By: Dr. Beth Templin
This week I want to share with you why I place a water bottle in my bathroom every night before I go to bed. Like many other people, I struggle with drinking enough water every day. The average person should drink half of their body weight in water. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should be drinking around 100 ounces of water a day. For someone like me who is closer to 120 pounds, I should still be drinking 60 ounces a day.
Even though I know how beneficial it is for me to drink enough water every day, I was struggling with reaching my daily goal. I knew this was a problem, one I set out to fix.
One of the things I have learned about myself is I don’t really like the taste of water. To me, it is plain and bland. I try to think of it as refreshing and cleansing, but trying to change my mindset about water didn’t help me get any closer to reaching my goal.
One of the tips I read about for increasing the likelihood of drinking more water each day was to add some flavor to it. I found out that by adding lemon to my water, it became more appealing to me to drink. This small change makes it more likely that I will actually drink the water instead of just carrying it around with me all day, which I had a bad habit of doing.
The first step in solving my water problem was changing the way the water tasted to me. Surprisingly, that didn’t immediately solve my dilemma. Even though I had this new, better tasting water option available to me, I was still missing my daily goal. Why was this?
I came to realize that if the water was set out of sight, it was out of mind as well. If the water was not readily accessible to me throughout the day, if I didn’t have that visual reminder, I would forget about it. So how did I go about fixing this problem? I decided to try adding water into parts of my day that I didn’t normally drink water. One of those times was first thing in the morning.
I know that after sleeping all night, my body is dehydrated when I wake up first thing in the morning. It’s one of the many reasons why people with arthritis are sore and achy first thing in the morning. Their body has been without appropriate hydration overnight, so their joints feel stiff and achy. One way to combat stiff and achy joints is to drink water when you first wake up each morning.
I decided to try a little experiment. I prepared a bottle of water with lemon and placed it in my bathroom each evening before I went to bed. Here’s what happened.
Each morning I would take a couple of sips of water as I was getting ready to go downstairs to my basement to walk on my treadmill. I was drinking the water just because it was conveniently located on my bathroom vanity. I also found that after my morning workout, I would come back upstairs and I would drink even more water while waiting for the shower to warm up.
You can ask anyone who has ever lived with me, I take my time getting ready in the morning. Between blow drying my hair, putting on my make-up and getting dressed I was drinking even more water. The amazing thing is it happened every single time I took the effort and pre-planned and placed the water bottle in the bathroom the night before.
What was even more interesting is when I forgot to prep and put my water bottle in my bathroom, I would still seek it out the next morning. I had started to develop a habit where I knew that I was going to drink water in the morning. When it wasn’t already set out for me, it felt like my morning routine was off and I went to get my water before I did anything else.
Without realizing it, I had slowly created the habit of drinking water while I got ready every morning. By making this one small change in my morning routine, I now usually drink about 16 ounces before I even officially start my day.
With this one small change of manipulating my environment to make my habit easier, I have been much more successful at meeting my daily goal. It doesn’t feel like such a huge undertaking anymore, because I’ve already achieved 25% of my daily goal before I walk out the door in the morning.
It’s the reason I share this story with you today. It’s amazing how powerful small changes in your daily life can be. With this one small change, I was able to make the goal of drinking enough water each day, which previously I had tried and failed to meet consistently, a reality and one I almost never miss anymore.
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Dr. Beth helps adults 55+ understand the changes of aging and how to live a healthy active lifestyle, so they don’t start to miss out on the good things in life.