Just a reminder - This is a rough (very rough), quickly written, draft for a month long writing marathon called National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo.
One Small and Simple Change
I do not remember giving much thought to how much water I drank before I got pregnant the first time. I think I just drank fluid when I was thirsty, and water was something I drank when there wasn’t anything else. I grew up drinking lots of milk at the table, and water from the water fountain on the back porch that my parents installed to allow us a drink without dirtying another glass.
When I was pregnant I learned that I needed lots of water to “keep the swimming pool full” for my growing baby. We acquired one of those dispensers that held the five gallon bottles. I drank more but didn’t keep track (that I can remember, it was a long time ago!). I do remember learning to like the refreshing, clean taste of plain water. I got used to it. They say that beer, wine, and hard liquor are acquired tastes. I would not know because I have never tasted them. But if them, why not plain water? Our tastes can become accustomed to just about anything we eat or drink repeatedly.
Over the years I have tried different strategies to count how much water I am drinking each day to ensure I am getting sufficient for my needs. I have made tally marks on a paper or sticky note put up near the sink; I have used a pile of beans to move from one side of the window sill to the other (that did not work so well because with all the interruptions from little people I would forget which way I was going since I thought it would be easiest to alternate each day, oh bother); the best device or system I have come up with is to fill a gallon jug each morning and drink it by the time I go to bed, which is easy in the summer, harder in the winter. I have the jug on the kitchen counter with a glass next to it and anytime I am in the kitchen I pour a glassful and guzzle it down. In the winter when I don’t feel as thirsty I set a timer so that I’m drinking a glass of water each hour. The glass holds about ten ounces (to where I fill it) and it takes twelve or thirteen swallows to get it all down. I drink it all at once, then smack my lips! It tastes good and is like watering a droopy flower, very reviving.
When the water from the tap is not the tastiest I have added a slice of lemon to the gallon jug to make the water more palatable. Some like their water ice cold, if so, store the jug in the fridge with a big sign on the front of the fridge to remind you to actually drink it during the day. This is one habit I have down pat and I notice the difference if I don’t get enough to drink.
Why is water so important to our health and especially do losing weight? Funny you should ask, I will tell you what I have learned. Jorge Cruise, of the “8 Minutes in the Morning” fame explains:
When you increase you intake of water, your stomach never gets empty. Consequently, you will not have to eat as much food to feel satisfied. Bottom line: Water is an essential, calorie-free secret to feeling satisfied and happy throughout the day.
Why else is water so critical to your weight loss? Well, remember what I said about vegetables being water rich foods? [No, but go on.] A glass of water obviously counts, too. And remember that in order for your lean muscle tissue to burn fat, it needs oxygen to help convert the fat into energy. When you drink a glass of water, you will dramatically increase your oxygen levels, improving your metabolism.
And probably the most powerful side effect of drinking more water is that your body will operate more efficiently and properly [something we all want, right?]. We all have a series of blood vessels that carry nutrients and oxygen-rich red blood all over our bodies. When you are dehydrated, you start to feel tired because your blood thickens and your heart consequently must work harder to pump blood throughout your body. End result: Oxygen and nutrients don’t travel as quickly to your muscles and other organs that need them.
Here’s something else. Anytime you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. You simply can’t rely on your thirst to tell you when to drink a glass of water [this thirst mechanism dries up, if you’ll pardon the pun, as we age so it is even more important to have a system to remind us to drink more water!]. That’s why I recommend you drink one glass of water each hour throughout your day [followed by a trip to the potty each hour]. When you do this, you will boost your energy level and decrease your appetite.
Though you may have seen recommendations to drink eight-8 ounce glasses of water a day, I suggest you drink much more. Rather than an 8 ounce glass, use a pint glass (16 ounces) and fill it every hour. That is a total of 128 ounces [one gallon] before you leave work and head for home.
That might sound like a lot, but your life will change for the better, and your waistline will soon see the difference [especially if you give up sodas at the same time].
Of course, with all this extra water consumption, you will be making some new visits to the bathroom, [ya think?], but that is good. Think of those extra trips to the bathroom as walking time, as your bonus stress reducer, and workout for your heart!
(8 Minutes in the Morning for Extra-Easy Weight Loss, Jorge Cruise, pgs 99-100)
We have a family joke around here that no matter what is wrong with you, Mom will tell you that you need to drink more water. Headache? Drink more water. Stomach ache? Drink more water. Broken leg? Drink more water. I told you it was a joke. Except that I do preach unceasingly that water is the key to health, and I set a good example by drinking a gallon a day.
One rule of thumb (where did that phrase come from?) is to take your weight and divide that number in half; that is the number of ounces of fluid you should have each day. So I weigh 198, well, actually today is Saturday and I weighed in at 196, so I will use that number, divided in half is 98, so 98 ounces of fluid. Not quite a gallon, but in this case a little more doesn’t hurt you, especially when it is warm or when we have been exercising vigorously as we should be.
Water rich foods like vegetables, fruits, and clear soups (as opposed to cream soups) all count toward your quota each day. So if you don’t like to drink plain water, add lots of veggies to you plate and that can help make up the ounces. (But don’t ask me how much.)
Carbonated sodas are almost the worst drink you can have. Diet sodas are probably the worst drinks. New studies show that diet sodas cause problems with the gut bacteria which in turn causes insulin resistance, which causes obesity and diabetes. Why would you drink that stuff? Look it up, the information is out there. Nasty, nasty stuff.
I do not imbibe coffee, tea, or alcoholic beverages so those are not a problem for me. Use wisdom and calorie counts to keep track of how much you can have. (Coffee and tea don’t have calories, but the things you add to them do, so carefully count them.)
Likewise I will not weigh in (what a phrase) on whether or not to drink milk and what kind. I drink 1% store bought milk. If I could, I would buy whole, raw milk for its beneficial properties, but it is illegal to sell it in Iowa so I do without. I feel better when I drink milk as I seem to need the calcium. Yes, we can get that mineral from other sources, but I like to think of cows as calcium concentrators. She eats a ton of greens and concentrates their calcium so that I can get it in an eight ounce glass of deliciousness.
The first change to your habits can be a simple one, straight from the Mom’s mouth: Drink more water!