Pattern: “Drink a Gallon of Water Every Day”
Pattern Category: Nutrition
Pattern Difficulty: Intermediate
Have you ever felt dehydrated? Like, truly, “I feel horrible”, dehydrated?
I hope you haven’t, and if that’s the case, I’m here to tell you it’s an awful feeling.
Symptoms include cottonmouth, dark yellow pee, headache, muscle cramps, just to name a few.
And it gets worse.
Severe dehydration takes it to another level with dizziness, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, sunken eyes, and more.
Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately.https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/dehydration-adults
Suffice it to say, it’s an awful feeling and I strongly recommend you doing everything you can to avoid experiencing it.
On the other hand, do you know what it feels like to be fully hydrated?
Yes, you guessed it. It feels amazing: Like everything is right in the world and you can accomplish anything; like somehow you are primed for whatever life brings you.
Most people spend their time somewhere in-between these extremes: drinking just enough water to ward off the “Harry-Potter Dementors” of dehydration but not enough to feel the euphoria of being fully hydrated.
Further, most people rely on their sense of thirst to tell them when to drink. I have news for you: if you wait for your body to tell you you’re thirsty, it’s too late: you’re already dehydrated.
I would argue that many people have simply become accustomed to feeling like crap.
Let’s fix that today.
Pattern: “Drink a Gallon of Water Every Day”
Thesis: Most people do not drink enough water. And they don’t realize they are chronically dehydrated.
Not only do most people not drink enough water, but they compound the issue by eating foods that are high in salt and drinking alcohol, both of which have serious dehydrating effects.
The key to avoiding dehydration is to pay attention to how your body responds to alcohol.https://www.healthline.com/health/does-alcohol-dehydrate-you
Think about it: We take water for granted. Most of us assume that our water requirements are taken care of by drinking the occasional glass of water with a slice of lemon and perhaps eating foods that allegedly have plenty of water in them: watermelon slices (hey it has water right in the name!), salads, cucumbers, you name it.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but nothing takes the place of drinking water. Yes, pure, simple, life-giving, water.
Stop complaining and drink it. Lots of it.
What About Soda?
And no, before you ask, soda does not count. Regardless that it seems like a refreshing liquid. Regardless that it’s the “clear” kind with no caramel coloring added. And, yes, I’m talking to you diet soda drinkers too.
You don’t get credit for soda.
Despite the marketing hype, colorful branding, creative graphics that imply “refreshment” and that they will “quench your thirst”, soda pop products have one thing in common:
They were all made in a chemical lab with one thing in mind: To keep you buying their product and buying more and more.
The Awesome News
There is plenty of research that there are added benefits to drinking more water, namely: losing weight.
Drinking water helps boost your metabolism, cleanse your body of waste, and acts as an appetite suppressant. Also, drinking more water helps your body stop retaining water, leading you to drop those extra pounds of water weight.https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/how-drinking-more-water-can-help-you-lose-weight
Often times we confuse “being hungry” with “being thirsty”. Check out the pattern Fast Between Meals. It’s essential that you are regularly feeding yourself according to your goals and comfort level, without fail; when you’re in-between meals, it’s easy to convince yourself that you’re hungry, but it’s easy to confuse that feeling with being thirsty.
So, the next time you’re convinced that you’re hungry and you could just go for a “snack”, ask yourself when the last time you had a drink of water, because you just might be in need of the refreshment that only a pure glass of water can supply,
Implementation Tips & Strategies
- Track Your Consumption: Track your water intake using a tool such as MyFitnessPal. There are 128 ounces of water in a gallon. You can easily get to a gallon of water by simply dividing your water consumption throughout the say in 25 oz increments, for a total of 6 increments (that actually gets you to 1.17 gallons! Yay, you!). Why 25 oz? That’s the standard amount of liquid held by a typical shaker cup
- Start Early: Drink 12-25 oz first thing in the morning, right after waking, to start your day off. And yes, before you grab for that cup of coffee. I promise you’ll start to feel better immediately
- Augment Sparingly With Flavored Drink Mix: If you find it difficult to drink plain water, augment with a liquid drink mix like Kool-Aid Liquid Drink Mix, which has zero calories and zero caffeine. Just be aware that it does contain artificial sweeteners. If you do opt for this option, try to get to a point where you’re only consuming it during meals and drinking pure water in between. See the Fast Between Meals pattern
- Augment Liberally With Sparkling Water: Augment with sparkling (mineral) water such as Pellegrino or Perrier as much as you’d like. There are plenty of articles online that tout the benefits of drinking mineral water. You can also combine this tip with the previous one and add a liquid zero-calorie flavor enhancer like Kool-Aid for a nice fizzy treat (again, try to get to the point where you’re only using water enhancers when you’re consuming calories)
- Prime Yourself: Have trouble drinking a gallon of water in a day? Take a day and force yourself to drink two gallons of water. Feel what it’s like to double your goal and prove to you that drinking a gallon isn’t all that hard. Believe me, when you go back to one gallon, it will feel easy in comparison! See the Prime Yourself pattern