Confession time: I am terrible at drinking water!
I don’t know if it’s nature or nuture or the fact that I grew up hearing that NYC had the best tasting tap water which, when I moved away, rendered all other waters’ non-palatable. I really don’t like the taste of water.
The fact remains that I definitely do not drink enough water. I’m not drinking other things enough either. I may have a cup of tea at night and maybe a glass of wine with a meal. But, I know (as I hang my head in shame) that my body is not well hydrated. It’s one of the reasons I drink aloe every morning. In hopes that it’s hydrating properties will quench and soothe my body so I don’t have to drink anything else. But, let’s face it, 2 ounces of aloe gel isn’t going to magically cause a flash flood in my system. I have to admit that it is time for a change.
Maybe it’s age. I’m 38 (and almost a half). I’m nearly 40. Maybe it’s that I have made an effort to be mindful and to listen to my body. And the signs are there. As the temperature has been rising outside, so has the frequency of my headaches. (Numerous studies including these from 2004 and 2005, link dehydration with headaches, so I’m not rushing to the doctor for an MRI yet.)
Instead, I woke up this morning and decided that it is time to make the promise to myself (and my kidney, skin, muscles, brain…) to drink more water. But how much? Research suggests that it is no longer as simple as “the drink 8 glasses per day rule”. Now, the recommendation in the US is for men to drink 13 cups (and 3L) and women to drink 9 cups (2.2L). But, I have also read some websites that quote medical professionals who believe that we should take our body weight and exercise patterns into account and drink 0.5-1 ounce per pound of body weight (30-60mL per kg) per day. And other websites that say, the best way to know if you are drinking enough is to weigh yourself daily (at the same time every day). If you lose weight between measurements, it means you were short on water intake and need to drink a pint of water for every lb (0.5kg) you lost until your weight stabilizes.
Are you as lost and stressed as I am? How’s a person supposed to stay sane while trying to hydrate?
I decided to just pick one idea and run with it. If it doesn’t work, it’s not like the sky is going to fall or my body will go into shock. I will continue to be mindful and pay attention to how I feel each day and make adjustments accordingly if I feel I have to (and see the doctor if anything feels super wrong!).
Making this change doesn’t have to be difficult.
So, I’m starting with baby steps. My goal is 21 days. (That’s how long is takes to make a new habit). I don’t want to discourage myself before I even get started. I promise myself to start by drinking a minimum of 1 liter a day.
So, this morning I got out a glass bottle that I have for picnics and a Sharpie marker and made my own “water bomb”, or in French, “une bombe d’eau“:
I will also keep a liquids journal, recording how much I drink per day.
You may notice that my waterbomb is set up to finish the liter over the course of 12 hours. Eeasy, peeasy, right? For the first week, I will only require myself to finish this one bottle per day. Starting in week 2, I will redesign the bottle to be finished in 6 hours then refilled for a second round, bringing my daily minimum to 2 liters. In week 3, is necessary, I will adjust drinking times so that I can be more flexible throughout the day and won’t have to carry around glass liter bottles with me!
And, if taste becomes an issue, I also have a back-up plan: adding summer fruits and herbs!
Now I just need some beautiful mason jars so I can make the flavored water look as pretty as the one’s I found on Mimi’s Musings blog (definitely worth a look – she gives information about how the flavor combinations can support your system).