Water, Water Everywhere, But How Much Should I Drink?

(In earlier posts, I told you that I am no doctor, dietitian, or personal trainer.  Now, you discover that I am no Samuel Coleridge either.  Shocking. Tragic.  I’ll give you a moment to recover.)

I grew up on well water, which is to say water that often tasted like metal.  I hated it.  To this day, it is a struggle for me to choose to drink water.  I rarely buy bottled water because: 1. the plastic waste appalls me, 2. the cost appalls me more than the plastic waste does and 3. the water here neither looks nor tastes like rust. So, it’s to the tap I go.  When I do, I still fight with that five-year-old in my head that says it’s going to taste yucky.

The five-year-old doesn’t get a vote and regardless of the taste, my body needs water.  How much does it need? I haven’t got a clue.  Check five different websites and they’ll tell you five different things.  Here’s my approach:

  • I drink a pint when I first get up to start my system and get rid of the remnants of the dragon that died in my mouth overnight.
  • I drink no more than one carbonated beverage per day. I love Diet Coke; so, this is a real struggle that I sometimes lose in spectacular fashion.  Still, if I win more days than I lose, I figure I get a net-effect win.
  • For every cup of coffee or glass of sugar-free lemonade, I drink an equal amount of water.
  • By keeping a water bottle at my desk, I can sip all day long.
  • For hunger pangs outside of normal meal or snack times, I drink a pint of water.  The human body will often trigger hunger alerts when what it really needs is fluid.
  • When exercising or working outside, I take frequent breaks to drink small amounts.  My body tends to dispel heat poorly leading to heat exhaustion. Without those breaks and small bits of water, I will get a massive headache and may actually become ill. I blame it on the Viking genes.
  • And, finally, when PMSing, I drink more water than usual. Counter-intuitively, this actually keeps me from retaining so much fluid. Plus, the glass keeps my hands occupied so that I don’t choke anyone while I’m grouchy.

Now, let me share my own experience so that you may be forewarned, if need be.  When I first started drinking a lot of water and anytime I go back to it after having an affair with Diet Coke, a couple of things happen in those first few days:

  • My colon freaks out, cramps up and throws everyone out of the bar.  Right. Now. For those other hydrophobes out there, when you first go the water route, do it on a day when you don’t have to leave your house.
  • My feeling of thirst kicks into overdrive.  It’s as though my body realizes that I’m finally listening, giving it what it’s been asking for, and demands more.
  • My complexion looks younger – like a spotty teenager, actually.  I don’t know why that is.  Perhaps the influx of water pushes a great deal of waste through my pores at one time causing an outbreak.  I don’t know, but it clears up fairly rapidly as I continue to push water through my system.  If any of you knows the answer to this, please share with the rest of the class.

The bottom line about making more healthful food choices is to make more natural choices.  As far as beverages go, there’s not a much more natural or basic choice than water.  The earth is made primarily of it and so are we.  Our bodies need it to lubricate our joints, eyes, muscles and digestive system.  They use it to flush out waste products, to transport platelets and nutrients,  to cool us, and a jillion other things.  And while Diet Coke certainly contains water, to say that it’s a healthful drink is like saying chocolate cake is a healthy breakfast choice because it contains eggs.

I’ve tried both of those arguments.  Nice try. No cigar. Let’s have a glass of water.


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