When people want to eat right – to stay healthy, to lose weight – they tend to think of what they need to avoid, or what they need to make sure not to eat to much of.
That can be stressful, especially when one’s good intentions don’t lead to healthy eating.
And they often don’t. After all, eating is largely instinctual behavior, and instincts just don’t listen very long to « good intentions. »
When I was on my own journey to getting into a healthy relationship with food – after fad dieting in my teens, followed by years of sugar cravings and self-sabotage – I came to realize that restraint (followed by self-chastisement) wasn’t going to get me there.
Among many other strategies that did work, however, was the strategy of « adding. » Our instincts like more of what’s essential to life. They aren’t going to put up very long with getting less.
A simple thing like drinking enough water is enough to make a noticeable difference in curbing sugar cravings as well as overeating.
When you drink enough water every day, you are more likely to feel refreshed, less fatigued, and more full.
And when you’re feeling more awake and more full, you’re less likely to turn to sugary foods or food your body doesn’t really need for a temporary – but ultimately detrimental – fix.
Studies show that there’s actually a whole slew of benefits from drinking enough H2O every day:
- It strengthens your immune system.
- It lifts your mood.
- It keeps your skin healthier.
- It improves your memory and helps with mental clarity.
- It cleanses the cells of your body and flushes out toxins.
- It promotes weight loss because it carries away by-products of fat, and raises the metabolism.
And much more.
So how much water should you drink?
The long-standing advice has been « 8 glasses a day. » The optimal amount depends, however, on how much you weigh, how active you are, and how humid or dry your environment is.
Of course, your own body is always the best authority on what it needs. If you aim to give it 8 glasses of water a day, and tune in to when you want more, you will stay on track and well hydrated. (Though it’s a good idea to avoid drinking a lot of water with meals, otherwise it can dilute the digestive enzymes in your stomach.)
Take note of how much better you feel when you do this. When you realize how much better you feel, you’re more likely to want to keep doing it until it becomes a habit.
Day to day life can be stressful, and too much stress can make it difficult to steer clear of too much sugar and overeating.
Keeping in mind the 8 glasses plus a day goal helps you shift out of struggle over cravings, and into a positive focus on what your body needs.