The drinking water game

8 May 2015

With all the things on which modern medical professionals differ, it’s nice to know there seems to be at least one thing they agree on: we should all be drinking more water. Every system in our bodies depends on it! How much? The Mayo Clinic recommends 72 ounces of fluid a day. Some people recommend drinking the numerical value of your weight in pounds, in ounces. Others suggest half that. Others recommend drinking only when you’re thirsty.

If left to my own devices, I would drink approximately zero ounces a day, making the “only drink when you’re thirsty” advice not terribly useful. I rarely drink anything besides water, and am great about drinking during meals, but have always had difficulty putting away anywhere close to the recommended amount. (In fact, I wrote about this a few years ago, too!) However, just recently I’ve put in place a system that seems to be working for me, so I thought I’d share!


My desk at work! Photo by Robyn Van Dyke.

Apparently I really thrive on mini challenges, because this is what I do. Every morning at work, I fill up my 24-ounce water jar. Before I eat lunch, I have to finish it. I drink another full jar with lunch, then fill it up again for the afternoon, and I have to finish that one before I leave to go home. (I leave my jar at work every day except for Friday so I don’t have the excuse of forgetting it! I wash it over the weekend.) I drink another 24 ounces with dinner, bringing my daily total to about 96 ounces. A tip: every time I pick up my jar, I drink five sips instead of one – helps it go down quicker!

As for the amazing skin, health, and energy benefits drinking water is supposed to give you? Two weeks in, I haven’t noticed too many changes, except that I’m peeing more frequently (ha!) and I haven’t had a headache in the afternoon like I sometimes do. Then again, I’m not the best about recognizing change over time. I’m just happy I finally seem to have found a system that works for me!

I’d love to hear: do you feel like you drink enough water? What helps you get there? Does it come naturally to you?

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Hah, I do the exact same thing! You will often find me at my desk right before it is time to go home slurping down my last bit of water. Hopefully we will reap as many health benefits as they say we should!

Victoria B
May 8, 2015 8:46 am

I do something very similar. When I wake up in the morning I usually drink at least half a glass of water before I even get out of bed (I take a glass to bed with me). Then I have tea with my breakfast. At work I fill up my 20-oz jar of water and try to drink three full bottles through the day. This amount of water feels just right for me. If I drink more, I am in the bathroom way too much lol. I then drink water with dinner and sip throughout the evening. If I don’t stop drinking after 8pm I will be up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom!

May 8, 2015 9:02 am

I started drinking out of my Camelbak and it’s easily doubled the amount (if not more) of water I drink. I really think the straw helps you drink more water. I haven’t noticed a difference and I definitely have to use the restroom a lot but someone commented to me the other day that I must have clean kidneys. ha

May 8, 2015 9:47 am

I love keeping on top of my hydration.. but like you said, bathroom breaks are frequent. There’s nothing worse than being in a one on one conversation with someone and needing to continually excuse yourself.. yikes!

May 8, 2015 10:06 am

I do the same thing you do, Emily! And because I only have one kidney, it’s even more important that I stay super hydrated. Most people don’t realize how much water they actually need. And when the weather warms up, you actually need to increase how much you drink. The same goes for intense exercising, and multiple cups of coffee/black tea. You will see the benefits! I never get headaches anymore, and I always have a crazy amount of energy. Dehydration is probably the top cause of headaches and fatigue, and most people don’t know it!

Sorry if I sound over enthused! I just love water, and support all missions to hydrated haha

May 8, 2015 11:25 am

Love your ideas!! I used to be horrible at drinking the needed amount of water. Now, I do the same thing you’re talking about and even use my cup with a straw! I drink way more water with a straw oddly enough. I will say, I’m terrible at drinking enough water on the weekends though and I definitely feel it.

May 8, 2015 2:30 pm

Water is all I drink. I keep a large cup at my desk and drink it all day. We have an ice machine that has really good ice, so we make frequent trips to fill up…..and to the bathroom, too ;).

May 8, 2015 2:35 pm

Oh I just love blog posts on water drinking, because I struggle with it too! I love your water drinking challenge and will definitely start implementing it soon! Also, where is your cat phone case from?? So cute for a cat lover like myself ;)

May 10, 2015 6:20 am

A challenge is a great idea! I’ve been trying to find a way to make myself drink more water and I’ll definitely give this a try. How do you keep yourself accountable on the weekends? I find it so hard since it’s so out of my M-F routine!

May 10, 2015 8:59 pm

Have you heard about the benefits of lemon water? I drink tons of water. It’s not hard for me. I love it! I actually get in trouble with my doc because I drink too much water and that flushes vitamins from my body before it can process them correctly, so it’s crucial for me to take lots of vitamins. BUT – lemon water is amazing! I have noticed a huge improvement adding lemon to my water everyday. I feel more focused and my systems seem to work better. It’s a huge detoxer as well. Adding lemon makes my friends drink more water for the friends that struggle. I also have gotten my friends a few of these.
They seem to embrace the challenge as well. Using a quart size mason jar with numbers of ounces on the side has truly helped as well for them.

May 11, 2015 9:50 am

This is a great game – I play a very similar one with myself and it’s the only way that works for me!!
Keep going x

May 11, 2015 9:05 pm

In addition to drinking water at every meal, I keep water on my desk all day at work. One of my rules is that every time after I sneeze, cough, or blow my nose, I suck up a big swig of refreshing water and it makes me feel better.

June 8, 2015 10:21 am

emily, i am a fanatic about drinking water, and i’ll share that my favorite way to encourage good water drinking habits is plant nanny—a free iphone app!

based on your height and weight, it gives you a target number of ounces to drink per day. you select a plant (right now mine is a carnation), give it a name, and pick out a pot. you “feed” it each time you drink water during the day and it grows and grows until it’s ready to be planted in your garden! my co-worker and i have been challenging each other for almost four months now to see who can grow the most plants, and we haven’t given up yet! it’s a lot of fun and a neat visual way to help meet your water drinking goals. :)