How To Stay Hydrated

10 Ways To Stay Hydrated, Even If You're Disgusted By The Taste Of Water, Like Me

This does NOT mean adding shots of Red Bull to your Evian.

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Let's face it. Between classes, clubs, and the general time crunch, it isn't always easy to remember to stay hydrated while running the college gauntlet. It is even more difficult if you do not find the taste(lessness) of water particularly appealing. But fear not! Below are 10 simple alternatives to increase your daily H20 intake without having to drink, you know, actual water.

1. Cucumbers (or any fruits, really)

Fruits tend to have high water content. Incorporating more of them into your diet can help you stay hydrated without having to lug a five-pound stainless steel water bottle around campus. They are also full of beneficial mineral electrolytes that can regulate blood acidity, digestion, and keep your body's water balance in check.

You can also give infused water a try. Simply soak a few pieces of fruit in water for a few hours (overnight is easiest), and voila! Instant refresher. Some common favorites are lemon, orange, strawberry, and cucumber, but feel free to experiment.

2. Salads

Some vegetables do, too. Salads are an easy way to add them to your meals.

3. Seltzer and sparkling water

While we are on the topic of flavors, seltzer and sparkling water are increasingly popular alternatives to plain water. The unsweetened kinds are just water with carbonic acid added for the fizz and a bit of flavoring. As beverage companies continue to churn out more and more varieties, the sky is the limit. They are also becoming embraced as a healthier substitute for soda and pop.

While there is some concern about side effects due to the carbonation, it is still better for you than the sugar- and dye-filled sodas commonly found in restaurants and store shelves. At the same time, there are certain conditions for which it may be best to consume this in moderation.

4. Adding caffeine

This does not mean adding shots of Red Bull to your Evian. Instead, try steeping some tea in your water. There are hundreds of types out there, so chances are high that you will find at least one that fits your tastes and your budget. There is also cocoa powder, which can be mixed with cinnamon and hot water for a sweet, vegan-friendly drink in the colder months.

Be warned, though. Too much caffeine can actually lead to dehydration. Caffeine (and alcohol) prevent your body from releasing anti-diuretic hormone. This is the hormone responsible for helping your body absorb water. Without it, you will not be able to hydrate and will instead be left thirstier and more dehydrated than before.

5. Eating whole and hot cereal grains

This includes rice, oatmeal, quinoa, grits, etc. Most of them need to be steamed, boiled, or otherwise cooked before eating, and so will absorb the water. This water-absorption is why they get larger when prepared.

Whole cereals are filling, hearty, and most importantly (for the purposes of this article), hydrating. Hot cereals also have lower glycemic indices than your average piece of bread or pizza, so it's a win-win!

6. Soups and stews

Soups are also another great water-laden addition to your meals. The water grains are cooked in (see above) and are also edible and can be used to make stock or soup.

7. Coconut water

Coconut water is not only a sweet, clean way to stay hydrated, it is also high in potassium and other electrolytes. Athletes tout it as a healthier alternative to sports drinks, which often tend to be high in added sugars and dyes.

Be forewarned, though. It is a tad expensive.

8. Smoothies

If whole fruits and vegetables are not for you, try turning them into smoothies. Adding coconut or rice milk also gives it a creamy finish, while cinnamon or cardamom can boost the flavor and make it easier to digest.

9. POPSICLES!

Try making your own popsicles! You can get molds for cheap at most stores and make your own fruity or floral concoctions to go in them. Add fruits, mint, yogurt, etc. Or Kool-Aid mix. There are no limits.

10. Essential oils and honey

Honey with a drop of essential oil is a quick and easy addition to water that gives it a bit of flavor. Honey is also an energy booster, so if you need a pick-me-up during class, a bottle of honeyed water is a good way to go. Use all of the above in moderation, though! Too much essential oil or honey is not good for you.

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An Open Letter From The Plus-Size Girl

It's OK not to be perfect. Life is more fun that way.

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To whoever is reading this,

My entire life has been a juggling match between my weight and the world. Since I was a young girl every single doctor my family took me to, told me I needed to lose weight. The searing pain of those words still stabs me in the side to this day. I have walked past stores like Hollister and American Eagle since I was 13.

Being plus-size means watching girls the same age as you or older walk into a store that sells the cutest, in style clothing and you having to walk into a store that sells clothes that are very out of style for a young girl. Being plus-size means being picked last in gym class, even if you love sports.

Being plus-size means feeling like you have to suck it in in pictures so you don't look as big next to your friends. Being plus-size means constantly thinking people are staring at you, even if they aren't.

The number on the scale haunts me. Every single time I think about the number I cringe.

Can I just say how going shopping is an absolute nightmare? If you haven't noticed, in almost every store (that even has plus sizes to begin with) plus-size clothing is closed off and secluded from the rest of the store. For example, Forever 21, There are walls around every side of the plus "department."

Macy's plus department is in the basement, all the way in the back corner. We get it that we are not what society wants us to look like but throwing us in a corner isn't going to change the statistics in America today. That being that 67% of American women are plus-size.

My life is a double-digit number being carved into my jiggly arms and thunder thighs. It is me constantly wanting to dress cute but turning to running shorts and a gigantic sweatshirt instead so that people don't judge me on my size.

It is time that the American society stops making plus size look like a curse. It will never be a curse. If every person was the same size, what would be the point of uniqueness? I will never despise who I am because while I was growing up multiple people told me that I needed to be a size 6 in order for a guy to fall in love with me. I will never hate myself for getting dressed up and being confident.

To all the girls reading this who may be plus-size,

It's OK! You're beautiful and lovable. If you want to buy that crop top, buy it. Life is too short to hide behind a baggy T-shirt. We are just as gorgeous as the girls that we envy. Be the one to change the opinion of the world. Fat rolls don't need to be embarrassing. Your stretch marks are beautiful. Don't ever let the world tell you not to eat that cheeseburger either.

In the end, this earthly life is temporary. We are on this earth for a blink of an eye. Don't let anything stand in your way. Wear the bikini, the crop top, and the short shorts. Post the sassy selfie you've had on your phone for 6 months and you won't post because you have a double chin or your head looks "too big." Who cares. BE YOU and love yourself while you're at it.

I'll start.

Cover Image Credit: Victoria Hockmeyer

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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