It is jokingly said that “Vee get too soon old und too late schmart.” Certainly that's the case when it comes to me and water. All my life I’ve heard that one should drink eight glasses of water a day. But I’ve never managed to get that much down – until recently.
Because I suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome, my eye doctor advised me to drink eight glasses of water a day. Weight Watchers’ recommendation is the same. Nutritionists and massage therapists tell us to drink eight glasses a day. By now we all know that we’re supposed to drink eight glasses of water a day.
But how to get it all down? Unless you're dying of thirst, water is the most uninteresting drink imaginable. It’s the liquid equivalent of eating paper, except that paper at least has texture. Mixed with a little club soda or Pellegrino it’s a little more bearable, but those bubbles can cause other problems.
Most of the time we’re not thirsty and the idea of drinking plain water just for the heck of it is something to be avoided. And it’s hard to remember to drink when you’re not thirsty.
In recent years there has been a proliferation of health conscious souls running about carrying bottles of water from which they annoyingly squirt and sip every five minutes.
But not being inclined to sip and squirt, I’ve tried leaving a big glass in the middle of the kitchen counter to remind me. Hasn’t worked. It’s not long before I just walk right past the glass as it becomes part of the scenery.
If I’m not thirsty why should I force myself to drink water? I drink small amounts of coffee, orange juice, milk, iced tea and tonic with lime during the day. Do they add up to eight glasses? Most likely not.
I recently read a lively and interesting book I would recommend, Fit for Life not Fat for Life, by Harvey Diamond. In it Mr. Diamond imparts a load of useful information – some practical, some a little bit “out there” – about how to maintain a healthy diet along with suggestions for losing weight, some of which I might be willing to try, others, not so much. I tried eating nothing but fruit until noon. Didn’t work for me. I thought I was going to faint.
Now this might sound pretty stupid, but in all the years of knowing I should drink eight glasses of water a day, until I read Fit for Life I never understood why. I had a vague sense that drinking water is good for the skin and other organs, which are mostly made of water. I knew that we don’t have to be thirsty to be dehydrated. But my joints weren’t squeaking or creaking, so I figured I was okay.
But Mr. Diamond finally got through to me, at this late date, the utterly simple reason why we should drink eight glasses of water a day: Our bodies lose two quarts of water a day, even by breathing, and we simply need to replace what we lose. That should be obvious. But it wasn’t to me. Now, if you’ve known this all along, you’re saying to yourself, “What a dope she is.” But I really didn’t know that.
So, armed with this new information I’ve become a resolute water drinker, and not just any water. I buy big bottles of water containing electrolytes in the super market. Some people buy cigarettes. Some people buy lottery tickets. I buy water.
Why electrolytes? Mr. Diamond says: “Our body’s health is greatly affected by both the mineral and electrolyte balance of its fluids. Therefore, if your water of choice has been cleansed, purified of all pollutants and undesirable natural and manmade contaminants – and then enhanced with a proper mineral and electrolyte formula – it becomes a superior vehicle for the replacement of minerals and electrolytes. Unlike most bottled and municipal tap water, which have a neutral pH, these waters are in an alkaline range, the same as human blood and other body fluids.”
Of course I want a superior vehicle, so I’ve become an electrolyte water junkie. And the way I support my habit is by buying big bottles of the stuff such as Smartwater or Essentia. I keep a full bottle of beside my bed. And although it’s kind of a drag, first thing in the morning, when I’m rarin’ to get up and go, I find a nice radio station todistract me and drink most of the bottle before I put my feet on the floor.
I feel no different after I’ve drunk the water – not bloated or weighed down, just happy that I’ve drunk half of the daily requirement and it’s not even 8 a.m. And in the weeks since I’ve begun this ritual I feel peppier, have more mental clarity, my eyes are less dry, and my face looks a little less weary.
You're probably aware that besides losing water through natural processes, certain medications -- antihistamines, H2 blockers (Zantac, Pepcid), plus diuretics, laxatives, and alcohol all have a drying effect.
In case you’re worried that drinking a half gallon of water would require distressingly frequent trips to the ladies room, I haven’t found that to be the case. But like the queen, I make sure to go when an opportunity presents itself rather than thinking, “Oh I’ll wait ‘til I get back to Buckingham Palace.” Most stores and other buildings where I spend any time have restrooms.
So, if you’ve chastised yourself for not drinking enough water, maybe my little story will give you the push you need. And if you’re thinking, “Why would I want to spend all of that money on water?” just think of what you’d be spending if you were a pack a day smoker or frittered away your hard-earned cash on losing lottery tickets. There is always a way to rationalize behavior especially when it leads to positive results.