The number one thing that I really want you gals to avoid during mealtime is something I learned at the beginning of my nutrition studies. It was also something that I always used to do – drink (a lot) with my meals. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a drink that is best avoided such as pop or one that is encouraged such as water; it is best to avoid drinking all liquids when you eat.

I always found that I really enjoyed drinking water, which is great because dehydration is at the root of many symptoms including chronic headaches. If you have been drinking water with your meals too then you’re likely thinking, “I’m doing a great thing. I’m drinking my water. I’m getting my daily water requirement!” But it’s important that you avoid drinking during mealtime.

Water is ok; you simply shouldn’t guzzle down glass after glass with your meal. It is ideal to take small sips throughout, keeping it to one glass or less.

When you drink a lot with your meal you dilute digestive fluids such as stomach acid also known as hydrochloric acid. Without adequate hydrochloric acid, your body cannot break down food properly. This could be why you still experience symptoms no matter how healthy you eat.

When you don’t have enough hydrochloric acid, you aren’t able to stimulate the production of pepsin and pepsin is the enzyme required for protein digestion. Even if you only have moderate amounts of stomach acid, when your meal contains a lot of protein or merely adequate protein, you may not be able to digest it properly.

An unfortunate symptom of inadequate protein digestion is really stinky and even hot toots. It’s a sign that you’ve either eaten too much protein in one sitting or (more likely) that you don’t have enough hydrochloric acid and therefore, lack the pepsin enzyme to digest that protein.

This could be a revelatory moment for you. Both protein and water are important for health, so it is understandable that you would become frustrated with painful (and embarrassing) symptoms when you are eating protein and drinking water. This is a perfect example of the importance of tweaking your choices or habits to achieve a pain-free life.

The ideal time to drink water is in between meals – at least 30 minutes before eating or 2 hours after a meal.

While we’re on the topic of water, did you know that your ideal daily water intake is based on your weight and not necessarily solely eight glasses? To figure out your daily water requirement, take your weight (in pounds) and divide it in half to discover the number of ounces to drink daily. This number can fluctuate quite a bit and your goal can easily be undershot depending on your weight.

The eight glasses a day rule is fairly accurate because it is based on the weight of an average woman. Using the average woman as an example, take 150 pounds and divide it in half to get 75, which equates to 75 ounces. With 8 ounces per glass of water, a 150-pound woman should drink just over 9 glasses. The eight-glass-per-day rule works out to be 64 ounces, which is close but already over one glass shy of the ideal water goal for the average woman.

Keep in mind this water goal is your total water requirement and includes liquids other than water as well as water from food. Water is the ideal beverage but I would also suggest herbal teas that are caffeine free because the caffeine will have an effect on your water balance. Remember that when working out and sweating a lot, you’re going to need more because you’re losing fluid.

In choosing your water source, ensure that you drink filtered water or, if you have access, ideally spring water. Avoid drinking ice-cold water as this is yet another way of reducing your digestive abilities. Simply store your water at room temperature.

Often when you think you’re hungry you’re actually thirsty. The next time you feel hungry, especially when it hasn’t been very long since your last meal, try drinking a glass of water. If you find that you’re not hungry anymore, it’s because you were thirsty. This is a built-in reminder to drink your water so that you stay hydrated. If you are still hungry, go ahead and eat! My intention with this tip is hydration not weight loss.

Tips For Meeting Your Water Goal

Buy a water bottle. I would suggest one that you like in terms of practicality and pretty design so that it is something you look forward to drinking out of. Choose BPA-free plastic, stainless steel or glass. Check the number of ounces in your bottle and using your water goal, determine how many bottles you need to drink each day.

Do you have a hard time drinking water because you find it’s boring or don’t like the taste? This is very common and it used to be the case for me too. Many moons ago I found water really boring – likely because my taste for sweet spilled over into my beverage choices. The good news is that you truly do begin to crave water for its refreshing feel and anything else tends to taste syrup-y or too much.

If you like the bubbles because you’re used to drinking pop, I definitely want you to switch to mineral water or carbonated spring water. Both are rich in minerals but mineral water, such as Gerolsteiner, is naturally bubbly and beverages like Perrier are made bubbly with the addition of carbonation.

If you want flavor in your water there are few things you can do. If you drink a lot of pop or juice, first try diluting with water so you can ease your way and slowly wean yourself off of them. You may also add berries, cucumber or any citrus to your water. To combine the bubbles and flavour, choose one of the many naturally flavoured carbonated waters that are now available without any sweeteners.

Herbal teas are another great option because they’re going to help you achieve your water goals while providing side benefits such as relaxation or digestive support. Additionally they can help with cravings at night for sweets. Choose a sweet tasting tea that doesn’t have any sugar or artificial flavors that tastes really nice so you’re drinking your water and helping your sweet cravings.

Finally, you may also drink up to half of your water upon waking. Put your water on your nightstand so that you cannot forget. This is a great way to get a head start on your water goal as well as it helps to flush out the metabolic waste that has built up overnight. There is no better way to start your day than hydrated and it can promote a morning bowel movement and give a boost of energy.

Do you normally drink with your meals? Do you have a hard time drinking water? Let me know in the comments below and share your favourite way to drink water.