Monday, January 12, 2009

Water: My New BFF

Originally uploaded by Marni Molina
Ah, water.  Tastes like nothing, 'cept when it tastes bad.  Zero calories.  Zero fizz.  Zero fun.  Yet totally essential to a healthy lifestyle.

We have a checkered past, water and me.  One of those rocky on-again, off-again relationships.  You know the type.  I hate you.  I love you.  I don't want you anymore.  Never leave me again.  It's all so exhausting.  Yet I really feel like if I can resolve my issues with water, I can get myself exponentially closer to my personal health goals.

Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people that naturally enjoys drinking water.  Unless I'm exercising a lot, I pretty much have to force myself into it.  Even then, it's a struggle.  I make deals with myself, playing silly games in order to get it all down.  I've tried not allowing myself to drink a diet soda 'til I get all my water down for the day.  I've also forced myself to take 3 big chugs every 15 minutes, going so far as to set a timer to remind me.  Just about anything you can think of, I've tried it in order to meet the magical quota for daily water intake.  Which is ... what exactly?

8 8-ounce glasses?  Well, yeah.  We've all heard that one, right?  But is it even true?  Turns out, it might not be.  There's even a Snopes entry proclaiming the 8 8-ounce glasses per day rule to be false.  

Then, to complicate things further, there's a mathematical formula floating around out there requiring you to take your weight, divide it by your age, multiply it by your high school SAT score and add the number of tequila shots you can get down before you spew in order to determine the minimum amount of water you need to drink every third Thursday.  Or something like that.  Whatever, I'm not doing math to figure out how much water to drink.

Did someone say tequila?

Sorry, off topic.  Back to water.

So what's a thirsty girl to do?  Well, some sane-sounding advice tells us all to merely tune into our bodies and drink clean water whenever thirsty.  But then some other sane-sounding voice reminds us all of the adage: if you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated.  It's dizzying, isn't it?  I'm wrapping it up soon.  Promise.

Every day, your body loses water performing various functions that keep you alive.  Your part of it all is to replenish the water lost so you don't die.  You can do this two ways:
  1. Drink water.
  2. Eat foods with water in them.
The Institute of Medicine makes the following recommendations:  Men should consume roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women should consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.  And although I'm not affiliated in any way with the Institute of Medicine, I'm pretty sure that by "beverages" they don't mean "sodas," "margaritas," or "milkshakes."  We're talkin' water and water-centered bevies here, okay kids?

Of-course, there are certain factors that may impact your water requirements like exercise, weather/humidity, medications, medical conditions, pregnancy, and illness.  All of these should be taken into account.  

Also, to allow your body to enjoy the maximum benefit of your water consumption, it should be done slowly over the course of the day (with exceptions made for periods of exercise, of-course).  So no chugging it all down in two hours and calling it good for the day.  

And please, don't be an environmental terrorist.  Bottled water is great in a pinch, but be a good earthling and get yourself one of those fancy (non-plastic) reusable water bottles.  It's a small but worthwhile investment.  Keep it with you at all times and sap often.  If you don't think you can manage that, get a few of them and keep one stashed in your car, at your desk at work, on your bedside table, in your backpack, or wherever you think you may need it.  Just make sure you have access to clean, filtered water and clean your bottle as needed.

As far as the temperature debate is concerned, I don't pay too much attention to it all.  Yes, drinking icy cold water does make your body work a bit harder, thereby burning a little more calories each day.  And I do mean little.  But some people can drink it faster at room temperature and others have sensitive teeth.  Do whatever works for you, just drink your water.

I'll be back later today with some tips tips n' tricks and bells n' whistles you can add to your water to make it more fun and, of-course, it's still Moonshine Monday, so I'll also be back at cocktail hour with some lo-cal drink options.

Now go drink a glass of water!


Jeni Treehugger said...

Great article Marni!
I am actually sat here reading that chugging from my 2 litre bottle of water. I try to drink 2 litres every day and some days are easy and some days are hard. Who'd have thought it would be such an effort to drink water!!
Oh and I have to buy bottled Water 'cos we don't have a filter in our house and there ain't no way I'm drinking the tap water that hasn't gone through a filter!!
I must add Water filter to my list of wants.


*clinks bottles*

The Cooking Lady said...

I have just started drinking vinegar water. Hear me out before you crinkle your nose up.

I got this from How it all Vegan book (great book by the way, go and get it, you won't regret it). I add 1 t of apple cider vinegar and about 1/2 t of sweetener (we use raw sugar) to a glass of water.

It is not overpowering and goes down smooth. It is my new drink of the year.

jessy said...

so true - water is tasteless except for when it tastes bad! ick! i'm glad i'm not the only one who's got an on-again/off-again relationship with water! i try so hard and then i just end up forgetting! looking forward to more tips, too! yay! you make some excellent points, Marni - drinking it slowly, making sure to drink enough, and using a reusable water bottle too (i love my Kanteen)! this is awesome & just what i need! thank you!!

Alison said...

I hate water. I just can't stand the taste of it, though my boyfriend will argue that ours has no taste. I hate our tap water, so I use a Brita filter, but I can still taste whatever is in it that I don't like.

My sister lives in Las Vegas and when I go visit her, I can't get enough of her water. I drink it constantly and fill bottles to take with me where ever we go.

I love Evian water but I don't want to buy bottled water. So yes, drinking water is a dilemma. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has issues with it!

Marni said...

Jeni Treehugger - Our tap water is actually perfectly fine to drink, but I've been places where it isn't. I suppose we're pretty fortunate. Have you ever thought about buying one of those Brita pitchers to filter your water?

The Cooking Lady - I have How it All Vegan but have not tried the vinegar water. It does sound pretty odd but I'm willing to try nearly anything so I'll give it a go. Thanks for the head's up!

Jessy - You're welcome! Lots of us have issues getting our water down, yet it's really so important. Which is why I decided to kick-off Healthy Resolutions Week talking about it.

Alison - That's too funny. Next time I'm in Vegas, I've gotta taste test the water. I think Evian water has almost a sweet taste to it. That may be why it's so popular but I'm just not into buying bottled water unless I really need to. You aren't alone! There are lots of us who struggle through drinking water.

Bethany said...

I have a filter at home, so our well water always tastes great.

I think water has a taste, it's just subtle and hard to describe. I love it. but I don't drink 8 glasses a day. I drink when I'm thirsty or eating.

Jeni Treehugger said...

I used to have a Brita but it got lost in my travels somewhere along the way.
I'm actually trying not to buy anything new for a year so I will either have to get one off ebay (my local freecycle group is pants so I won't hold out for one from there, though I will ask) OR I will have to alter my terms and conditions.
I suppose a water filter will be OK because I will be saving in the long run.