5 surprising health benefits of water and 6 ways I trick myself into drinking more

Health benefits of water and proper hydration 


I have a confession.  I HATE drinking water.  I absolutely despise it.  It tastes so boring and I’d much rather drink diet pepsi.  Or diet mountain dew.  Or crystal lite, coffee, or almost anything that has some sort of flavor… I know there are horrendous health hazards of diet soda and artificial sweeteners, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.  There, I said it.


I know that, as a doctor, I am supposed to set a good example for my patients (and you, my readers!) and to live the life I encourage them to lead.  I should tell you how delicious water is and how much I love drinking it.  I would be lying through my diet Pepsi loving teeth.


What I can tell you is, even though I hate drinking water, I drink a gallon everyday.  This started during my gallon/day water drinking challenge.  I was blown away by the crazy ways it changed my body (read about it here!) There are incredible health benefits of drinking water, which far outweigh the lack in taste, and there are some tricks and games I use to help myself drink more water.  It is my hope that, if you are like me and struggle to drink water, you can use the following information and tricks to help motivate yourself to drink more water.

#1  Water helps our bodies grow


When the body is growing, nutritional demands to each cell are increased.  Since water is present in every cell, it helps carry nutrients to each cell.  It is for this reason that, during periods of growth when nutritional demands are increased, we should increase our water consumption.  This will help nutrients get to the growing cells.  Water helps these people grow:

  • weight lifter/body builders
  • children
  • pregnant women
  • athletes

#2 Water helps our bodies repair


When we put our bodies through exercise, trauma, or the stresses of every day life, it needs resources to help repair it.  Just as water helps deliver nutrients to our cells, it also helps clear the waste from our cells.  Clearing this waste (ie. that painful lactic acid from working out, dead cells from normal wear-and tear) helps keep each cell happy, keeps us free of pain, and keeps our muscles functioning the way they should.

#3 Water helps keep our bodies lubricated

From joints and genitals, to mouth and intestines, water is essential in keeping these parts moving and healthy(1).  Maintaining proper hydration helps maintain proper mucous and lubrication, which can help:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Constipation
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Digestion

#4 Water helps prevent kidney stones

#5  Water helps decrease weight and maintain weight loss

In a recent study, two groups of people were put on the same low calorie diet.  The one group was instructed to drink 16 oz of water, 30 minutes before each meal, while the other group did not do anything before eating.  At the end of the 12 week study, the group who drank water before their meals lost 4.5 pounds more than the group who ate the same exact foods (2).  They lost 4.5 extra pounds just from drinking water!

  • On average, water drinkers consume 200 less calories than non-water drinkers each day.
  • Water drinkers eat more fruits, vegetables, and dietary fiber than Non-water drinkers (good for your colon!)
  • Drinking 16 oz of water before a meal has been shown to decrease the amount of calories consumed at that meal.
  • Daily tracking of water intake results in greater weight loss and sustained weight loss over time
  • Reduces hunger
  • Promotes a full feeling

How I get myself to drink more water

Aside from reminding myself that I don’t want to look like a dried up raisin with dysfunctional genitalia and joints, I use the following to trick myself into drinking more water:

  • Buy fun water bottles
  • Use a straw
  • Add fruit to the water.  Here are some great recipes: http://greatist.com/health/flavored-water-healthy-recipe
  • Add dried fruit or something delicious that sinks (once you finish the glass of water you have a treat in the bottom!)
  • Invite friends to participate in a water drinking challenge. (Note: the challenge isn’t to see who can drink the most amount of water, but to see who can sustain drinking a given healthy amount of water for the longest).  This will encourage friends to be healthy with you and to promote healthy hydration habits.
  • Only order water at restaurants (this saves money too!)

If you have any tips you use to help yourself drink more water, please comment below!


[1] Jequier, E.  Water as an essential nutrient: the physiological basis for hydration.  European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Volume 64 (2010).  115-123.
[2] Akers, Jeremy D.  Daily Self-Monitoring of Body Weight, Step Count, Fruit/Vegetable Intake, and Water Consumption: A Feasible and Effective Long-Term Weight Loss Maintenance Approach. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Volume 112.  Issue 5 (May 2012).  685-692.
  • Dr. Charlene Howard February 13, 2015

    I’m super glad your joints and genitals are adequately lubricated!

    Also I definitely agree with the drink through a straw technique, it turns out I’m secretly a four year old and I drink far more water out of my re-usable plastic cup complete with screw-on lid and straw than I would if it were a plain old glass or water bottle.

    Most important ‘trick’ to drinking more water? Take it with you. Like EVERYWHERE. I’m THAT person. I have at least one (usually two) water bottles (well one water bottle and my ‘sippy cup’) in the car with me and if I’m driving for anything greater than half an hour I’ve usually consumed at least one of them. While stuck in traffic I find I chug more water…I don’t fully understand why.

    Fun fact: when my sippy cup is empty I will find a time (red lights typically) to actually open my cup, pour water from my blender bottle into the sippy cup and drink from that instead. I haven’t spilled a tonne of it on myself yet but I imagine it will happen at some point.

    Fun fact #2: water tastes better through a straw/from a sippy cup.

    Reply Replies
    • Dr. Cassie Dougherty February 13, 2015

      I love that tip- taking water where ever you go. Maybe you drink more water in traffic because you’re bored?

      I completely relate to drinking water more frequently out of fun things… I think that’s why I have so many water bottles and fun cups. I use them constantly for a few weeks, and then I find a (shiny) new cup that is more fun than drinking out of the old one! Before you know it, I have a cupboard full of mismatched crazy beverage holders. That’s reason #437 why I’ll never fully be a “grown up”: lack of matching, sophisticated, grown-up dishes.

      Reply Replies
  • Dr. Cassie Dougherty March 4, 2015

    Thanks- I already use social media to promote posts and increase traffic, but I appreciate the feedback! I would not want to automate the social media experience because I really enjoy connecting with my patients that way :)

    Reply Replies
  • Dr. Cassie Dougherty March 23, 2015

    Thank you! Hope you get a chance to try the water challenge!

    Reply Replies
  • Jane December 11, 2016

    Hello Dr. Cassie! Thank you so much for sharing this. I really needed those tips to drink more water. This is very helpful.

    Reply Replies
    • Dr. Cassie Dougherty January 20, 2017

      Of course Jane! Glad you found it helpful. Thank you for the feedback!

      Reply Replies

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