The Water Diaries: week Four Final Thoughts

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Okay now, for exactly thirty days I have been trying to consume at least eight, eight ounce glasses of water per day in an effort to see what happens when I keep up with the recommended daily intake.

While we all know drinking water is good for you, but recently there have been this veritable barrage of water challenge posts, many touting miracle results. I was leery of all these miracle claims, specifically of lots of weight loss. In general I am leery of anything that starts out promising weight loss without a whole lot of sweat and effort.

While I didn’t drop mass amounts of weight during the past month and I seated for every fraction of a pound I did lose, I can sort of see where some of the weight loss might be coming from with others. I think because when you start off drinking this much water and are not used to it, the water hits you kind of heavily. In addition, to get it all in, especially at the beginning, you simply don’t have room in your belly for any other beverage. After pounding back all that water for the first few days I didn’t even think about drinking anything other than the water I was supposed to drink. I planned to get through it, then look at other things. But first I had to get through it.

It wasn’t until I was past the midweek mark that first week where the overfilled sensation started to dissipate and my body became accustomed to the water intake. when dieting one of the first things that I learned was that while I counted my food calories and marked down what I ate, I often forgot to write down my beverages.

I suspect that those who showed weight loss from just adding water to their daily routine for a week, were, prior to that week, consuming more of other types of beverages in their daily life. As I long ago started to count my beverage calories into my daily total, I didn’t really have that sudden drop.

Me no makeup as I begin my 30 days of water

There were other changes along the way though and I think they are worth mentioning. The first two or three days were brutal. It felt as though I was carrying a lead weight in my belly and trying to drown myself a cup at a time. I found it easier to remember to drink the water when at my desk then when I was out and about in the world making weekends a little unpredictable. I would forget to drink my water and then guzzle a bunch of it really quickly to make up time. During the work week I just steadily consumed it.

In addition, for those first few days I was still getting my walking and gym time in so there was a good deal of sweating going on. And it stank. I’m not saying my sweat normally smells of roses and ambrosial paradise, but I am at this point in time familiar with the way my sweat smells. For those first few days, my sweat smelled stinky to me. I did not smell quite like me. I don’t know if my body was flushing out the last remnants of a sinus infection I had a little while prior or if in an effort to find somewhere to go the water was filling up every nook and cranny inside my body and evicting anything and everything it found in its way.

me at end of challenge

Sort of like flushing out your radiators where every pore becomes a spigot.

I will also say that my white gym towel had a little bit of a yellowish tinge to it after wiping myself down and while I adore the Busy Beauty Showerless wipes, especially in an effort to avoid the odd black tiles showers of my gym, those couple of days I braved the tiles. And then used the wipes after because I still smelled off and they really helped with that.

Which reminds me, I need to restock on those.I’ll place an order later today.

But as stinky as that was, the stink did fade. It faded about the same time that my belly stopped feeling overly full. When I adjusted to drinking the recommended dose of water. I seriously think I just sort of flushed my system.

And I felt really good.

I noticed the dark circles under my eyes faded and while I still really don’t sleep more than five hours a night, I was getting a good solid five hours.

As long as I remembered to drink my water early in the day. If I left the drinking of the water too late in the day than I had to get up several times in the night to release it back into the wild so to speak.

And yes I did spend a bit more time in the ladies room during this trial than usual. More so in that first week and less as time went on. Its like once my body figured out what to do with all the water, it was happy to accept it. It just needed time to adjust.

And adjust it did.

During my trial (in the third week) I had one day where the day just went off the rails and if I managed a full glass of water that day I would be surprised. My polling place was moved due to flooding so I ended up driving hither and yon in an attempt to locate my alternate and then because of a power outage my alternate alternate. In the end I voted (which took exactly two seconds to press a button after an entire day of driving around and checking addresses and directions), but I didn’t get my water.

The next day I felt like I had a massive hangover. I was dehydrated, headachy and as there was no alcohol in the previous day I seriously thought I was getting sick. Since everyone else seems to be sick, it was a serious concern.

But no, my body just missed it’s normal water ration.

Hello, my name is Mimsy and I am a Water Addict.

It was easily sorted and I am happy to say I was not getting sick, in fact I felt better this month than I have in a while. Even though I adjusted my gym workouts, there was less than the expected muscle soreness I’ve come to expect from a change in my routine. During my period, my cramps were massively reduced which was a fantastic unplanned benefit and I didn’t get my typical hormonal break outs. Joints that might ache after a heavy work out really didn’t bother me at all either.

