How To Stay Out of Your Kid’s Halloween Candy

Trick or Treat is a fun time of year! But it can be a real challenge if you are trying to lose weight or stop eating sugar. The temptation is real! This article will give you 5 tips on how to stay out of your kid’s Halloween candy.

Halloween Beware!

I wrote this article because it is fun and practical for this time of year. Bowls of candy sitting everywhere you go! But it has a bit of a serious implication on my past behaviors when it came to losing weight. I have struggled for almost 20 years with losing weight and KEEPING it off. About 4 years ago I looked back at my behaviors and thought patterns about this time of year. I realized that Halloween was the beginning of the end for me year after year.

Do not let Halloween be the end of your hard work!

Every Halloween I fell off the wagon. It all started with eating a handful of my kid’s Halloween candy a couple of days in a row. I would feel guilty and that is when I started to self-sabotage. I would look at the calendar, by this time it was the first week of November. Guess what? In less than 4 weeks it will be Thanksgiving! That holiday is ALL about eating! Say what you are thankful for and then eat until you are stuffed. I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and desserts.

Tis the Season for Temptations

A month after Thanksgiving is Christmas. The temptations with the holiday season are endless. There are holiday parties, drinks, baking traditions, and whatever else you can imagine. To me, it looked like failure wrapped up in pretty Christmas wrapping paper. So I decided that I would throw in the towel every Halloween and pick up where I left off with a New Year’s resolution to get back on track. I did that year after year. I even got to the point where I looked forward to it.

That is why I write this article, do not let Halloween be the beginning of your downward spiral like it was for me. You have worked too hard! Here are 5 tips to keep you keep your hands out of the Halloween candy.

Throw away what your kids do not want

This is a trick that I have been doing for years. Throwing away the candy that your kids don’t want is good for a couple of reasons. There is less sugar around for everyone involved. If you are worried about all the bad effects sugar has on your kids, do them a favor and throw away what they don’t want. Be honest, who hasn’t eaten candy they didn’t like, because it was sugar, and it was just sitting around? I am guilty for sure!! Do everyone a favor and get it out of the house.

The negative effects of sugar on women who are in their 40s are substantial. Anything that you need to do to eliminate the risk of eating the candy is worth taking into consideration. I once worked with a lady who would have her kids throw away half of their Halloween candy. When they get home from trick or treating, they would divide their candy into two even piles. One was the candy they wanted, and the other was the candy they were willing to part with. You know if you have ever taken your kids trick or treating, half of the amount of candy is still PLENTY of candy.

Hide it from yourself

Out of sight out of mind! That is the mantra I live by when the holidays start. Studies have shown that you are more likely to reduce your cravings by not having visual reminders. The harder you have to work to satisfy your cravings, the less likely you are to succeed. In other words, if you must make the effort to try and find the candy, your mind will likely get distracted and decide it’s not worth the effort.

I will admit, this is much easier to do when your kids get older. They have no interest in keeping their candy out for public consumption. They will hide it in their room or keep it in their backpack. The last couple of years my kids went trick or treating, and I couldn’t find their candy if I wanted to. They guard that stuff like Fort Knox!

Agree on a place to hide the candy

Find a hiding spot that you and your kids agree on. One that is out of sight for you and easily accessible for them. Maybe a random cupboard in your kitchen or a cabinet in the living room works for you.

My sister used to hide my niece’s candy in the bathroom closet. The lowest shelf in the closet was just the right height for my niece. The bathroom closet wasn’t a very high-traffic area for my sister.

Agree on the number of days the Halloween candy stays in the house.

I think this is the most helpful trick. The day after trick or treat, have a conversation with your kids and agree on a fair amount of time that the candy will stay in the house. And whatever candy is left over when the time is up, gets thrown away. I have found that the novelty of Halloween candy usually fades after 4 or 5 days. They typically don’t care much about it after that.

This works well for me because I need to know how long my willpower must hold out. I need to know when the torture will end. When the deadline is here, I find great satisfaction in throwing that stuff in the trash. I feel like I won the battle.

