Our bodies are made up of approximately two thirds water, and each day we lose some of this through processes such as sweating, breastfeeding, and urinating.
Water is needed by the body in order to function, so we need to keep ourselves hydrated all the time (and don’t wait until you feel thirsty to do so).
Water is also essential for weight loss. It flushes the toxins out of your system, keeps your digestive system in good shape, and can even help avoid overeating (as we often mistake thirst for hunger).
Just think how a plant looks when it is limp and dehydrated. Keep yourself well watered while you’re following a healthy eating plan and it will help you look your best.
How much should I be having?
Everyone is different, and your requirements depend on your age, weight, and how active you are each day.
But as a general rule, aim for around 2L of water per day (if you can). For breastfeeding mums, you’ll need to increase this to cover the demands of milk making.
Drinks such as coffee, cola and alcohol can actually make you more dehydrated so are best enjoyed in moderation.
Not sure if you’re having enough? Answer our 8 questions below:
1. Do you always take a bottle of water out with you?
As a mum you’re probably super efficient at packing a bag for the park with your child’s snacks, jumper, wipes, nappies, spare t-shirt, favourite toys and of course a drink.
But how often do you remember to pack your own drink? Taking a water bottle everywhere you go is a great habit to get into. It encourages you to sip throughout the day and it also means you’ll be less tempted by sugary drinks when you’re out and about.
2. Do you wake up with water?
Another great habit to get into is to put a glass or bottle of water by your bed. As soon as you wake in the morning, drink it all.
It’s a great start to the day as it gives your system a quick blast of hydration to get things moving.
3. Do you have a glass of water with all meals?
Enjoying some water when you eat is a great way to keep yourself hydrated.
Try to get out of the habit of having soft drinks or alcohol with meals, as these can dehydrate you further (plus you are taking on empty calories and zero nutrition).
4. Do you need to use the toilet several times per day?
If you are having enough water each day, you should be needing to urinate several times per day. If you are going hours and hours without needing a toilet break, this could be a sign that you are dehydrated and should be taking more water.
Dehydration can leave you feeling flat, tired, fuzzy in the head and can also give you bad headaches.
5. Is your urine clear or light in colour?
Have a look in the toilet bowl when you have passed urine. It should be clear or at least a light straw colour. If it is dark it is a sign that you need to drink more water.
It is natural for your urine to be slightly darker first thing in the morning after sleeping for many hours without drinking.
6. Do you have comfortable bowel movements?
Your body needs water in order to get rid of waste from your system. If you are not drinking enough it makes it more difficult to form a stool, as your body will start to extract the water from it.
This in turn makes it harder for your stools to come out (hello constipation). Many people find that issues of constipation are solved by upping their water intake.
7. Does your skin bounce back from the pinch test?
If you think you might be dehydrated, try pinching the skin on the back of your hand for several seconds.
When you let go, if your skin quickly bounces back to its original place you are hydrated; whereas skin that takes a few seconds to slowly move back could mean you are dehydrated.
8. Are you topping up your water when needed?
You can’t just stick to the 2L per day rule without allowances. If the weather is extremely hot, or you have been for a long walk, played some sport, or done some exercise like the Healthy Mummy Post Pregnancy Exercise DVD – you will need to take on more water in order to replace the additional fluids you have lost.
So how did you do? If you don’t think you are drinking enough water then take a look at our our top 5 ways to increase your water intake.