I’m a big water drinker and have consistently consumed at least 64 ounces a day (with some exceptions here and there because I am human) since high school. I really do believe in its relationship to my health and athletic performance. Plus I get horrible migraines and hydration is a key factor in prevention. I wrote this post a while back about how I hydrate in case you’re interested.
However, in the last couple weeks I’ve kind of been sucking on the drinking water front. What’s happened? I have no idea! All of a sudden I just realized that my water drinking had dropped out of my daily habit. I guess I thought since it was a habit, I didn’t have to pay attention to it. I guessed wrong. I have barely been drinking 30 ounces of water a day for weeks, which is very unusual for me! I’ve also been more fatigued, headachy, and generally cranky sooo yeah.
I suppose this just goes to show me that I just have to remain vigilant about drinking water. In an attempt at course correction, I’m back on the water drinking bandwagon. I’m about 20 ounces in for the day right now… still a ways to go! I thought today I’d put together a post about the strategies I use to make sure I drink enough water and stay hydrated every day. Here’s my list:
- Start the day strong. I am a devoted coffee drinker, but I try to start each morning with a mug of warm water with lemon. I still get the warm beverage that coaxes me out of bed, but it a solid 8 ounces of water to start the day before I hit the gym. Plus the lemon mixed with warm water has a number of health benefits.
- Make it a routine. When I arrive at the office in the morning, I have a mini routine. Put down my bags, start up my computer, grab my coffee mug and water jug, and head to the kitchen to stash my lunch in the refrigerator. Here I make a cup of coffee (because I LOVE COFFEE) and fill up my water jug (I use the word jug very intentionally because it is massive… see below). This starts my work day off with a fresh, COLD water supply. I don’t really enjoy room temperature water as much.
- Get supplies that work for you. I get made fun of A LOT at the office for the size of my water bottle. I bought it at Walmart probably 8 years ago, but I think it is amazing. It holds 64 ounces of water, which is the baseline amount I shoot for every day. This means that I can fill it up first thing in the morning and not have to fill it again for the rest of the day. I also make sure that I leave it empty every night when I pack up to leave work. This works FOR ME as a way to regulate / visualize my consumption. The water bottle is way too big to actually drink out of, so I use a cup for easy consumption. Do whatever works for you… get a water bottle with a straw if you’re more likely to sip while working!
- Drink water with meals. I love a glass of wine or a beer as much as the next person. But interestingly enough, I don’t often like to drink alcohol with meals. I like to have a drink before a meal or after but during, I prefer to drink water (or occasionally diet soda as a treat because I’m sorry I WON’T GIVE IT UP!) I find this allows me to enjoy my food while eating, my alcohol when drinking, and sneak in some extra water. Triple win!
- Do a midday check in. Sometimes my mornings get crazy at work and I forget to start hydrating. I like to schedule a “mental check in” with myself around midday to see if I’ve drank enough water. This is a tactic I actually learned from Intuitive Eating (you are encouraged to stop midway through a meal for a mental check in and I find it works very well for me).
- Spice it up when you get bored. I am a big proponent of drinking plain water and I don’t like adding anything with artificial sweeteners (at that point… I’d rather have a Diet Dr. Pepper because it takes delicious). However, I love to add slices of citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, etc.) or cucumbers to my water to give it a little flavor if I’m feeling uninspired. The lobby of my building always has a huge jug of cold cucumber water set out and I totally dig it.
Share with us:
- What are your “hydration strategies”?
- How much water do you drink every day?
- Can you tell when you’re not drinking enough?
Sometimes I think we don’t give ourselves enough credit. I certainly do not. This week has been completely and totally work dominated (it isn’t normal that I work until 8 pm two out of three nights … sorry if that is normal for your job but it’s not for mine) and my workouts have really suffered. Yesterday I found myself dwelling in my mind about how bad it was that my workouts were so cut back this week and how bad that was for me. (I may have also found myself wandering back to the “you’re so fat and lazy” place, but I tried to reel that in) But today I’m once again moving my perspective into the positive. Today I’m going to acknowledge all the little things that I do to improve my health and wellness daily. Maybe this list will serve as a reminder to some people to acknowledge their good habits, and maybe it will provide others with some useful tips / suggestions! Please chime in and let me know what your little health habits are!
- I walk to and from work. I live just about a mile from my office (I live in a city so I realize this is not applicable to everyone) and by adding about 10 minutes to my commute I can walk it instead of taking the bus. I also save money… hollaaaa! It just adds steps and movement to my day even though I wouldn’t necessarily consider it “exercise”. Even if you can’t walk the whole way, could you walk more than you do?
- I include vegetables or fruits with every meal and snack. I’m not saying that I absolutely always always always eat strictly healthy foods, but I make a concerted effort to include at least one serving of vegetables or fruit with every meal and snack. You’ve probably heard the saying “Strive for 5” (meaning 5 servings of vegetables or fruit every day) and this the easiest way to do it. Most days, I make each meal/snack a 50/50 split with veggies and fruit. If I can’t make it exactly 50/50, I at least get something in. Are you striving for 5?