Play tricks on your mind

This may sound silly, but when you are desperate, you are desperate! One year I pictured Halloween candy as poison. Kinda like witch’s brew. I told myself, that candy is bad for me like poison. It worked for two days and then I had to come up with something else. The point is that it bought me time when I needed it most. Find whatever you must do to play a trick on yourself. That stupid candy isn’t around for long, we are only talking about a few days here.

Reward Yourself

Set a goal of eating zero Halloween candy and reward yourself in the end. After all, it is the beginning of the holiday season. We all have that guilty pleasure. Mine is holiday candles. For the past two years, I have bought Christmas-scented candles to celebrate my victory over the Halloween candy. It gives me something to look forward to. Make it something small, but meaningful to you. We are not talking about designer handbags here!

Some fun ideas:

-A new sports bra

– Fuzzy socks

– Favorite lotion or body wash

– New holiday shirt

– A gift card to your favorite coffee shop

What do you do now?

Pick one or two of these ideas, or even better, let this post inspire you to come up with a few of your own ideas. And share them, please!! We are all in this struggle together. I know I am not alone when it comes to the temptations of Halloween and the holidays. Just remember, the candy won’t be around forever. You can do this!! And as always, just keep trying!!

Not Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Could Make It Impossible to Lose Weight

Whenever our lives get busy, sleep is the first compromise. Sometimes we sacrifice sleep because of long work hours. Sometimes we are indulging in immediate gratification actions like social media or television. For some of us, staying up late is our escape, our few minutes of me time. But did you know, that not getting a good night’s sleep could make it impossible to lose weight?

This article will explain:

1. Why sleep is so important.

2. How sleep can help you lose weight

3. How to get a good night’s sleep.

Here is what a good night’s sleep can do for you.

1. Helps you Avoid Weight Gain

The clinical definition of being short on sleep is getting less than 6 to 7 hours of sleep at night. The average woman needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Not surprisingly, less than two-thirds of women get this much sleep.

What Do the Studies Say?

Short sleep has been repeatedly linked to a higher BMI (body mass index) and weight gain.

Short sleep duration has been significantly related to a larger waist circumference, which is a large indicator of belly fat.

A study of 300,000 people has shown that there is a 41% increase in the risk of obesity in people who get fewer than 7 hours of sleep.

Poor sleep increases the amount of cortisol, a stress hormone that is related to belly fat.

2. Stabilizes Your Appetite and Helps You Make Better Food Choices

Being short on sleep affects your hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin. When you don’t get enough sleep your body produces more ghrelin and less leptin which increases your appetite and makes you hungry.

What do the studies say?

– People who are sleep-deprived report higher calorie intake and increased appetite.

– People who have experienced sleep deprivation consume on average 385 more calories with most of them high in fat content.

– Sleep deprivation leads to increased portion sizes, food cravings, fat intake, and chocolate.

Getting a good night’s sleep will help you make better food choices. Skimping on sleep sets your brain up to make bad decisions. It dulls the activity in the frontal lobe of the brain. That part of the brain focuses on decision-making and impulse control. When your brain is overtired, your rewards centers rev up. This makes you look for something that feels good- usually food that is high in fats and carbohydrates.

3. Going to Sleep Early Prevents Late Night Snacking

Going to bed later means that you are staying up longer. The longer you are awake, the more opportunities there are to eat. If your dinner time is at 7, and you stay awake until 1 scrolling through social media or watching Netflix. That is a 6-hour window. That is prime time for high-calorie and high-carb snacking. Let’s be honest, we have all finished off a pint of ice cream or the whole bag of potato chips mindlessly while we indulge in screen activities.

Late-night eating has several consequences. It is linked to weight gain and a higher BMI. Eating food that is high in calories and carbohydrates could lead to poor sleep. The effects of eating that late could be indigestion, acid reflux, and heartburn. None of these conditions will make it easy to get a good night’s sleep. It is ideal to limit food intake to 3 hours before bed. This gives your body time to digest food properly.