Its like my innards were a properly oiled machine with no squeaky gears.

So it is actually with a degree of sadness that I reach the end of my month long water trial. To be honest, I didn’t think it would do much of anything. I learned that while water is not a magic weight loss elixir, shedding pounds in a single gulp, it does have huge benefits. While I will continue to drink my water, trying each day to maintain that healthy level, I think I am going to have to find some way to keep my monitoring up. While during the challenge I knew I had to so that I could report back any changes, without that need to report, I fear my consumption may slip a bit. As dorky as it sounds I think I might start a chart and get into the habit of checking my water level off every day to keep myself on track. I really like the benefits and I think long term, it will be good for me.

I just need to look into replacing my water bottles. They weren’t new when I started and being dragged along as my constant companions for a month didn’t help them any. They are looking a little more battered than when I started. And it is most definitely time to order a replacement bottle for my Soda Stream. I do love my carbonation.

And I now know that when health professionals advocate drinking water, there are actually some very good reasons. For those of you looking to get healthy, or thinking of taking your own water challenge, I hope this post helps you out. I’m sure your results will vary and I’d love to hear about it if you feel like sharing.

SodaStream USA, inc

Weight loss regime survival tip #41: Taste

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Yesterday I did something I hadn’t done in a really long time. I stopped at a fast food restaurant. The day, quite frankly, spiraled out of control and any attempt to maintain my regular meal plan went out the window. It wasn’t any major calamity, it was just a billion little things that leave you washed up at the end of the day breathless and feeling like you were hit by a truck when no truck was actually in evidence.

While I will survive, clearly, the experience was interesting.

While my baby and I have gone out to restaurants since beginning our journey into health, most of our meals are made at home. We are a bit selective of the places we go, predominantly because of his avoidance of salt more than any diet plan on my part or food snobbery. For the most part fast food restaurants have fallen by the wayside, at least for me because they are too convenient.

Picking up a little something every now and again isn’t a bad thing. Although reading the calories listed on my favorite foods almost made my heart stop. The problem is that for me it is too easy a habit to slide into. A once a month treat or an every other month one can quickly spiral into once or twice a week. And that is a lot of calories to burn off.

So I avoid them, or have until yesterday and the spiral of doom.

Once I justified the visit, I felt my mouth watering and my tastebuds cheering in anticipation. My baby, who was by my side in this endeavor, having survived his own day of doom was ready to through salt to the wind, and not just because it spilled and he was banishing the devil by tossing a pinch over his shoulder.

We went through the drive thru and arrived moments later at home. The nearest cluster is a block from our house. I have to drive across town for the gym but I can get to six fast food joints in under five minutes.

Told you it was convienient.

Once home, we each began to eat.

Funny thing is, it didn’t taste the same. The meat was dry, which was quite a feat given how much sauce was slathered on it. The lettuce tasteless and stringy. The bun was certainly nothing to write home about. I washed it down with my soft drink and my mouth felt sticky afterwards. The drink tasted better than the burger, but it did leave me feeling sticky.

The fries were utterly delicious.

They were crispy, salty, hot, strips of golden fried potato heaven.

While the rest was a bit of a disappointment, those fries were worth consuming regardless of the calories.

Admittedly, a little while later my fingers were swollen and I was guzzling water like a camel too long between oasis pit stops. It was still worth it.

But being me, I had to analyze things.

The burger quite frankly hadn’t changed much. My weakness at fast food places tends to be the fried chicken sandwiches, but I couldn’t justify the calories when faced with the drive thru board. Whoever made them just went sauce happy last night.

As sauces are one way to bulk up calories in a home cooked meal, I’ve taken to portioning out only as much as I need to get the flavor without blowing my calorie count. I’ve actually been amazed by how little that actually is to be honest. even with salad dressing. I’ve started putting it in a little bowl on the side (measuring the portion size of course, and then I dip my fork in it before stabbing the salad. The dressing gets on each bite and I rarely use the entire portion size. I also don’t have soggy over saturated lettuce at the bottom of the bowl when I am done. Limiting the sauce also helps me taste the other ingredients and better balance flavors.

The drink was the biggest surprise as I always think of fountain drinks as refreshing. Perhaps if the weather was hot and I was very sweaty, it would have been. Last night was cold and rainy and I was more annoyed with the soggy than suffering the sweaty.

In addition, I looked at my typical beverage choices as they stand now. My two main beverages are coffee in the mornings and water. The first cup of coffee is doctored with two tablespoons of Italian Sweet Cream Creamer. When the cup gets to the halfway point I refill it from the pot but don’t ever add any more creamer. I only use the two tablespoons at the start.

