I used to hate the taste of water. I grew up on Koolaid and pop, so my taste buds were accustomed to a level of sweet flavor that water couldn’t compete with. I hear it all of the time from people – that they can’t stand drinking plain water. The thing is, water is SO important for us! Our bodies are made up of mostly water, and you need it in order for your body to function optimally. A lot of people are dehydrated & don’t even realize it! Although most people seem perfectly aware that yes, they should be drinking more water, I think there is so much ignorance to the real importance of this.
Weaning myself off of the soda was the first major step I took towards being healthier. I can’t even remember what exactly motivated me. It may have been partly because of the cost, and partly because I knew it was bad for me. Honestly I didn’t even originally have a solid goal to eventually reach water, I just knew that the soda needed to go. The first thing I did was switch to drinking flavored carbonated water. They sell all sorts of these now, and I honestly doubt any of them are really healthier than soda, but it was what I considered the first logical step. Once I got used to that, I started to drink Crystal light. At the time I had no qualms about artificial sugars, and again this was what I felt to be the most logical next step. Eventually I began to dilute the Crystal light, using double the amount of water suggested for the packets. This reduced the sweetness as well as the flavor. Eventually I started drinking more & more regular ice water, sometimes with lemon slices. Now I drink water almost exclusively, as well as tea sometimes. I rarely drink soda, and when I do I have to be careful because it can upset my stomach really easily. I even would say I crave water now.
The problem many people have is that they are so used to drinks (& food) with a crazy punch of flavor & sweetness that they don’t even like what their body truly needs anymore. Regular, unprocessed food & drink seems boring to them. Trust me, I understand because I’ve spent most of my life there, and I still struggle with it at times. I have a major sweet tooth, for one thing. Did you know that many food companies actually employ scientists whose jobs are to figure out how to make their products more addictive to your taste buds? There’s a reason you can’t stay away from it! Once you get hooked it takes a lot of effort to stop.
I’m not going to tell you that the way I transitioned from soda to water is the best way to do it, but it did work for me. What I hope you will learn is that it is much easier to make a lasting change when you take small steps. This transition took me years to make. Now I avoid artificial sweeteners because I’ve had bad experiences with them, so I would not recommend them to you (btw, diet soda is NOT better than regular, if you haven’t been told that already). What I would recommend now with the knowledge I have is to try adding flavor to your water in other ways. Lemon & other fruits are great options for this – they even sell water bottles & pitchers where you put fruit into a central core that allows them to infuse the water with their flavor (I personally have one similar to this). Find something that works for you. The important thing is to drink more water! :)
Why should you drink more water? There are SO many reasons! Water is essential for your body to function optimally. It flushes out toxins, gives you healthier skin, improves digestion, can aid in weight loss (often we are actually thirsty when we think we are hungry, plus water has no calories!), balances blood pressure, improves energy, and so much more. There is some debate as to how much water you should drink, but I follow this method: divide your weight in pounds by two, and that is how many ounces you should drink per day. If this seems daunting to you, start with what you can manage & work your way up. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day! I’ve found it extremely helpful to have a water bottle with me at all times so that I always have some within reach. If you have a smartphone you can also use an app to track your water. I’m a fan of the Two Grand app myself – it helps you track all sorts of goals!
So it’s up to you to make the choice to move forward on your journey towards achieving greater health. Why not start with more water? Leave me a comment below telling me what small step you plan to take!