4. Increases Your Metabolism

Sleep is nutrition for the brain. A lack of sleep will trigger a spike in your cortisol level which will lead to the body storing fat instead of burning it. Sleep deprivation makes you metabolically groggy. After a few days of short sleep, your body’s ability to process insulin is disrupted. Insulin is a hormone that changes sugar and starches into energy.

Getting the right amount of sleep allows your body to keep your hormones in balance.

5. Increases Your Physical Activity

Let’s face it, the more rest you get the more likely you are to be able to tackle the demands of the day. That includes getting in a good workout. Physical activity increases your metabolic rate which burns calories. Getting the right amount of sleep makes it easier to be motivated and stay active throughout the day.

Tips to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Getting enough sleep sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, what is simple is not always easy. If it were easy we would be getting enough sleep. Here are some tips to help you get started on having a good night’s sleep.

1. Turn off all screens at least an hour before you go to bed. Avoid the temptation to scroll endlessly late into the night.

2. Keep a regular sleep schedule even on the weekends or your days off

3. Avoid indulging right before bed. Don’t eat a large meal or drink alcohol before you go to sleep. It will be difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep. Avoid consuming caffeine after 2 p.m. Caffeine stays in your system 5 to 6 hours after consumption.

4. Sleep in a dark room. Darkness cues your body to release melatonin which is a natural sleep hormone. Light suppresses the release of melatonin.

5. Don’t work or watch TV in your bedroom. Your bedroom should be for resting, not working or entertainment. Going into your bedroom should be a natural cue for your body to start the relaxation process.

What do you do next?

As with any habit you are trying to change, don’t try to change too much at once. Pick no more than 2 things that you need to work on that will get you the most results. For example, if you have a habit of staying up late and snacking. Turn your phone and computer off and get to bed an hour earlier. Make it a point to work out 4 or 5 times a week. You will see results in 30 days. Be patient, change takes time. Do what works for you and keep trying!

Women’s Guide to Protein

As we all know ladies, our bodies start to change in our 40s. This also means we have to change what we eat so we can lose weight and stay fit. In this women’s guide to protein, you will find out how much protein your body needs, the benefits of protein, and what foods are the most beneficial.

I want to dispel the myth that eating a certain amount of protein is going to bulk you up and make you look like a bodybuilder. Because honestly, that is what I thought. Eating the right amount of protein is especially important if you already have an active lifestyle. If you are having trouble losing weight, or are at a plateau with your weight loss, this could be the answer.

How much protein does a woman in her 40s need?

The ideal amount of protein for a woman is between .6 to 1 gram per body weight pound. For example, if a woman weighs 150 pounds her ideal protein intake should be between 90 and 150 grams of protein. That may seem like a wide range. To know what the right amount of protein you need, take into consideration your lifestyle. If you have an active lifestyle, and work out intensely 4 or 5 days a week for 45 minutes or longer, you are going to need closer to 150 grams of protein. If you have a more sedentary lifestyle which consists of a desk job and you go on walks 3 times a week, your ideal protein amount is closer to 90.

Simply put, the more calories you burn the more protein your body is going to need. If you are eating more protein to lose weight and build lean muscle, you will have to consume fewer calories and avoid a large amount of complex carbohydrates. Eat more fruits and vegetables instead of breads and pastas. If you are consuming larger amounts of protein, you need to eat leaner protein options such as skinless white meat poultry, nuts, and lentils.

Benefits of Protein

So why is protein so important you ask? Protein offers many benefits to women especially in their 40s at a time when their body is changing. The benefits of protein impact the overall health of a woman’s body.

Builds and maintains lean muscle mass

A common misconception I had was that protein is for bodybuilders and people who want to bulk up. Nothing could be further from the truth. Proteins are building blocks for your body. In their 40s women start to lose muscle mass naturally through perimenopause. The effects of losing muscle mass include fatigue, weakness, and vulnerability to injury.

Eating the right amount of protein will help you increase your lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass will increase your metabolism and help you burn fat. Muscles help you convert your food into energy. Leaner muscles will burn calories as opposed to sending them to be stored as fat. A higher metabolic rate will give you more energy throughout the day. Personally, I only increased my protein intake by 15 to 20 grams and I felt so much better and had more energy.

