By Diana Giraldo | GFC Editor
We’ve all heard it, “You have to drink eight glasses of water a day,” or “If you’re thirsty then you are already dehydrated.”
But what does that really mean and how do we apply it in our life?
“Water keeps us alive,” said Sarah Connelly, a clinical health educator at Kaiser Permanente. “Our body is made mostly of water so it is very important that we have it, but many people, in general are not used to drinking just water anymore.”
Seeing as how drinking water is something that is so heavily talked about in the health industry I decided to evaluate how much water I drank on a daily basis and put myself through the challenge of following the daily recommended dose of water intake – eight 8-ounce glasses, which is about 2 liters.
I planned out my strategy carefully. I had to find a way to set myself up for success and to do so I needed to find a way I was sure I would drink the same amount of water each day. Through my time writing for the paper the concurring advice from all the dietitians has been, “If you have the water available to you, you are more likely to drink it.”
I decided to find a water bottle that could contain 1 liter of water, which would mean for me to reach my daily goal I would only need to refill the water bottle once. The amount of water I took in each day was approximate, seeing as depending on what I ate each day. Fruits, vegetables and even other types of drink also hold water content. I thought the water bottle method would be the best way for me to keep track of my intake throughout the day because it helped me keep consistent with how much I took in and there was no way for me to forget.
On my search I stumbled upon the Coleman c01s816 stainless steel sports bottle, which holds a liter of water and has its own polyester carry pouch, which was constructed to maintain liquids at cold temperature for an extended period of time. This bad boy became my best friend. I did not leave the house without it and since it’s convenient to carry with its own pouch, having water near me constantly was not an issue.
As I began my experiment, the first two weeks I definitely felt it – drinking that much water would make me go to the bathroom often, which I had been warned about before starting. Once my body adjusted to my new water regime this was not an issue.
At the end of the second week I started to notice another change in my body, my skin was starting so glow. Like many women in their 20’s my skin is confused. Parts of it still want to break out while others are too oily and yet another is dry. I have been using a brightening serum and moisturizer for about half a year and it had not changed anything recently but I noticed an improvement in my skin. The parts that were dry before were no longer and the areas where my acne was concentrated began to clear up.
Water is the backbone to cellular structure and the skin’s vital nutrients, Edgar Macias, from Macias Dermatology said, without water the skin shrivels and dies. Just like any other organ, the skin’s cells are made up of water and without water the organs will not function properly or at their best. If your skin is not getting the sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky, according to UW Health, and dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling.
As the weeks continued, I slowly started to notice I wasn’t snacking as much as I used to. I am the type of person that loves to eat small things throughout the day, maybe some fruit, a granola bar, trail mix or protein shake. But even though I had those around me, I was reaching for my water bottle first; I didn’t really touch my snacks and yet I wasn’t hungry.
Water can keep you full, which in turn helps control calories, said Connelly. When the body is thirsty you may feel hungry but instead of reaching for a snack, drink a cup of water and wait a moment. If the water satisfied your hunger your body is telling you it is dehydrated.
By the end of the third week my mom commented that she noticed my stomach was flatter and my jeans and shirts were fitting looser. I hadn’t realized until then that the little blubber around the bottom of my stomach I had worked so hard to get rid of through ab workouts was finally shedding off after I began to drink the proper amount of water. After reading more about water affecting weight loss I found it’s involved in every type of cellular process in your body, and when you’re dehydrated, they all run less efficiently – and that includes your metabolism.
“Your metabolism is basically a series of chemical reactions that take place in your body,” read the Web MD article quoting Trent Nessler, managing director of Baptist Sports Medicine in Nashville. “Staying hydrated keeps those chemical reactions moving smoothly.” Being even 1% dehydrated can cause a significant drop in metabolism.
Throughout my one month journey I definitely saw a change in several areas of my body from aesthetics to internal well-being and a heightened sense of being more alert. This challenge has not only become an experiment for me but it will continue being a change in my life that I am working on creating as a habit. After seeing the difference just drinking more water made in my body I think I have found my “quick fix.”