A Water-Hater’s Guide to Staying Hydrated

Believe it or not, I used to hate drinking water. Whether it was because of the lack of flavor or the need to go to the bathroom every few hours, I really only grabbed my water bottle if I was absolutely parched. Back in high school, sometimes I would only drink 16 fl. oz. the entire day along with three hour practices during peak dance team season!

Fast forward to now: you can rarely find me without my water bottle close at hand. The guideline I follow is half your body weight in fluid ounces each day, plus extra for physical activity (e.g. 150 lb. person should aim for 75 fl. oz. + 8 fl. oz. additional for every 30 minutes of exercise). Daily recommendations for how much H2O each person needs differ depending on what source you check, but the most common one is 8 cups a day (about 64 fl. oz.).

Most of us know we’re supposed to stay hydrated and that drinking water has tons of benefits: clearer skin, relieving fatigue and headaches, helping digestion, the list goes on. But, why is it often so hard to hit those daily recommendations? Whether you know you’re chronically dehydrated like I was or just want to ramp up those benefits of hydration, I’ve put together a few tips that helped me make the switch from a water-hater to an H2O aficionado.

Invest in a quality water bottle

  • Capacity: 24-32 fl. oz. is the Goldilocks size – not too small (you’d have to refill it constantly), and not too big (you can conveniently bring it with you and fit it in cup holders).
  • Durability: Find one that can withstand a little wear and tear, and decide if you’re willing to invest a little more for an insulated bottle. Hard plastic, stainless steel, and even glass covered with a silicone sleeve are all great options!
  • Accessibility: Make sure you like the way it opens, otherwise you’ll never want to drink from it. For a screw-off lid, check out S’Well or Nalgene. If you prefer to drink from a traditional pop-up top, Klean Kanteen has great options. For straw drinkers, my favorite brands are Contigo and Camelbak.

Deck it out

  • Stickers: Collect them from your favorite places, restaurants, student orgs, etc. and stick away! Just like decorating your laptop with stickers, this is a way to show a bit of personality and what’s important to you.
  • Sharpie: Draw dashes labeled with hours on your bottle. This indicates how empty it should be by that time to stay on track for your daily water goal.
  • Danglies: Attach strings, friendship bracelets, and keychains around the neck or carrying loop at the top of your bottle for some funky personalization.

Carry it with you

  • Backpack: Slip your water bottle in the side pocket of your backpack if you have one. This is a surefire way to keep it on you at all times during class.
  • Carabiner: If your backpack is lacking a side pocket or you don’t have it on you, carabiners are an inexpensive way to conveniently carry your bottle and attach it to another type of bag. Plus, they leave a little extra room for adding danglies!

Make sure water is always available

  • In class: Most academic buildings have drinking fountains on each floor, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find. If you can find one of the filtered water stations, even better!
  • At the library: If you don’t want to get up while you’re studying to refill, make sure you come with a full bottle – maybe even two!
  • For the morning after: Hydration is major key after a night out because alcohol dehydrates you. Before you leave to meet up with friends, always leave a glass of water on your nightstand. You’re more likely to drink some when you come home, plus it will be that much more accessible in the morning when you really need it.

Try flavor infusions

  • Fruit: If plain water is a bit too bland, experiment with some fun fruity combos for extra electrolytes and nutrients. If you like sour, try lemon and lime. For something sweeter, pineapple and strawberry is a flavorful mix.
  • Herbs: For something earthier, add in some herbs for flavors like mint or basil with cucumber.

If none of this works for you, try water-rich fruits and vegetables. Watermelon, cucumber, and celery are all known for having ultra-high H2O contents per serving! And if you’re worried you’ll be running to the bathroom far too often, don’t be. At first, your body may need to adjust to how much extra fluid you’re putting in it, but after a few days, it will adapt and this shouldn’t be a concern.

I hope some of these tips work for you like they did for me! If you follow them, you’ll convert into a watervore (trust me, it’s a real word) in no time. Let me know if you try one you love! What are some of your favorite techniques for staying hydrated?

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