Helps lose fat

High protein intake is proven to increase your metabolism which increases the number of calories you burn. A higher metabolism gives you more energy and makes you feel better. Energy is a superpower in your 40s. It is something we can’t get enough of. Leaner muscle built by protein will also increase fat loss.

Builds strong bones

According to the Osteoporosis Foundation, 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, and 80% of them are women. Protein works with vitamin D and calcium for bone health improvement. Eating the right amount of protein will help you strengthen and fortify your bones. This is especially important for women who are at high risk of osteoporosis after menopause.

Helps reduce craving for salty and sweet snacks

Could this be it?? Is this the answer to all those late-night snack cravings? We might be onto something! Studies have shown that protein helps you feel fuller longer and you will eat less food. Appetites are powerful! Increasing the amount of protein you eat will help you decrease your want for higher-calorie snacks. If you are looking to lose weight or belly fat, trade foods that are higher in protein over starches. It can be as easy as eating a few more ounces of chicken breast and eating less mashed potatoes.

Improves the appearance of nails, hair, and skin

You see advertisements for collagen everywhere. What is it and why is it so important? Collagen is one of the body’s most abundant proteins and it is found in your connective tissues. That’s your skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, organ tissue, and bones. Collagen is like the glue that holds your body together. Your body produces collagen through amino acids. Foods that are high in collagen are chicken fish and egg whites.

Collagen helps your skin and hair look healthy. It also reduces the lines and wrinkles in your skin. Your body’s ability to produce collagen decreases as you get older. The reduction of collagen results in the visible signs of aging. That is why there are so many advertisements for collagen.

List of protein-rich foods

– 3 oz of chicken breast- 25g

– 3 oz of strip steak -25g

– 2 slices of bacon -11g

– 3 oz turkey breast- 22g

– 6 oz of Greek yogurt- 17g

– 8 oz low-fat cottage cheese -27g

– ½ cup of pinto beans and black beans- 8g

– ½ cup of kidney beans and garbanzo beans -7g

– 2 tbsp of peanut butter- 8g

– 1 oz of almonds or pistachios -6g

– 1 large egg -6g

This list of common foods will help you get enough protein in your diet. The full list is in the link provided. This is the list that I used to finally start getting enough protein daily. It may take a little bit of meal planning until you get used to counting grams of protein.

Pro Tip: I usually take two foods that are higher in protein value and plan my meals around them for the day. I eat cottage cheese almost every day for lunch.

Bottom Line

So ladies, if you thought that protein was just for men who wanted to build muscle, now you know the truth. Protein has a considerable amount of vital benefits for women.

Get started

1. Multiply your body weight by .6 if you are fairly inactive and up to 1% if you are very active. This calculation will give you the amount of protein you need.

2. Download the list of foods that are high in protein

3. Plan meals around foods that are high in protein

4. Make your grocery list.

Start building lean muscle, have stronger bones and have healthier skin. Get all the energy you need to conquer your day!

Tips to Eating Healthy on a Budget

Eating healthy on a budget is possible with some planning and smart choices. Here are some tips to eat healthy on a budget without breaking the bank. Who isn’t trying to save some money right now? Unfortunately, eating healthy can be expensive.  This is going to require some planning on your part, but the results are worth it!

Make a Plan to Eat Healthy

  1. Plan Your Meals: Create a weekly meal plan that includes budget-friendly, healthy recipes. This will help you make a shopping list and reduce food waste. Once you make your shopping list, stick to it!
  • Cook at Home: Eating out or ordering takeout can be expensive and often less healthy. Cooking at home allows you to control the ingredients and portion sizes.
  • Shop Seasonal and Local: Seasonal fruits and vegetables tend to be cheaper and fresher. Also, consider buying produce from local farmers’ markets for potential savings.
  • Avoid Pre-Packaged and Processed Foods: Pre-packaged and processed foods are convenient but usually more expensive and less healthy. Cooking from scratch can save you money and provide healthier options.
  • Plan for Leftovers: Cook larger batches of meals and use leftovers for lunches or dinners. This reduces the need to buy additional ingredients. A great solution for busy nights.

