Invest 21 days mindfully in your health and well-being — and see what results unfold
So here’s one way to figure out the ideal amount of water you should be drinking. Take what we’re calling “The 21-Day Hint Challenge.”
- Determine your target water consumption. Here’s a guide for determining your exact individual water intake needs. But this is the gist: if you calculate two-thirds of your body weight, that’s generally the amount of water in ounces you’ll need. Depending on the factors like sugar and alcohol intake, exercise, and hot weather, you’ll likely want to increase that number.
- Divide that amount of water throughout your day in equal parts, making sure to drink consistently both in between and with each meal. And measure the amount of water you drink each day.
- Cut out all sugary drinks, both naturally and artificially sweetened. We know that’s going to be an adjustment — but unsweetened coffee and tea are NOT banned for the 21 days! And of course, drinking Hint is highly encouraged since it contains no sweeteners of any kind, and it provides some much-needed variety in your water intake.
- Track the changes to your health, outlook, and well-being in journal form.
After 21 days, see how you feel. You’ll probably have spent a bit more time in the bathroom giving your bladder some relief (but over time, your body will adjust to that too). We’re betting that the benefits will be worth keeping the challenge going in some form and making changes to how you hydrate your body.
Some common questions that you might have:
- Why water or flavored water only? Beverages with sweeteners or sugar, will throw off your water absorption and energy levels. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum too (or better yet, cut it out completely) since that also removes fluid from your system.
If it’s just not realistic for you to totally eliminate sugar and alcohol for three weeks, then try cutting back while you up your water consumption to your ideal daily target. The main goal here is to feel the effects of properly hydrating yourself, so if you can’t cut out all the sweet stuff, focus on drinking more water and feeling the positive effects over the course of the 21 days.
- I just calculated my ideal water intake and I’m a little intimidated. How do I keep myself honest for all 21 days? Challenge a friend! These kinds of tasks are always easier to do if you have someone else along for the ride. You can help each other stay on track, reporting when you hit your daily target and sharing ideas for getting there.
- Any other good tips on hitting my target? Space out your consumption throughout the day so it doesn’t feel too much like a chore. You don’t want to get into a situation where you’re chugging water in larger amounts to hit your goal. Your body can’t effectively absorb too much water at once. Also, leave a glass of water by your bedside – take a few gulps if you wake up during the night.
- Why keep a notebook or journal? Proper hydration can have very subtle improvements to your day-to-day health that you might not notice unless you are mindful of those changes. When you note the differences you’re experiencing on paper over the course of the three weeks, it creates a virtuous cycle, promoting the habit of drinking water and making it more firmly ingrained in your daily life.
- What kinds of changes should I be looking out for? There are a bunch. Has your energy level changed? Have your sleep patterns improved? What’s different about your overall outlook? What changes are you experiencing physically – your skin, your mouth, your digestion, the color of your urine? And check in with your cognitive functions too: memory, mental sharpness, creative output, your ability to focus.
- Anything I can do if I find water to be bland or boring? If you need a little variety in your water intake, add some sliced fruit to your water. And if you don’t have the time or energy for that, that’s where a bottle of Hint can really help with your hydration routine. As noted above, Hint has no calories, no sweeteners or sugar, and no preservatives – plus over 25 delicious flavors to choose from.
- Ok, any other ideas? Add some pure sparkling water (not club soda since that’s loaded with sodium – and of course, no fizzy water with any sweeteners or sugar). Decaffeinated, unsweetened tea is another good option.
One other thing – and this is important – if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, definitely let your doctor know before you make significant changes to your diet or hydration habits. Medical professionals aren’t likely to take issue with anyone consuming less sugar and drinking more water, but it’s always a good idea to keep them apprised of any changes that might affect your health
Midway through the challenge, you may want to adjust your water intake. Can you add a glass each day – and what difference does that incremental change provide? Maybe your target amount is just too much for you; you’ll definitely see an increase in the number of trips you take to the bathroom, so you’ll have to find the right balance that allows you to enjoy the benefits of proper hydration and the physical realities of drinking more water.
Last thing: spread the word. Let your friends, family, co-workers, dog walkers – whoever – in on the benefits you’ve seen from drinking more water. It’s one of the easiest (and most cost-effective) ways to improve health and well-being. In just a couple of weeks, you’ll feel a difference. And more importantly, over the long-term, your body will reward you in innumerable ways.