The water for the most part comes via my Soda Stream. Well technically tap to Soda Stream. I find the carbonated water easier to consume and therefore I drink more of it. occasionally I will add some lemon or lime juice. I have one water bottle with the center column designed to hold fruit wedges and occasionally I fill it with either lemons or limes, sometimes both depending on what we have in the fridge, but mostly I drink the plain carbonated water.

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My recent indulgence has actually been the HINT water in Blackberry. It smells more intense than it tastes, but there is a tiny hint of sweetness. It is an indulgence more for the fact that it comes in a disposable bottle more than for any calories I consume while drinking it. Luckily one of my neighbors is an art teacher at a local elementary school so my HINT bottles are in the collection destined to become bird feeders. I didn’t ask for details but felt better about the bottles afterwards.

I regret nothing about the fries.

It also made me feel better in an odd way. If they fries were affecting me that much then it means I really have managed to cut out a lot of salt from our home diet, which was by order of my darling dearest’s doctor.

So go me.

Oddly enough, while it seems my tastes have changed, I can still see myself slipping back into the fast food convenience trap. The fries are bait, or the gateway drug if you prefer. I could see me saying, ‘I’ll just go for the fries as a treat’. I could see the treat becoming more frequent and then expanding into other items until my tastes once again changed and the fast food menu was once again filled with lip smacking deliciousness.

I know tastes change, but I always associated it with growing older and losing childhood food cravings. It never occurred to me that it was something I controlled by my actions. They say it takes four weeks I believe for a new habit to replace the old and become routine. I think it might take longer for old food habits to be replaced and new tastes to take root. but it turns out they do take root.

Tastes can change and to some extent, I can control that change. Personally, I find that very encouraging.

It almost makes the bad day worth it.

And I still regret nothing about the fries.

SodaStream USA, inc

The Water Diaries Week 3

In an attempt to consume the eight eight ounce glasses of water recommended each day, I have been tracking my water intake for a full thirty days. we are at the end of week three of the month long trial and thus far things have been interesting. To be honest, I didn’t expect a lot of changes to occur. I regularly drink water, although as I found out at the beginning not as much water as I thought I did.

At the moment I will leave previous weeks to stand on their own and combine all my findings into one post at the end of week four when my official trial is over.

This week, while I did find the water easier to consume, I have also found myself waking up thirsty more often than not and immediately reaching for the water glass on my night stand as soon as I wake.

Oddly enough I did have one day where I didn’t meet my goal of water consumption. Although that is a bit of an understatement. It was the week to vote in the primaries in Tennessee and as I missed the early voting I had to go on Tuesday. Since I’ve only done early voting I only knew where my early voting location was and as it turns out this is not my regular polling place.

Of course as it happens my regular polling place wasn’t my regular polling place wither, at least not this time. we’ve had a load of torrential rains recently and my regular polling place was flooded. So I trekked to the alternate location to perform my civic duty as a registered voter.

I can tell you this, I will not be forgetting my early voting next time. My early voting is at the library. It is easy to find and located on high ground so it doesn’t flood.

To be honest, I had my morning coffee and then later in the day, around dinner time I think I had one or two of my recommended eight glasses. I didn’t want to drink too much too late and thus spend the bulk of the night running to and from the powder room, so I didn’t.

What’s the worst that can happen, I reasoned. I’ll have to admit to a day of failure. I can do that.

Yeah. Turns out my body had other plans.

Not only did I wake up feeling dryer than the Sahara, my body craving water. But I had a bit of a headache and I felt pretty wrecked. I seriously thought I was coming down with something and took my temperature.

My temperature was fine, so I popped a couple of Ibuprofen and went on with my morning.

That day I not only drank my allotted water but I drank more than my allotted water with no problems. I didn’t drink double, but I did end up drinking a little over a gallon of water that day. The headache faded, I felt better and things are now back to normal.

I think my body has gotten used to the extra hydration and was not terribly happy about being denied. And I did go to an extreme of a lot of water to very little. I’m sure if I lowered my daily amounts slowly it wouldn’t be as big a problem. It was just an unexpected strangeness.

To be honest, it felt a little like a hangover.

I suppose that shouldn’t surprise me as one of the main reasons for a hangover is that alcohol dehydrates you. So I suppose I dehydrated myself, without the cocktails.

Not as much fun really.

But good to know.

And that is it as I prepare to go into my final week of my water challenge. I have to say, I’ve learned more about my body this month than I expected.