Cut Costs at the Grocery

  • Use Coupons and Discounts: Look for coupons, sales, and discounts on healthy items. Many grocery stores have loyalty programs or offer digital coupons. Build your meals around the sales ads to maximize sale prices.
  • Compare Prices: You may need to compare the prices of two different grocery stores. It may be more cost-effective to buy fresh meat and produce in one location and dry and canned foods in another location.
  • Limit Meat Consumption: Meat can be expensive. Consider incorporating more plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, tofu, or eggs into your diet. Try to plan one day a week with no meat.
  • Minimize Snacking: Snack foods can quickly add up in cost and calories. Instead, focus on eating balanced meals that keep you full for longer.

Reduce Food Waste to Save Money

  1. Drink Water: Opt for tap water instead of sugary drinks or even bottled water. It’s healthier and more budget-friendly. This can save you well over $100 a month. Water has multiple health benefits.
  1. Reduce Food Waste: Make an effort to use up all the food you buy. Be mindful of expiration dates and freeze items that you won’t use immediately.
  1. Buy Generic Brands: Store brands or generic brands are often more affordable than name-brand products and are typically of similar quality.
  1. Meal Prep: Spend some time each week meal prepping, portioning out meals, and packing lunches. This can help you resist the temptation of unhealthy, expensive takeout.
  1. DIY Snacks: Make your own snacks like granola bars, popcorn, or trail mix from bulk ingredients.
  1. Cook Healthy Meals and Freeze: This will save you time and money in the long run.
  2. Buy Frozen Fruits and Vegetables: This can cost a fraction of what fresh produce does. Especially if the produce is out of season

Eating healthy is vital to lose weight and stay healthy.  Shopping on a budget can be a challenge, but these tips will make it easier for you to be successful. Invest your time wisely and buy healthy foods that will save you money.

5 Ways Women Can Reduce the Stress Hormone Cortisol

We have heard a lot about cortisol in the last 5 years. But what is it? What effects does it have on our bodies? And more importantly, how can women reduce cortisol naturally in their daily activities? This article will explain what cortisol is and its multiple effects on the body. 5 tips will help reduce the cortisol hormone to a healthy level.

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released by the adrenal glands when your body is in fight or flight mode. The hormone is helpful to the body in stressful situations. Cortisol mobilizes carbohydrates and fats for instant energy that your body may need to keep you safe. But let’s be honest, there aren’t very many instances when we have to run or fight for our lives.

A healthy level of cortisol helps the body

  • Regulate blood pressure
  • Converts food to energy
  • Regulates insulin
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Supports the body’s natural sleep and wake cycles
  • Helps your body control its metabolism

However, when cortisol levels are too high in the body for too long. The hormone hurts more than it helps. There are plenty of opportunities in your life that will raise your stress levels. It may be financially, a demanding job, and or home life, or you may suffer from anxiety. Anything that you view as stressful, will raise your cortisol levels.

What happens when your cortisol levels are too high?

  • Chronic disease- long-term increased cortisol levels may lead to heart disease, diabetes, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases
  • Weight gain – Increases levels of cortisol and turns the food you eat into fat and carbohydrates. This is what causes belly fat. Many of us turn to food when we are stressed which creates a vicious cycle.
  • Lack of energy /difficulty sleeping- lack of energy goes hand in hand with low sleep quality. Elevated stress levels can also cause insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating- this is also known as brain fog. Some people have a hard time focusing and having mental clarity
  • Disruption in the digestive system
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Loss of muscle and bone density
  • Weakened ability to fight infections
  • Impaired healing and cell regeneration
  • Hair and skin problems
  • Imbalances in hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

As you can see many of these things start a domino effect when it comes to behaviors. It is hard to feel like getting up and working out if you haven’t slept well the night before. If you are feeling depressed or overwhelmed the last thing on your mind is to make sure you are eating enough fruits and vegetables. So how do we stop the cycle of being stressed and having too much cortisol?