- I always have a water bottle with me. Some days I drink way more than others, but no matter where I am I have my water bottle with me. Drinking water and being properly hydrated is so important (refer back to this post) and I notice a real difference in how I feel. Are you properly hydrated every day?
- I stand up at work.I work a desk job and some days I’m sitting for 10 hours a day. Extended sitting is a serious health risk. While I can’t change my profession, and I don’t have the dough to buy a treadmill desk, I stand up whenever possible. I walk around the office as much as possible, and I even prop up my computer on a box and work standing up. Could you stand up more at work?
- I look inward. I’m far from perfect, which I think is pretty evident at this point on the blog. But what I try to do everyday is be introspective and self-aware. Yes, sometimes my head goes to “the dark place” but at least I am able to recognize it and acknowledge it. I ask myself every day, what can I do to improve my position in this world? What can I do to be the best me possible?
So, I’m curious, what do you do that makes you the best you possible?? Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back every know and again for the little things. And go ahead and forgive yourself for the brownie you ate last night (haha ok that was me)
Also… here’s a picture of me wearing a viking helmet. Just because.
So as you may know (honestly how could you not know at this point), I ran a marathon three weeks ago (well, three weeks on Saturday, so I guess like 2 and 3/4 weeks ago). Anyways, I’ve kind of been having a hard time getting back into a rhythm since then. I’ve been working out but it has not felt the same. I was slightly sore the day after the marathon, but the next morning I felt like I was back to normal.
Mike was quick to remind me that even though I felt like I was back to normal, I was most definitely not back to normal yet. This was even more obvious to me when I woke up on Tuesday morning with a horrific head cold (This article on post-marathon recovery says that is pretty common). I worked out some that week because I didn’t have a fever, but I also figured this was my body’s way of telling me I needed rest.
I got over my cold, got in a run on the weekend and then I hit the ground running the next week (pun semi-intended). I figured I was totally recovered, so I shifted right back into high gear with running, strength training and yoga. Come Friday, I. Was. SORE. As in, more sore than I was after running a marathon. I also had a deep, aching pain in my left quad muscle, that hurt even when I wasn’t exercising. This was not good.
However, Mike and I had plans to visit some of his cousins in Delaware and go on an 11 mile run with his one cousin, who just ran his first 10 miler (woohoo you rock!) and was hoping to try a half marathon in a couple weeks. I had a half marathon coming up too, I hadn’t done more than 5 miles since the marathon, and I really wanted to go on this run with them. A new runner trying out a new distance?? How could I not be a part of that… it’s so EXCITING!! So I did what I do, I pushed myself too hard. I did the 11 miles with Mike, his cousin, and his cousin’s friend and it was a blast. But I was really hurting afterwards. I could barely stand for the rest of the afternoon (not to be super dramatic or anything).
When I finally came clean with Mike about how much pain I was in, I got a little lecture about being kind to my body. He’s always looking out for my best interest, even when I’m not. Thanks honey 🙂 So I took Sunday completely off, and it was glorious. But then I got back to work this week and I had an unbelievably crazy week, which meant working much longer hours than usual. I haven’t been able to get out of the office for my normal lunchtime workouts and I’ve been staying too late to get my evening workouts in. I’ve gotten a few workouts in but definitely not even close to what I normally like to get.
It’s hard to get back to normal after training for a distance event like the marathon, but all I can say is that I’m trying! I’m trying to do what is right by my body, strike a balance between exercising for health and pushing myself too hard. I am heading out of town tonight with two of my favorite ladies to spend a four day weekend at my parent’s house in North Carolina. We will be maxing and relaxing on the beach, hanging out with my mom and dad, playing a round of golf, and then on Sunday, Haley and I are going to run the Diva’s Half Marathon in North Myrtle Beach.
Next week, I’m going to get a fresh focus on my workout routine. Three runs per week will probably be it for me, and then three other cardio sessions (I’ve been going to this high intensity cardio and strength intervals class at my gym and I am totally hooked), 3 – 4 days of strength training, and 3 – 4 days of yoga. I think I just need to switch things up a little bit. Keep it interesting! But above all, I’m going to give myself a break! My workout targets are ambitious and I know that, but it is only because I genuinely love it. I love how I feel WHEN I am exercising as well as after. Exercise keeps me happy, carefree, and positive! I enjoy being all of those things 🙂
In blog news, I’ve added a recurring feature every Friday (I’m calling it “Friday Favorites” which isn’t cool or original, but you know I’m trying here!). This is a round up all some of my “favorites” from the preceding week. Mostly it’s pictures of events / activities or things I’ve been enjoying. I’m thinking of adding a recap of my week in workouts in this feature as well. I don’t get a chance to share all of my workouts with you so this might be a good way to share some workout ideas. We’ll see how it goes.
I also added a Race Calendar (it’s a separate page, the tab is next to the About tab in the upper right hand corner of the page). Please feel free to let me know if you are running any of the same races, or if you have race suggestions for me!