It’s a really simple equation, health.

Note that I said simple here, not easy. Sometimes life is just hard and there’s no way around that. Over the years I’ve made healthy living way more complicated than necessary, which got me nowhere but frustrated and feeling like a failure.

Eventually, I distilled my recipe for good health into one line and I’m going to share it with you now. Here it is: sleep, eat whole foods, exercise and drink water. Do these things every day.

That’s it. There’s nothing particularly original about it. I get that.

For a lot of people sleep is the most pleasant healthy activity to incorporate–I know it was for me. I feel like water might be the second. And there are some ways to make it easy and palatable, which I’ll share with you below.

Why water? Our bodies are about 60% water and every part of your body needs that fluid in order to do what it does. Water gets rid of the toxins that build up in your organs. It is the conduit for bringing nutrients to your cells, including those muscles you target during exercise. Water keeps the parts of your body that need moisture (ears, nose and throat) hydrated. It’s a multi-tasking powerhouse.

As you deplete your internal fluid reservoir through activities like breathing and perspiring, you need to replenish those fluids to avoid dehydration. Dehydration is not good. Dehydration is bad times. Dehydration = tired and sick.

So how much is enough? Well, how much you need depends on many factors. The Mayo Clinic has an article about recommended fluid intake, which you can read here.

How Water? Here are my tips and tricks for happy hydrating:

  • Invest in a stainless-steel water bottle like this one, or this one, designed to keep water cold for long periods of time. Cold water just tastes better than room temperature water. I keep a bottle at work and at home—basically I have one in sight all the time to remind me to drink but also to make it really easy to do so.
  • Notice that the recommendations now are for “fluids” not “water.” This means that not just plain tap water counts. You can count tea, sparkling water, soda, coffee, juice, etc. for some of it. But be careful about how much added sugar and caffeine you’re ingesting. Oh, and you’ll get some fluids from the foods you eat too.
  • Add some flavor. I like plain water. I especially like it during and after a workout. But sometimes I get bored. So if you’re tired of plain water, add a slice of lemon or lime to your glass of ice water. You get the flavor of it in the water, but you also smell that fresh citrus-y smell every time you take a drink. It’s kind of a nice pampering thing to do for yourself. You’ll feel like you’re in a fancy restaurant.
  • I also love a sparkling water. La Croix makes really nice flavored ones with no sugar, just a little bit of flavor. The grapefruit and coconut flavors are my favorites. Just saw that they have a peach-pear flavor, which it is now my mission to track down.
  • You can use an infused water bottle like this one. These are water bottles that contain little internal baskets into which you can place slices of citrus, sprigs of mint, or berries. As you refill the bottle with water throughout the day, whatever you put in the infuser will add a bit of flavor to your water.

The goal for this week is to figure out your daily fluid goal and reach it. Make a plan for success (i.e. buying some reusable water bottles to keep in the places you spend the most time, slicing up some lemons or limes, or keeping some sparkling water in the fridge to reach for when you need some variety).

Good luck!