What Counts as Water? How to Stay Hydrated with Water and Plain Water Alternatives

Do I really need to drink 8 glasses of water on top of all my other drinks? Is it true that tea and coffee do not count towards my fluid intake? Find out the answer to these two common questions plus two tips on how to increase your plain water intake for optimal hydration.

Can I count my shakes, tea, coffee, juice toward my water intake for the day?

I get asked this question a lot from people looking to create healthier habits by hydrating better throughout the day.

My answer is yes, with a twist. I am sure you expect that by now if you are at all familiar with my non-diet approach to nourishing your way toward your dream body goals (however you choose to define the term ‘dream body’).

I am all about setting you up for long-term sustainable success (rather than resorting to extremes that you will burn out on and never be able to stick to).

Here’s the twist. As long as it’s not alcohol (which is dehydrating) go ahead and count other liquids as part of your water intake in the beginning, as you are establishing healthier habits.

Beyond that, I want to you concern yourself less with how many ounces “they say” you should be drinking per day and pay more attention to what would be the next logical step for YOUR body and what you know YOU can realistically commit to.

Baby steps practiced consistently over time are what add up to long-term sustainable change.

For most people, regardless of what your dream body goal is, the point is to flush the body, support your system, and increase optimal forms of hydration. Ideally, “optimal” would be plain water.

But feeling discouraged because you’re not consuming a gallon of water a day yet (i.e. not doing it good enough) isn’t helpful.

What is helpful is to celebrate the hydration that you ARE getting, while making those baby step changes toward healthier and healthier habits.

In order to jumpstart this positive, healthy habit momentum, I have two tips for you on how to increase your plain water intake for optimal hydration.

1. Extremes Are Not Healthy or Sustainable

Do not try to go from A to Z overnight in terms of plain water consumption. Your body won’t handle it well and the likelihood that you will abort the mission is probable.

If it’s too uncomfortable you will definitely rebel.

I had a client once who was barely drinking 16 ounces of liquids (not even just plain water) a day. Do you think it would be realistic, comfortable, or wise for me to suggest to her that she consumes a gallon of water a day starting the first day of our plan? No way!

I do like to have my clients drinking somewhere around a gallon of plain water a day (depending on their unique body, preferences, and goals) because that tends to be a range that supports optimal hydration and flushing of the system. However, if they are not there yet, we baby-step our way to that goal.

In order to achieve long-term sustainable success, you must first get clear on what your starting point is. Then, start where you are and increase from there.

For this client, we increased her water intake approximately 8 ounces per day each week. So, the first week we worked together, we aimed for 24 ounces of water every day. (She wasn’t into tea, coffee, etc so drinking plain water wasn’t an issue for her.)

Then, once we consistently hit that daily goal, we increased her water intake another 8 ounces each day and proceeded from there, taking note of how her body was responding and how she was feeling.

2. Ask Yourself, “What’s the Next Logical Step, For ME?”

When I first met my boyfriend, he drank ONLY regular Vitamin Water. No plain water.

He would drink around eight 16-ounce bottles a day, so he was consuming a lot of fluids, but along with that liquid came a lot of sugar. He also hated room temperature drinks.

He wanted to start drinking more water, so I asked him, “What’s the next logical step?” Meaning, what can you realistically see yourself doing?

We came up with a plan to keep ice cold water in the fridge, ready to grab and go, and got him several flavors of the squirt bottles for flavoring that ice cold water.

Over time, he was able to transition from using the squirt bottles to drinking plain water or water with lemon (still only ice cold). He now consumes at least eight 16 ounce bottles of water a day.

It was not an overnight process, but now he is maintaining it with ease. It’s no longer something he has to “do” it has become a habit because he baby-stepped his was there.

I know that many people can relate to a similar habit with soda, juice, or even coffee. If that is you, what would be the next logical step for you in increasing your intake of plain water?

Do you have a baby-step tip to add? What are your best tips for increasing your water intake for optimal hydration?

Share them in the private ROCK Your Dream Body and Dream Life Facebook Community!

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