 

5 Ways Women Can Naturally Reduce Cortisol

If you are feeling stressed and anxious? You are not alone. A recent study showed globally that depression and anxiety have increased substantially in women since 2020. Depression has increased by 29.8% and anxiety has increased by 27.9%. We need to incorporate activities in our daily routines that will reduce the amount of stress and anxiety we are feeling. Here are 5 ways to reduce stress in your life.

1.    Get moving!!!

Anyone anywhere can do this. Doing any kind of exercise for 30 minutes a day 4 to 5 days a week is extremely beneficial. Activities can include walking, running, HIIT, resistance training, swimming, and biking.

Exercise reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body including cortisol. More importantly, exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Working out creates the elevated feeling of a “runner’s high.” Feeling good reduces stress.

Exercise also has other great benefits that break the cycle of stress. Increased physical activity has emotional benefits as well, when you start to lose weight or inches, your confidence and self-image will improve.

Exercise also improves sleep quality. Exercise helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. No more laying awake, trying to fall asleep.   Physical activity increases the time you spend in deep sleep. The more deep sleep you get, the more rested you will feel.

2.    Get the right amount of sleep

The recommended amount of sleep is 7 to 9 hours. Getting this appropriate amount of sleep will help lower your cortisol levels. If getting this amount of sleep seems more like a long shot than an attainable goal, you need to make sleep a priority.

            Here are some ways to sleep better at night:

Create a consistent sleep schedule. Keeping a constant wake and sleep schedule helps your body keep a consistent internal clock. Sleep experts recommend going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on your days off.

  • Create a quality sleep environment for yourself- it is worth the investment to get a good mattress and comfortable sheets. A good night’s sleep is priceless when you consider all the benefits it has on your life. Keep your bedroom dark, cool and quiet
  • Exercise regularly- As we have already discussed, getting regular exercise will improve your sleep. See the positive cycle we are creating?
  • Avoid screen time right before sleep- put your screens away an hour before bedtime. The blue light in the screens suppresses the part of the brain that produces melatonin. This makes it very hard for our brains to “shut off “ and fall asleep.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before bedtime- all these substances have ingredients that reduce the ability to either get to sleep or stay asleep. Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants that make it difficult to slow your brain down. Alcohol may help you go to sleep faster but is linked to low-quality sleep.

3.    Eat a nutritious diet

Foods that are high in sugar or sugar alternatives such as high fructose corn syrup, raise the level of cortisol in the body. Eating a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables help keep your cortisol levels in check. Dehydration has also been linked to a spike in cortisol. Just another reason to drink enough water.

4.    Care for a pet

Taking care of your four-legged furry friend can also lower cortisol levels in the body. Caring for a pet releases endorphins in the brain that make us feel good. Not only are pets great to have around, they also have the benefit of keeping us healthy. The health benefits of pets is so well documented, facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes have introduced pet therapy. This improves the mental health of their patients.

5.    Have fun!

Having a good time is probably the easiest way for us to reduce our cortisol levels. Do things you enjoy that make you laugh. Watch a funny TV show, find funny pet videos on social media, watch your favorite comedy movie. Laughter lowers cortisol levels. So does listening to music. If you have to clean your house or do some other unfavorable task, turn some music on and start feeling better.

You get bonus points if you do fun things with loved ones. Being in the company of other humans triggers the release of oxytocin. That is a hormone that is related to positive moods and fondness. Anytime you are in a good mood, your body has a lower level of cortisol.

            Conclusion

 Cortisol has several health benefits within the body. It helps regulate your body’s metabolism, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Cortisol helps our body react quickly and efficiently in high pressure situations. However, if cortisol levels stay high for too long, the effects on your health can be detrimental. Do yourself a favor and try ways to naturally reduce stress in your life. Find the areas in your life that need work and get to it.  This will lower your cortisol levels and make you feel better

5 Easy Ways to Make Drinking Enough Water Part of Your Day

We have all heard how important drinking more water is for our bodies. An easy way to calculate how much water you should drink is to divide your weight in half and that’s the number of ounces you should be drinking. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces. Water has multiple benefits such as increasing energy levels and brain function, helping clear skin, and aiding in weight loss. It sounds simple, but unfortunately, simple isn't always easy. As with any new habit, you are starting, the most important thing is figuring out how you are going to fit it into your routine. Here are 5 ways to make drinking water a habit that will improve your life.
  1. Make it easy to get started drinking water first thing in the morning.

