As I’m sure you know, drinking an appropriate amount of water every day is very important for your overall health. Most Americans, however, don’t drink enough water. And with so many delicious sweet options available, (ahem… Sonic Drive-In) why would one opt for the flavorless one? Well, because it’s good for you! Water makes our body and brain work better, our skin more supple, and helps our immune system do its job, therefore helping us feel better overall. Not to mention if you drink water instead of sodas or juices or sweetened drinks, you’ll be cutting out a lot of empty calories! This, as you know, will translate into quick weight loss, and generally feeling better. I drink at least 2 liters of water per day, black coffee, and unsweetened tea. My drinks don’t add calories to my day, so I can eat more food! Honestly, I’d much rather eat my calories than drink them…

I wasn’t always this good, though. I didn’t drink plain water at all until I was 16 years old. I couldn’t do it! It made me nauseous! (Isn’t that just terrible!?) It seriously made me feel like I was going to throw up! Mine was a Coca-Cola family. There was always Coke and Diet Coke (for mom), sometimes a Sprite or Fanta (for the kids). We sometimes had kool-aid or other powdered drinks of the sort, whic are nothing but sugar and dyes and nobody, especially children should be drinking them.

I only started drinking water at 16 when, after recurring urinary tract infections since childhood,  the doctor put me on a 3 month-long treatment during which I wasn’t allowed to drink anything but water! Imagine my despair! It was awful. Cold turkey I had to do this! But UTIs are extremely painful and I wanted them to permanently go away so I obeyed. It was amazing how much weight I lost! Just in the first month, I lost 10 pounds and my acne improved tremendously just by switching out all my drinks for water!

Still, once the treatment ended, I went back to drinking flavored beverages, though I kept drinking water as well as soda, flavored drinks and everything else. After a few years, however, I did realize that my drink choices were not the healthiest, so I started by switching regular sodas with diet sodas (knowing what we know now about artificial sweeteners, I wouldn’t recommend it. You can just skip that step). After that, I switched from diet sodas to sweetened iced teas. Then, I started ordering unsweetened iced teas and adding a bit of lemon, until one day, I could just drink completely unsweetened tea. I’m honestly not a big fan of black tea, though, so the jump from unsweetened iced tea to water was pretty easy. Over the course of a few months, I was drinking all water, all the time! My family all had soda in their glasses, and I had a tall glass of water. I didn’t even miss it!

My coffee habits changed more slowly, though. My mom is a coffee addict and my grandmother got me hooked on coffee at a very young age, milk coffee with sugar! It was amazing and I still think lattes and cafe au laits are the most delicious coffee drinks, though I don’t really have them anymore, partly because of the empty calories, sugar and fat, and partly because of the fact that I stopped drinking milk and my body’s not used to it anymore. (I know almond and coconut milks are great substitutes, but frankly, the taste is not the same…).

Over the last 15 years, my transition from super sugary coffee drinks to black coffee has gone like this:

16 oz. vanilla latte (every morning! eek!) ->

12 oz. vanilla latte (this was too small and wasn’t cutting it so…) ->

16 oz. americano/drip coffee with 1 pump of syrup and non fat milk (less sugar and less dairy!) ->

Americano/coffee with almond milk and splenda (this was when splenda was thought to be safe. Also, almond milk doesn’t last in the fridge very long so…)-> 

Americano/coffee, black 1 tsp raw sugar (When I learned that it’s best to eat limited amounts of real sugar than eating artificial sweeteners)->

Black Americano/coffee with stevia -> 

Black Americano/coffee (when I thought I’d give it a try and actually liked it!)

If you love super flavored coffees it’s probably because you don’t like plain coffee. But you probably are a fan of coffee in general. So find one you like on its own and you won’t need to dress it up with creamers and sweeteners! My favorites are good quality dark roast coffees or espressos.

Once you wean yourself from sodas and sugary drinks (and see the results!), it becomes easy not to drink them! Water is essential for our body to work optimally, so you’ll feel better and more than likely look better too!

And, while specific needs vary from person to person and situation to situation, these are some basic guidelines.

  • Most adults need around 3 L (12 cups) of fluid each day as a baseline. 1 L (4 cups) comes from our food, this means that 2 L (8 cups) comes from drinking.
  • Bigger people usually need more fluid than smaller ones.
  • If it’s warmer and/or drier, you might need 500 mL (2 cups) more.
  • If you’re exercising hard, you might need up to 6 L (24 cups) per day.