Hydration is a key to conquering your cravings. It can be hard to distinguish between dehydration and hunger. If you aren’t conscious of this link, it is easy to mistake thirst for hunger.
Dehydration and hunger
Chronic dehydration is more common than you may think. Recent research says that 75% of us are walking around in a state of mild dehydration. Many times, you feel hungry when you are likely just in need of water.
It’s just a matter of mindfulness or awareness. Check in with yourself and ask the question: Am I hungry or is it thirst? Try a glass of water first. If you still feel hungry in 20 minutes, then it makes sense to have something to eat.
Lack of hydration and cravings
Dehydration can also make it difficult for your liver to release glycogen and other forms of stored fuel. The liver depends on water to facilitate these reactions. The result is a lack of energy and low blood sugar which makes you feel hungry and increases cravings.
Being dehydrated can also interfere with brain levels of serotonin. Serotonin is the feel-good neurotransmitter but it is also involved in satiety. When serotonin levels are low it can trigger the desire to eat more and create food cravings for foods like refined carbs and sugar.
How much water do you need?
Take your body weight divided by 2 and that’s the amount of water you need to be drinking. So, if you are a 150-pound woman, make sure you are drinking about 75 ounces per day. That is equivalent to 3 and ½ shatter resistant glass water bottles per day.
If you are only drinking 2 to 3 glasses on a good day, this might feel really challenging. Like all new habits, it can take some time to establish the habit of drinking adequate water. Set some incremental goals for yourself. Try this: Just add another glass for a few days. Once you have that down try to add another glass until you get to your goal. Incremental progress is the name of the game!
Tips to increase your water intake:
- First thing when you get out of bed in the morning drink 16 ounces of water. When you wake up, you are dehydrated and this will help your metabolism. And get you well on your way to your goal for the day.
- Use a water bottle to measure how you are doing. It’s pretty much impossible to know how many ounces you are drinking if you are not monitoring.
- Flavor up your water. Drinking enough water can feel overwhelming if you think water tastes blah! Try adding fruit like watermelon, berries, or lemon to a pitcher of water. Add some herbs and veggies too. Here are some great combinations:
- Another great way to flavor your water is to use essential oils. All you need is just one drop in about 16 ounces. Peppermint and grapefruit are great for cravings but you can also use lemon, lavender and ginger. If you are going to ingest an oil just make sure you are using a certified pure therapeutic grade oil like doTerra.
- Set an alarm on your phone every hour to help you remember to drink more water.
- Eat water rich foods. Watermelon, grapefruit, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, pepper, spinach, strawberries, cauliflower and broccoli all have a water content of over 90%.
- Make sure you use glass or stainless-steel containers. Plastics are known endocrine disrupters. Even the BPA free water bottles are not safe. Substitutes for BPA have not been properly tested. This won’t make you drink more water but it will make it safer.
- Keep your water source close by. If you work at a desk all day or do quite a bit of driving make sure you plan to have your water right by you all day.