For the next several weeks, every Wednesday, Never Buff Enough 2.0 will post on the topic of weight loss and living more healthfully and well-fully. This is the second entry in a series called “Five simple strategies you can try RIGHT NOW to achieve your fitness goals”
In part one of this series, we discussed the importance of getting rid of your scale; it’s a useless beast, and it is only there to frustrate you. Have you thrown it away yet?!?
This week, it’s all about…
Water, water, water.
By now, you’ve probably heard all about the health benefits of drinking water, of how it helps you to stay hydrated, about how it helps your kidneys function well, about how it keeps your body functions actually function as best as they can. So I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time trying to convince you of something that’s probably already been drilled into your head anyway.
Instead, I’ll tell you about how I struggle with my water intake, in spite of knowing how beneficial it is to stay hydrated.
Water tastes boring. It’s just so…so…so….well, watery. And blah. It’s just plain old blah. It’s not as exciting as iced tea or lemonade or an occasional soda. It doesn’t even compare to a nice cold beer on a hot afternoon, and it certainly pales in comparison to the several Sangria recipes with which I like to experiment.
But it also doesn’t have the caloric content of all those tastier options either. And I’m not going to pretend I don’t indulge in those tastier options either; because I do. In moderation. I don’t believe in total deprivation, and since I’m not currently dieting for a show and have no plans for doing so in the immediate future, I will drink an occasional sweet tea, a beer, and a Sangria. Just not all at the same time.
And sometimes, I just forget to drink the water. I know I should be drinking about a gallon a day, if not more, given my activity levels, but I sometimes mess up and I end up dehydrating myself and thus feel lethargic, get headaches, and feel gross. I also can notice dehydration in my face when I haven’t had enough to drink– my skin looks sallow and droopy; not a look I’m going for.
So I have a few tricks that I rely on to help me get that much-needed water…
1. Crystal Light. It’s my water’s best friend. My go-to flavor is Raspberry Ice. You can buy the single-serving packets or the big dogs that will flavor a two-quart pitcher. I have both. Using this flavor enhancement makes water less boring, less blah. Some will argue about the artificial sweetener that’s used in it, but I don’t worry too much about that; I figure the benefits of drinking the water outweigh the supposed risk of the sweetener.
2. Water Infusions. This also takes away the blah-ness of water. Throw in some fruits, herbs, whatever you like that will take away the blahness of that water.
I like to cut up a cucumber into thin slices (skin removed) and throw that into a pitcher along with some mint or basil leaves. I’ll let that infuse in the water in the refrigerator for a few hours before drinking. It’s a really fresh, cool treat.
I just throw my fruits and so forth right in the pitcher, but you can buy water infusion pitchers as well as bottles so that you don’t end up with seeds or fruit pulp in your mouthpiece. Walmart has a few of these infusion bottles, but I don’t know if they’re made in China or not, and I’m hesitant to buy plastic products (or any product, for that matter) from China.
If you’re a little more willing to spare no expense and are a fan of the TV show, Shark Tank (of which I am a HUGE fan), then you might remember this infuser bottle, the Define Bottle, that was pitched to the Sharks by a 13-year old entrepreneur. Granted, this bottle is still manufactured in China, but it’s tested in the States, so I might be more willing to give this bottle a whirl.
But then again, I’m pretty cheap and probably won’t go the route of buying a special bottle; I’ll just put up with the occasional seed and fruit rind touching my lips.
3. I play games with myself. I carry a bottle or a jug of water with me, everywhere. None of those used gallon milk jugs like most bodybuilders carry around. I hate it when I see that at the gym. So stereotypical. As if people can’t figure it out just by looking at you that you’re a bodybuilder, but then they gotta do the stereotypical gym rat thing of carrying around that gallon milk jug. Look, I’m a self-appointed gym rat, meathead type too, but I just wanna shake those people and ask if it’s realllllyyy all that difficult to just carry around a regular water bottle like everyone else and just refill it a few times throughout the workout. You’re not that badass just because you carry around the milk jug. In fact, you look like a jackass, not a badass.
So I play games. For instance, while I compose this post, I have a jug of water, plain old water, sitting next to me. After every paragraph, I force myself to drink from it. I’m not “allowed” to write the next paragraph until I drink from the jug. So far, it’s working fairly well, as I’ve nearly finished an entire jug so far just this morning.
4. Have a “goalfriend.” My good friend, Amy, came up with that one. Ha! We’ve each set tiny goals, ones that are achievable in a day, with each other. She’s dieting for a show, so her tiny goal is to limit her intake of peanut butter for the day. Peanut butter while dieting is her weakness. Like I said, I’m not dieting, but I am trying to optimize my health as well as my training and my weakness is my water intake. So my goal is to consume at least two of these jugs in a day (which doesn’t count the several bottles I’ll consume while at the gym; NO– I do NOT take these jugs to the gym with me; they’re just as bad as the milk jugs! These are merely used in the privacy of my own home. They are not for public viewing. The jug on the left is just plain old water; the one on the right– flavor enhancer. I used one of those Mio water enhancers, which is a very similar product to Crystal Lite, only it’s liquid in a tiny squeeze bottle.
5. I drink a glass of water as soon as I awaken in the morning, before I do anything else or eat or drink anything else, including coffee. I also drink a glass before I go to bed. Always.
Now there are some things you should know, particularly if you do not regularly already consume a lot of water.
You are going to pee. A lot.
And it is going to be annoying. I’ve only recently increased my water intake and while composing this post, I’ve already had to excuse myself (from my kitten, Lucy, who has been laying on my lap throughout my composition time) three times to get up to go to the bathroom.
But as your body grows accustomed to the uptake, that need to go so frequently will subside as your body uses it to replenish what was probably previously dehydrated.
You’ll also likely experience some bloating. This will also be dependent on the foods you eat as well. And that’s a whole other blog post. For now– just know that some temporary bloat is going to be normal.
How will you know when you are sufficiently hydrated? First of all, you’ll simply feel better. But you’ll also be able to tell by the color of your pee. If it’s nice and clear (it will still be yellow, only it will be a pale yellow) and has no odor, you’re doing well.
Look, drinking a bunch of water isn’t necessarily going to be THE key to your weight loss goals, but it is going to make you feel better, and it will also free up some calories that you can EAT instead of drink. Sugary drinks and other “less boring” beverages cost you calories. And to be honest, I prefer eating my calories over drinking them because I feel more satiated from eating than I do drinking.
So I just finished up my first jug of water for the day. I’m going to excuse myself from Lucy, and go pee!