I hate to admit it, but its winter. It’s below zero in the morning, and we’ve seen some snow. I hate winter and dream of moving to a place where they’ve never seen snow before! One day…
I’m sure I’m not the only person who has a harder time drinking enough water during the winter months. When it’s hot out and you’re always thirsty, the cues are there to remind you. But when you’re cold and shivering? A cold glass of water isn’t the first thing on my mind.
Staying hydrated is important in any season, regardless of how hot or cold it is. Your body needs the water for a variety of functions, and while it may be easier to become dehydrated in the summer, it’s still important to drink healthy beverages through the cold months.
Benefits of water
- Boosts energy by transporting oxygen through your body
- Glowing skin by keeping it hydrated
- Aids in digestion
- Reduction in headaches caused by dehydration
- Flush toxins from your body by providing fluid to your kidneys
- Feel less bloated – by staying hydrated, your body won’t “hold” water
Another important benefit to drinking more water is weight management. Many sources will tell you that drinking water will help you feel full so you eat less, but I hate the sounds of that – it screams pro-anorexia tips in my mind. BUT, by drinking water and cutting back or eliminating high-calorie, high sugar / fat drinks (um, Starbucks anyone?) will definitely save your waist line in the long run. Plus, you won’t suffer from that sugar crash afterwards!
To be honest, I never thought water would be my beverage of choice. I was the person who always claimed that I disliked drinking plain water – that I didn’t like the taste of it. I regularly drank milk, juice (usually watered down, which people found gross), and lived on Diet Coke (or Diet Coke and rye… but that’s a different story). Now, it’s become habit to have a large water bottle with me everywhere, even if I’m just out running errands. How did I change my habits? Gradually!
I stopped buying other beverage options, making the decision easier to make. I still keep milk on hand (now almond milk), but it’s mostly for my morning tea, baking purposes, or the odd bowl of cereal. Because I didn’t really like the “taste” of water (basically the fact that it didn’t have a taste), I started by adding Crystal Light individual packets to my bottles of water, and then cut down to using just half a packet at a time. The flavour boost was so minimal, it just made more sense to have plain water – and not have to spend money on something else. Don’t get me wrong, I still like adding Crystal Light or something similar from time to time, and I definitely still enjoy Diet Coke, but at least 90% of my fluid intake is plain water.
How much is enough?
The well-known recommendation is 8 glasses a day – but honestly, that’s so generic I don’t like using it as a guideline. Your hydration needs are dependent on so many factors – your age, gender, activity level, how much you sweat, your size, etc. A recent Dietitians of Canada recommendation is 3L for men, 2.2L for women, and while this distinguishes between genders at least, it should be used as a loose suggestion.
Another thing to remember when monitoring your fluid intake is that you’re also getting water from food. Fruit and vegetables, soup, and even protein sources contribute to your fluid intake throughout the day. Every little bit counts, right!
If you’re having trouble drinking water throughout the day, try buying one of the new, fancy bottles which infuse your water with flavour. An internal canister will hold fruit or mint leaves, diffusing the flavours into your water as you drink. This way, you can control what your water tastes like. Or, just buy a really pretty water bottle to keep with you throughout the day. Drink up!