How much water should you be drinking?

waterPhoto Credit

I just wanted to touch base on this topic. I’ve recently upped my water intake to a gallon a day and every time I tell people I get the same reaction “WOW! That’s a lot of water!” Yes, it is and I’ll go over how I fit all that water in during the day, but first, how do you know how much water you really need?! Well, there is no straight answer. It all depends on your weight, level of activity, temperature and humidity of your environment and diet.  Pay attention to your body. When you are adequately hydrated, your urine should be pale yellow.  Although, some medications, supplements and different foods can cause discolouration.  Also, when you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.  If you’re drinking enough water, you should not reach this state.  The standard of eight 8 ounce glasses a day may work for most people, but did you know drinking more water can aid in fat loss?

Water helps:

  • Boosts your metabolism
  • Keep you feeling fuller longer
  • Detoxify and cleanse
  • Energize muscles
  • Clear skin

This is how I get my gallon of water a day:

  • First thing in the morning, before eating anything, I drink 2 cups of water with lemon.
  • Breakfast usually consists of a fresh juice (1-2 cups of water) or a smoothie with 1-2 cups of water.  If I eat solid foods for breakfast, I always make sure I have another 1-2 cups of water = 2 cups
  • I bring my water bottle to work each day which holds 3 cups.  I drink the first bottle by my morning break, 10:30am.  I fill it and drink the next bottle by lunch, 1:00pm.  I fill it again and drink the last bottle by 4:00pm = 9 cups
  • I go to the gym after work and will consume more water while working out, but I usually don’t count that because I’m compensating for water lost from sweating
  • At dinner, I’ll have another 2 cups.
  • And finally before bed, I’ll either have an herbal tea or just drink another 1-2 cups of plain water.

That adds up to about 16 cups a day which equals a gallon or 128 ounces or almost 4L…however you want to look at it!  It’s very important to evenly spread out your water intake.  Do not go all day without drinking water then at 6:00pm start chugging back a gallon.  It is dangerously unsafe.  The kidneys of a healthy adult can filter about 800 to 1,000 mL or 0.21 to 0.26 gallons of water every hour.  However, stress (from prolonged physical exertion),  can greatly reduce this amount.

Is there such a thing as too much water??

Technically, yes!  It is called hyponatremia also known as water intoxication or water poisoning.  This occurs when you drink too much water at once diluting your body’s nutrients so they can no longer function properly. It can be deadly but is also rare and usually on seen in infants under 9 months, because of their small body mass and marathon runners, where they sweat excessively, replenish with large amounts of water and not enough electrolytes.

To sum it up:

  • If you are not looking to lose weight you should drink a minimum of eight 8 ounce glasses a day.
  • If you are trying to lose weight aim for about 0.5 – 1 ounce per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs that would be 75 to 150 ounces of water a day, or about 9 to 18 cups of water a day.
  • Spread out your water intake evenly throughout the day.
  • There is such a thing called water intoxication, but it is very rare and drinking a gallon of water throughout the day will not cause this.
  • Don’t forget, beverages like coffee, alcohol, pop and sugary fruit juices will actually dehydrate your body. So drink these in moderation!

There you have it…bottoms up!

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Sources:
http://www.caloriesperhour.com/tutorial_water.php
http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/human-biology/water-intoxication.htm
http://chemistry.about.com/cs/5/f/blwaterintox.htm

10 Comments

  • chelseainheels January 10, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Thank you for the tips! I definitely know I need to drink more water but it’s surprisingly hard for me to squeeze it all in! I’m going to try your schedule for a few days and see if that helps.

    http://WanderingInHeels.com

    Reply
    • thehappyhealthfreak January 10, 2014 at 11:54 am

      Awesome!! Let me know how it goes. There will be lots of bathroom trips 🙂

      Reply
  • wholefoodrunner January 10, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I’m with you, I drink SO much water! I have kept track before and it is usually around 2 gallons (including the water I drink during exercise) – I know, nuts. I actually went to my doctor before about it because it seems like a illness, I just can’t get enough but she said it was fine and it is just what I have gotten my body used to. Bottoms up!

    Reply
    • thehappyhealthfreak January 10, 2014 at 11:59 am

      Incredible!! 2 gallons does seem like a lot but everyone is different and that is what your body needs. Great job!!!

      Reply
  • Fitness On Toast January 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    This is great! Easily-absorbed (lol) informative content, and a good reminder of the importance of hydration! I wrote a similar article here [with some fun pics by the sea 🙂 ] http://fitnessontoast.com/2013/09/08/the-benefits-of-drinking-water/

    Reply
    • thehappyhealthfreak January 10, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks! Love those pictures. Can I teleport there right now please!!?

      Reply
      • Fitness On Toast January 10, 2014 at 3:37 pm

        Only if I am allowed to teleport too. Cold rainy London isn’t any fun in January!

        Reply
  • Laura January 21, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    It’s so awesome you drink that much water in a single day! I am nowhere near that. I have a large water bottle I fill while I’m at work (but this isn’t all the time), and then I’ll have maybe that amount again in the evening. Because my work is so fast-paced, it’s challenging to get up to go the washroom all the time! And honestly, this is what stops me from drinking as much as I should!

    Reply
    • thehappyhealthfreak January 21, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      Trust me, I hear ya! I went from one water bottle at work to 3 full bottles! I am going about every hour at least! It’s a pain in the butt getting up all the time and I’m sure if the washroom wasn’t 20 feet away I’d be in the same boat. I have noticed that my skin is really clearing up though 🙂

      Reply

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