Drink this first thing instead

By Danielle, Team One Degree Health | Watercooler Wellness

health culprit 1 - Drink this first thing instead

What should you drink first thing instead of coffee?

What’s the first thing that touches the lips of most corporate folks every morning?

If you said a cup of coffee, you are correct! After all, America runs on Dunkin’, right?

If you’re like most people, you start your day by drinking coffee or some other caffeinated beverage like Diet Coke, Red Bull, Kickstart, you name it, just to get you “functional” to start your day.

You’d be a zombie without it, right?

It’s so common for us to crawl out of our beds and head straight for the coffee maker or fridge on auto-pilot. However, most of us don’t realize how drinking coffee or Diet Coke right after we wake up is actually pretty harmful to our bodies, which is why this health culprit is at the top of our offenders list.

“Hold up, Danielle, don’t you dare take away my morning coffee!!”

Before you start threatening me with scissors, don’t worry, you can still have your morning coffee!

I just don’t want it to be the very first thing you ingest each morning, as this habit is messing with your system big time.

Instead, start doing this one simple yet powerful thing in the morning, before you do anything else:


Emphasis on FIRST.

I’ll say it again: After you wake up, go grab a big glass of water before you do anything else. And I mean literally anything else. Once your feet touch the ground in the morning, I want your first action to be to grab a glass of water.

I find it’s easiest to grab a glass of water in the bathroom when en route to the toilet, or right before I brush my teeth.

Drinking water first thing in the morning is a relatively easy thing to add on to your morning routine, would you agree?

Although drinking that coffee or Diet Pepsi may feel like it’s quenching your thirst and hydrating you, it’s actually making you worse off. Coffee and most caffeinated beverages are diuretics, meaning the kidney will move excess fluid to urine, which can cause dehydration.


Okay, next let’s chat WHY drinking water first thing in the morning is so important for you. 

Drinking water first thing (and throughout the day) provides amazing health benefits for your body, brain, skin, nails, kidneys, bones, and more; however, there are the top five reasons that keep me personally motivated to make this simple adjustment to my morning routine:



When you have water first thing in the morning, it takes your body out of its fasting mode immediately and signals it’s time to get your digestion moving. A recent study by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that your metabolic rate increases by 30% within minutes of consuming a big glass of water. This is because your body now knows that it no longer needs to be in fasting mode and can start releasing and burning any fats and sugars that it’s been holding on to for storage.



While you’re sleeping, your body is actually in a fasting and repair mode. When you wake up, your body wants to be able to flush out these toxins from your colon and kidneys. However, when you ingest a soda or coffee first thing (along with any cream, sugar, or artificial sweeteners), instead of allowing your body to release these toxins, you’re actually piling on more. The more toxins in your system, the more you’ll have brain fog, poor sleep quality, irritability, depression, excess weight, low libido… the list goes on. Break this cycle and start releasing these toxins by starting your morning with a big glass of water. Simple, yet so powerful.



Your brain is made up of about 75% water and needs water to function properly. A study done by the Frontiers of Human Neuroscience testing reaction times found that those people who have a glass of water upon waking have reaction times 14% faster than those that who didn’t have any water beforehand. By giving your body water first thing, you are giving your brain the opportunity to perform at its best.



Drinking water first thing will help bring you out of your morning Zombie mode. Because it signals to your body that it’s time to get moving on a physiological level, it will naturally increase your energy levels.



Although drinking that coffee or Diet Pepsi may feel like it’s quenching your thirst and hydrating you, it’s actually making you worse off. Coffee and most caffeinated beverages are diuretics, meaning the kidney will move excess fluid to urine, which can cause dehydration.

Experts recommend that for every 100 milligrams of caffeine, you should drink an additional glass of water to compensate for its diuretic effect.


  1. To start making this health shift, you’ll want to drink at least 8 ounces of water first thing every morning.
  1. To really get the optimum health benefits listed above, experts suggest having at least two glasses of water(~16 – 20 ounces). If this sounds hard to do, start simply by doing what works best for you, and aim to work up to drinking at least 16 ounces of water first thing.
  1. Remember to compensate for any caffeinated beverages too. A good rule of thumb to remember: for every coffee or Coke you’re going to drink, also have at least that same amount of water beforehand.


For every 100mg of caffeine, you need to drink 8oz of water to compensate. #watercoolerwellness

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Here are some tips on how to make this easier to do:

  • I personally keep a glass water carafe by my bed and another by my bathroom sink. It provides access to water quickly and conveniently, and since the glass is stored upside-down, it won’t accumulate dust in it (Bonus: I feel like I’m staying at a fancy hotel when home).
  • If a glass water carafe isn’t your thing (or not feasible with active kids and pets around your nightstand), try keeping a glass or tumbler by your bathroom sink or get compostable cups like these. Another great tip is keeping a filtered water pitcher like this one on your vanity as a reminder.
  • When traveling for work, almost every hotel puts a cup or glass by the bathroom sink, making it super-duper easy for you to keep this habit going when on the road.



Can you add a glass by your bathroom sink like I suggested above? Just by seeing the glass there in the morning, you’ll be reminded to take a swig of H2O before heading to that coffee maker or Starbuck’s.

Be sure to tell me in One Degree Health’s private Facebook group. I can’t wait to hear how you plan to incorporate this simple change into your morning routine!

Do you know that being healthier really isn’t as hard or as time-consuming as we’ve been led to believe? You just need someone to show you the How. That’s where we at One Degree Health come in. We believe that simple yet powerful lifestyle micro-changes can make all the difference to your health.


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About the Author

Danielle is an Executive Health Coach, specializing in integrative and functional health. Like many ambitious professionals, Danielle fell into the trap of the Ultimate Paradox: prioritizing work and sacrificing current health for years; until 2012, when in just 30 days, her body filled up like a balloon, gaining 20 pounds as result of inflammation from work stress and poor health habits. After reclaiming her health through an integrative approach of simple habit changes, she now shares this roadmap to wellness with other busy professionals through engaging and practical workshops and online courses. In 2016, she left her Fortune 500 executive role to found One Degree Health, a wellness education company that produces personal development programming and online courses, grounded on her core philosophy that simple yet powerful "one degree" micro-changes integrated into your typical day can lead you towards your best health.