Last month, I committed to drinking more water - specifically 72 oz. per day.
Well, I didn't drink 72 oz. of water each day, but I did drink 60 oz. or more each day. I averaged 62 oz. per day. Prior to that, I was getting around 48 oz. per day, which I know because I've been tracking my water intake for about four months now.
I was shocked, after those four months, to see my lack of water consumption. Seriously. I would have told you I drink a minimum of 60 oz. each day.
I've long had an issue with water. It hurts my stomach. I know that sounds crazy. Most people I know have never experienced water as an issue at all, but for me, when I drink water, I get acid reflux/heartburn.
Doctors seem skeptical of this. I, myself, have been skeptical of this. How could water be a problem?
This month of drinking more water taught me a lot. A lot. I learned about how to drink more water, which wasn't even on my radar. I just thought I needed to be more committed and aware. I had no idea there was going to have to be a plan, so to speak.
To that end, here are 7 Lessons Learned After a Month of Increased Water Intake (which is maybe the most boring list title ever?):
1. I have to get most of my water consumed in the morning. If I try to wait until afternoon/evening, I will not only fail, but my stomach will be all bloated and distended throughout the evening. It is painful. If I get my water in, at least 2/3 of it, before 1:00, I'm good.
2. Drinking more water meant getting up to go to the bathroom at night. It was really tedious.
3. I often simply forget to drink water. I just don't really think about it throughout the day, so some sort of reminder became helpful. Once I finished a glass of water, I'd refill it and set it somewhere visible. This helped a lot.
4. I cannot get enough water if I snack. This is hands-down the most important lesson I learned this month. I wasn't aware I was snacking so much until I tried to get enough water. Basically, if I'm eating, it's hard for my stomach to absorb the water as well. It's got to be one or the other. And I need to wait a bit after a meal to start drinking water again. So....if I'm snacking every few hours, it's really hard to also be drinking water. The days I drank the most water, I didn't snack between meals.
5. I am often thirsty when I think I'm hungry. The days I didn't snack but instead drank water, I didn't feel hungry at all. The water somehow filled me up, which can't just be volume. I think I was dehydrated.
6. More water made no difference throughout the month in terms of my stomach pain or digestion. What did make a difference in the pain was the snacking. I didn't realize how much I was overeating and keeping my stomach in a constant state of work.
7. Most people I know (and asked this month), don't think about water consumption at all. They don't measure it or tally it up. They have no idea how much water they drink. They do not obsess.
So, major lesson is that I am overeating and snacking, which is doing me no favors. The water doesn't seem to be a huge factor in how I feel as much as the fact that if I'm drinking water, I'm not eating (say) tortilla chips or apple slices with peanut butter or whatever else I reach for every few hours.
Not snacking made all the difference here. The water was just a way to illuminate that.
I'm not saying the water isn't worth it. Maybe if I truly get up to the 72 oz. it would make a difference. Maybe there's a magic number for all of us.
But mostly I think it's just good practice to eat three meals a day, give our digestive systems a rest in between, and keep ourselves hydrated so everything is humming along.
This month, my What If? is going to be: foam rolling!
I know. You're beyond excited.
I've done foam rolling off/on before, and I love it. But I'm never consistent. I do it for a day or two and then fall off for a week or two.
What if I foam roll every single day for 31 days straight?
Will I feel 'taller, slimmer and younger' - as Lauren Roxburgh promises? I have already purchased one of her foam rolling exercise videos (Total Body Invigorating + Calming), months ago. And I received, as a gift, her foam roller for Christmas.
So, basically, I have zero excuses.
I hope foam rolling will help work out some of the kinks of every day life. I'm sometimes tight in my neck/shoulders and hamstrings, and then there is the ongoing stomach tightness.
I am curious to see what a commitment to this will feel like. I know so many people who sing the praises of foam rolling (legitimate athletes) but who don't keep up with the practice regularly. It's like taking Omega-3 supplements or drinking enough water or getting enough sleep: we all know we should....but somehow it gets lost in the shuffle.
I am loving a committed What If practice because I am learning so much about myself, my habits, what works and what doesn't. But I will say this: none of it (even the dry brushing) has been a waste of time.
I'm off to foam roll, grocery shop, write an article for a client and generally ignore that it's raining. Again.