Soda has always been my favorite drink right from childhood. As a young adult, I noticed slight weight gain so I made the change to diet soda and the weight came off. Switching to diet was my idea of being “healthy”. Water was rare, I usually had a couple gulps in the morning when I woke up and at night before bed.
Two years ago, I got a job with a women’s health office where I became intrigues with all the issues that we, woman, have and what causes them. Many patients complained of issues pertaining to vaginal health, and surprisingly, many seem oblivious to the role their lack of adequate water consumption played in the issue. Clearly, if you’re dehydrated, your hoo-hah is going to be dehydrated as well, and this could predispose you to symptoms such as dryness, itching, and burning. Apart from vaginal health-related issues, many patients also complained about lack of energy, chronic UTI’s, headaches, and in many cases, their insufficient water intake was a complicit factor.
From a personal standpoint, I have experienced the importance of water for the body’s metabolic activities and general wellbeing. There was a time my water consumption level was not where is should be. I just didn’t have interest in drinking enough water sufficient for my body’s needs and my body was used to running like that. I needed something to motivate me to finally make the change. That was when I came across a post in a local Facebook group about joining in on a one-week water challenge. Perfect!
The challenge was simple. Drink one gallon of water a day and report to the group on how you feel. At face value, the task seemed simple enough. Well, I was WRONG! In reality, transitioning from drinking a glass of water a day to a gallon a day was no easy fete.
I purchased 7-one gallon bottles of water and a pretty pink 32 oz. stainless steel water bottle so that I could easily keep track of how much water I was drinking. I put the gallon jug in the fridge because cold water was the only water I was able to drink at that point.
My strategy was to drink 32 ounces in the morning before I had to go into work (7:30AM-12PM), 48 ounces at work (12PM-6:30PM) and then 48 ounces after work.
Four things that I noticed after the first day:
I was REALLY bloated
I had to pee every 30 minutes
I was really tired
I woke up with a raging headache in the morning
Many others in the group experienced the same things. People that weren’t used to drinking so much water also were fatigued and had horrible headaches. I googled it and discovered that a rapid surge in water intake actually affects the body in some way. Meaning you could actually drink too much water! Hyponatremia happens when the sodium in the blood becomes too diluted.
Hyponatremia symptoms include:
Loss of appetite
Obviously, I had overhydrated myself! My advice to anyone planning to increase their water intake (drastically, in my case), you have to increase your sodium intake as well. The simultaneous increase in the sodium will regulate any side effect drastic increase in water consumption would have incurred. Do not make the same mistake that I did!
After I added a little extra salt to my dies, the headache went away and I wasn’t as tired as I earlier was. However, I was still peeing every 30-60 minutes, and I looked like I was five months pregnant.
I made it to the end of the week and I felt great! I had lost 3 lbs., I was snacking way less, my skin felt hydrated, I felt energized and my eyes weren’t as dry. I celebrated the fact that I had drank 896 ounces of water that week! Plus, I had drastically lowered the amount of diet soda I was drinking. Win!
My body was happy and I wanted to keep with it. I decided a gallon was little too much for me, so I committed to drinking a minimum of 64 ounces a day. I drank 16 ounces in the morning, 32 ounces at work and 16 ounces after work. I like breaking it up like this, it’s easier to keep track and it helps me avoid waiting until the end of the day (because if I did, I wouldn’t drink it).
Since I made my daily water commitment, the most noticeable changes were that; I experienced fewer headaches (used to have at least one a week, sometimes lasting for days) and I didn’t feel out of breath when walking up stairs. I also felt better knowing that I’m helping my body function properly.
Just a few of the many benefits of drinking water:
- Promotes weight loss
- Helps kidney function
- Skin is less vulnerable to wrinkles
- Lubricates the joints
- Maintains blood pressure
These benefits weren’t really important to us as kids or as youths in our twenties, but as we get older, our bodies begin to grumble when it’s not happy with us. There is no consensus on the amount of water we should be drinking a day, but if you are drinking less than 32 ounces, chances are that you need to increase your water intake. You should really try to drink half your body weight at a minimum. Try my method above and tell me how it works for you!