As a self-proclaimed water snob, staying hydrated is like a waterlogged version of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Tap water has a hint of something. Bottled water is a mixed bag. Pretty much the only type of water I will drink is whatever’s handy when I’m absolutely parched, like after a hot yoga flow.
Being so plain-water averse (for real, even with a migraine I avoid the stuff) has not exactly set me up for success on the wellness front. “Every cell in your body needs water to function,” Chelsea Amer, MS, RDN says. Hydration addresses a long list of problems, from the inside (like digestion) to the outside (take a sip every time someone says their skin-care secret is drinking water).
“Even being a little dehydrated can impact your energy levels during the day,” Amer says. That explains why I often feel extra moody, tired, and achey—basically the human version of a plant I forgot to water.
Amer says the amount of water you need a day varies based on factors like weight, activity level, diet, and even climate, but it’s recommended women shoot for around 11 cups. I was nowhere near that, so I set out to change my ways for a healthier pep in my step.
From adding True Lemon Fruit Infusions™ into my hydration routine to stocking up on water-rich foods, here’s what I’m doing to stay hydrated even though plain ole H20 isn’t my beverage of choice.
1. Add a little something to it
Amer suggests infusing water with fruit and veggies to give it a “flavor punch.” Sure, a combination of grapefruit and tarragon sounds tasty, but spending hours carefully slicing ingredients for homemade spa water sounds like something I have exactly no time for.
Instead, I found a simple way to jazz up my water, sans tons of time in the kitchen: True Lemon Fruit Infusions™, an unsweetened mix that tastes like fruit-infused water without the hassle or sticky hands from cutting fruit. The four flavors are made from simple, non-GMO ingredients (like real organic lemons), with zero calories, no sugar, and no artificial sweeteners or preservatives. That’s a plus, since Amer says artificial sweeteners can trick your body into craving more sugar.
At first sip, the lemon mint flavor brought me back to my childhood, when I’d sneak bites of mint leaves from the bush in my backyard. Fresh and rejuvenating with a subtle hint of lemon, it’s become part of my post-work routine to get me to my hydration finish line for the day. Water glass in hand and reality TV on screen is peak self-care.
2. Turn hydration into a game
There are a few ways to let your inner competitor fly (er, swim) in the hydration game: Challenge yourself to drink a glass of water before beginning another task. Now, I’ll drink a full water bottle after my spin class before showering, or drink a tall glass before I order a rideshare to go out.
Apps or friends can also keep you accountable to hit those hydration goals. One week, my coworker and I made a game out of telling each other to take a drink whenever we passed each other. Game on.
3. Invest in a water bottle
When I upgraded to a sleek stainless steel bottle, I refilled it for sport. I stash True Lemon Fruit Infusions Lemon Raspberry stick packs in my work bag to mix in when I hit that 3 p.m. slump, so it feels like a treat without soda’s baggage.
Granted, I’m still ironing out this method—I left my water bottle on my nightstand on my way out this morning—but a stylish vessel nearly makes drinking water feel like an occasion. Amer says to sip water throughout the day to stay focused and productive, so I’m dubbing my water bottle my new work wife.
4. Eat your water
Around 20 percent of your daily water intake comes from food, so grab a plate. Snack on hydrating, nutrient-rich foods like watermelon, strawberries, oranges, cucumbers (my favorite), grapefruit and celery. And it’s not just limited to fruits and veggies—Amer says even foods like chicken breast can be high in water. Who knew?
5. Create a habit
Before I managed to incorporate water into my morning routine, it was an afterthought. Too many times I’d get halfway through my day before realizing I hadn’t taken a single sip.
Since going with the flow clearly wasn’t working for me, I decided to force the habit. I started putting a full glass on my bedside table before bed, so it would be there when I woke up. “Overnight, your body becomes dehydrated. The best way you can wake up and energize your body is by drinking water,” Amer says. “Plus, you’ll get a head start on your daily needs.”
She’d be happy to know I’m now starting my mornings with a tall glass (often filled with True Lemon Fruit Infusions Lemon Cucumber) instead of filling short juice glasses. Sure, I have to take more trips to the bathroom, but I feel more energized during my day since finding my Goldilocks hydration equation.