It will be very difficult to drink the right amount of water if you wait until late in the day to get started. Set yourself up for success the night before. Fill up a water bottle the night before and set it somewhere that you will see first thing in the morning. That may be on your bathroom sink, on your kitchen table, or beside your bed. Somewhere that is a visual reminder for you to get started. According to James Clear, author of the book Atomic Habits, research has proven that it is easier to start a habit when you keep visual reminders in your environment.* It keeps us focused on the task. Starting to drink water in the morning will get you off on the right foot. If you wait until later in the morning to start, you are less likely to be motivated. The hardest part is getting started.

2. Set a challenge for yourself with benchmarks throughout the day

Who doesn’t like a good challenge? Challenge yourself to drink 20 ounces of water before you drink your first cup of coffee or whatever your drink of choice. This will probably be the easiest glass of water you will drink in a day. Simply because you have given yourself the reward of coffee once your task is complete. Your coffee will taste even better- you will feel like you have earned it. If working out is the first thing you do, get 20 ounces in before you start.

Set yourself benchmarks throughout the day. For example, have half of your water drunk by the end of lunch. Or set a goal to drink a bottle of water after lunch and before you go home. Drinking 90 ounces of water may seem like an insurmountable task at first. No one wants to drink a lot of water right before bed. Breaking down the task into smaller more manageable pieces will make it easier to reach your goals.

3. Get a water bottle that has the ounces displayed on the outside

Water bottles come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. For some people, starting a new habit is more appealing if they can personalize it with a new product. Taking your water bottle with you will remind you of your new habit. It will also make water more accessible to you if you are in an environment where there is nothing to drink. The ounces on the outside will be visual proof of your progress throughout the day. Research states that the number one way to stay motivated to reach a goal is to show progress.*The more progress you see the easier it will be to keep going. It is a whole lot easier to drink the last 20 ounces of water when you have already accomplished drinking the first 60 ounces.

Pro tip: If you fill your water bottle with water that is cool instead of cold, it is easier to drink large amounts of water in a short period of time. Cold water does taste better, but it is the volume we are after. The easier the better.

4. Flavor your water

Let’s face it. It doesn’t matter how fancy a new water bottle is- water still tastes like water. For some people, this is a deal breaker when it comes to drinking the right amount of water. If this is the case for you, you’re in luck, they make a TON of water flavoring. These options come in a variety of calories and sugar content from a lot to none. If you want a low-calorie option- infuse your water with fresh fruit. Putting fresh lemons, oranges, or berries will give you a more flavorful option. The more appealing your new habit is for you the more likely you are to stick with it. You can make a pitcher of it and keep it in the refrigerator.

5. Drink water with every meal

Drinking 8 to 12 ounces of water with your meals is an easy way to increase your water intake. Drinking water during meals also has its own side health benefit of improving digestion. Water helps your body break down and process food. Then your body can absorb more nutrients from food.

Ways that your body will change when you drink enough water

Eating healthy and working out takes weeks to show progress, the benefits of drinking water are almost immediate. In a matter of hours, you will notice that your body processes food better. You will have less indigestion, heartburn, or bloating. Within a couple of days, you will notice your skin is clearer and you have more energy. Other ways that your body will change include:

1. You will think more clearly

2. It will be easier to concentrate

3. Headaches will decrease

4. Your workouts will be stronger

5. Your teeth and gums will be healthier

6. You will feel less hungry

7. Improves your mood

Conclusion

Now that we have listed ways you can increase the amount of water you drink and highlighted the immediate benefits, the bottom line is that you just have to do it! Everyone’s lives are different with unique challenges- but one thing that is the same is that we are all busy. Customize these tips to fit into your schedule, environment, and situation. Make the changes that you need to make to get healthy.