor, nutritionist, medical professional of any measure, or anything beyond a woman who reads too much and has been at this healthy lifestyle thing for a while now. I speak only from my personal experiences and encourage you to ask your doctor for recommendations on how much water you, with your medical needs, weight, gender, age, and lifestyle in mind, should be drinking.

Weight divided in half= how many ounces of water a day you “should” consume.

Do the math. Does it see like a doable number? Yes? No? Hell no? Either way, it’s a goal. A daily, obtainable goal that is an important step towards a healthy lifestyle.  I feel good, both mentally and physically, when I achieve my “water goal” for the day. Keeping myself motivated to continue drinking my daily water needs, though, goes beyond my stainless steel water bottle. Here are my tips, tricks, and secrets for keeping myself on the hydration track all day, everyday.

1. Get creative and infuse! Plain, old water the way Mother Nature makes it is a beautiful thing, but sometimes you need to jazz it up to make it seem a bit more like the treat your body sees it as. I will throw herbs, sliced fruit, and berries into my water to help infuse it with great flavor without adding chemicals or empty calories.

2. Carry a reusable water bottle with a straw. Okay, you probably get why I’m encouraging a reusable bottle (I’m not a lady who likes a lot of waste, plus the plastic bottles of water add up in cost fast!), but why the straw kind? I’ve owned many water bottles in my whole food eating life, and the ones that I always seem to get the most use out of are the ones with the straws. If you’re at the gym, on the run, or just generally busy when the urge to take a sip hits you, all you have to do is flip and sip. The ones I had to stop, unscrew, sip, then screw back on got less use and so I just made the full switch to stainless steel straw bottles. I currently am using a Nathan Tritan Bottle  . But, you know, a mason jar works just as well for your drinking needs. No fancy equipment is required to drink water, folks.

3. Invest in a water filtration system. Either of the pitcher kind like Brita, a service that delivers multiple gallon jugs, or one that is installed right into your house water supply (my husband and I have a reverse osmosis system), just find a way to filter out the yuck chemicals and flavor from your water so that it tastes better and is better for you. Once you do, it’s amazing how tasty water is, and thus you naturally want to drink more of it.

4. Find a hydration buddy. Okay, this one might sound a bit silly, but it’s something I find really helpful for when I need to reset my “hydration mindset”. If you aren’t holding yourself accountable to achieving your health goals, get someone on board with you who will encourage you. For me, it’s my husband and my best friend, Cheryl. Since I text back and forth with them on a daily basis anyway, we just throw into our ridiculous conversations how many ounces of water we have had so far. Just that simple reminder to think about how many ounces of water I’ve given my body thus far is enough motivation to go fill up my water bottle and keep sipping. Before you know it, drinking your needed ounces during the course of the day will become second nature and your hydration buddy will just go back to being your buddy….or your next health goal buddy.

So, my dears, I challenge you to a week….just a week….of metaphorically hydrating your face off. For 7 days, drink that water and notice how you feel. Notice how you look. Notice how freakishly simple it is to give your body something it desperately needs to function the way it’s supposed to. Then, after that week, carry on as you wish. I have a feeling you’ll have decided to keep that reusable water bottle full and constantly by your side like me. Welcome to the healthy dark side, loves.