One of the easiest ways to ditch empty calories and kickstart weight loss is to cut drinks with natural or added sugars — but you know that already. The real question is how do you actually make that happen?
The 3-word answer: Drink more water. When you quench your thirst with cold, refreshing water, you’re less likely to reach for sweet beverages.
Here are a handful of fun, and/or feel-good ways to get more water into your life:
1. Keep your water refreshingly cold. Vacuum-insulated bottles do the best job of keeping water cold (or hot) all day long. An airless gap between the inner chamber that holds liquid and the outer wall of the bottle provides exceptional insulation. Look for one with a wide mouth so you can fit in ice cubes. Or store plastic water bottles in the freezer and grab one on your way out the door.
2. Use rubber band reminders. Start the day with 8 rubber bands on your left wrist. Every time you drink a glass of water, move one band to your right wrist. When all the bands are on your right wrist, reward yourself with a free or cheap treat, like a foot rub, 5 minutes watching funny videos on YouTube, or new app for your phone.
3. Challenge your family members or coworkers to a drink-off. Find out who can drink at least 8 glasses of water a day for the most days in a row. Commandeer a whiteboard at work or a chalkboard at home and make a chart. List names across the top and days down the left side. Each person makes a mark on the board next to their name every time they drink water.
4. Give it a hint of fresh flavor. Mash a few orange, lemon, or lime slices in the bottom of your glass before pouring in water, or try one of these 12 other ways to infuse H2O with flavor.
5. Sip by the hour. Fill up a large water bottle at the beginning of your day and give yourself time-based drinking goals. For example, aim to drink 1/3rd of it by 10 a.m., another third by 1pm, and the final third by 5. Use a Sharpie to mark your time goals right on the bottle.
6. Jump on the seltzer bandwagon. In the past few years, a slew of flavored seltzers with no calories, sodium, or sweeteners of any kind have hit the market. There are countless options to try, ranging from barely-there apricot to stronger flavors like passionfruit and watermelon. If you’re used to soda, they won’t taste like much at first, but stick with them and you’ll quickly get used to the subtle sweetness.
7. Use a silly straw. Having a straw in your glass reduces the number of steps it takes to get water to your mouth, and you’re likely to take bigger sips. Of course you could use a standard straw or a water bottle with a built-in straw, but a silly, colored one with a couple of loop-de-loops will be much more eye-catching.