Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Nutrition Challenge #2: Hydration

According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended daily intake of water is 2.2L for women and 3L for men. These values do not include adjustments for hot weather or exercise, but the article did indicate that up to ~20% of the daily water intake can be from food (ie. your fruits and veggies).

More often than not, I am running a net water deficit. I don't really drink more water than usual when it is hot out. And, the days I actually drink the requisite 2.2L are the days I do an hour or more of cardio.

So, I tried to trick myself into meeting the 1.76L target (I gave myself the 20% from food credit):

1. Starting the day with 2 cups of water
I tried Danielle's suggestion of starting the day with 2 cups (~500 mL) water. This is a great tip. I found I didn't get as thirsty during the day, and generally just felt better. After a couple weeks, my bad hydration habits got the best of me and I fell off the bandwagon.

2. Keeping a waterbottle filled
My hope was that by making the water more accessible, I would drink more. Then I noticed my waterbottle had remained untouched for two days.

3. Herbal tea
The idea of herbal tea seemed like a really clever way to mask the water. I made big batches, drank some hot and refrigerated the rest to use as iced tea (unsweetened). This seemed to work well. Then, I discovered that the tea I was using included a plant that is a diuretic -- so essentially I was just digging the trench of my dehydration deeper.

4. Desperate times, desperate measures
I'm a little embarrased that this is what it took to finally get me to drink more water consistently:

Cups of water Workout/Heat Extra
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3

 Yup, taped to my kitchen cupboard. I even put smiling shooting star clipart in "8" column in the original version -- sadly the shooting stars could not be pasted into this post (the program translated the images as being the word "bitmap"). They really do make the table more jazzy.

Anyhow, I soon realized I was grossly overestimating how much water I drink. Being a bit of a Type-A personality, the empty checkboxes annoyed me enough that I broke down and just drank the water.
That's how I noticed my fully hydrated brain is better focused. And, I have more energy when I am not volume depleted. Hopefully, this checklist motivation lasts. Maybe I'll have to step it up with a bribe eventually: If I drink 8 cups of water daily for two months, then I get a day at the spa...

1 comment:

  1. I'm proud of myself! I just spent the afternoon doing school work and drinking water while doing this task. I am amazed how much I have been able to consume! I do however REALLY have to pee! I guess that's one of the inevitable parts that comes with this process! I'm really looking forward to seeing the benefits that come with being adequately hydrated :)