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The Water Diaries: Week 2

water on the go

If you are just tuning in, I am spending thirty days drinking the recommended eight, eight ounce glasses of water per day for thirty days. Partially I am doing this because I wanted to see how much water I did drink in a day. (it turns out not nearly the recommended dose). I also wanted to see if the touted benefits were accurate and what so much water did to a body. While I will have an end of the month summary, I wanted to check in at the end of each week to talk about some things I noticed.

To be honest, I didn’t think there would be much to say after I got over the initial hump of the forcing myself to consume the water.

Turns out some things did change.

While it was difficult in the beginning of that first week to force myself to drink all of the ater, this week I didn’t find the water weighing so heavily on me as I did that first week. In fact, I have been waking up thirsty in the mornings.

That came as a complete and utter shock to me.

I also found out something interesting. Without going into too much information territory, this week I have my period. It is usual for me to have rather severe cramps at least one day and to get hormonal break outs.

This week, I had neither. The break outs usually start the day before my period does, but this month they failed to arrive and have continued to stay away. while I have had light cramps, they are nothing compared to the the usual. Seriously, I’ve felt worse after doing too many sit ups.

It was amazing.

I went through my routine with a fine toothed comb but I can find nothing else in my routine that has changed since last month except the water. I am currently doing a skin care test with several Annmarie Skin Care products (and loving them actually) but they are targeted towards dealing with fine lines not acne.

The only thing that really changed was the water.

Somehow this was not mentioned in the benefits of drinking more water, if it was, I would have done this challenge a long time ago.

While it is still easier to drink the water during the work week than it is on the weekend, I managed pretty well last weekend. To be honest after this week I am actually excited about continuing. I can’t wait to see if next week brings any changes and if so what they are. Stay tuned.

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The Water Diaries: Week 1

The end of week one of my thirty day water challenge

For some reason that title makes my inner voice sound like Jacques Cousteau.

…Join us as we explore the undersea world, a world inhabited by fascinating creatures, a world under the sea.

Admittedly for the first few days of my water trial it felt like I swallowed most of the ocean, sans saline and undersea creatures of course.

For those just tuning in, after discovering that drinking between eight and ten glasses of water was recommended for not only healthy living but for weight loss assistance, I decided to try a thirty day challenge where I attempted to drink the recommended amount each day and see what happened. This is the end of my first week.

The first two days were a bit of a struggle. I felt simply gorged with water and I began to doubt the wisdom of this entire venture. I think I might have eaten less because I was already so full, but it wasn’t noticeably less.

I spent a lot of time visiting the ladies room as well. I learned a very valuable lesson with that actually. The lesson is, drink the most water in the morning so that you are tapering off later in the day. Otherwise you will wake up repeatedly in the night.

I know common sense logic lessons everyone already knows, that’s my strong suit.

Seriously though, drink the bulk of your water early.

The third day was a little harder for me to actually get all of my water in. I started this on a Thursday and the third day was Saturday. Since so many people always state that they will start new things on Monday, I wanted to switch it up so that by Monday it would hopefully already be a habit.

I found it a lot easier to drink all of my water when I had my water bottles lined up on my desk than I did when I was running around on the weekend. I managed, but it was definitely something I had to think about more on the weekend then during the week. I also found that having the three water bottles helped. I could fill them in the morning and then just rotate through them without losing track of refilling them. when one was empty, I set it aside and moved to the next until all three were empty.

I definitely would have lost track over the weekend. So lets here it for collecting multiple water bottles!

In addition, I also noticed something interesting towards the end of the weekend. The scent of my sweat changed a little. Now, I’m not going to claim I smell like a rose, especially after a heavy workout, because we all know that would be a lie. It was like the water was evicting the toxins that were squatting deep in my inner recesses. I was being purged from the inside out. Its not like I was sniffing and thinking ‘oh, I’ve now managed to sweat out my friday night martini’ or ‘there goes whatever was lurking in my red sauce and cabernet from last week’, but it sort of felt like a spring cleaning for my innards.

The odd scent only lasted a day or two and then I just smelled like regular old me again. which was a relief. I have to say I was also glad to have those Busy Beauty Showerless Body Wipes around as well. I also might have been a little extra aggressive when wiping away the sweat. It was a little disconcerting to have my own scent change.

I suppose I can take comfort in the fact that the odd scent change didn’t last. I’m taking it as me having fewer toxins to purge then I would have if the sour scent lasted all week. Right?

while I am keeping track of changes, weight measurements and that sort of thing. I am going to wait and post them in the roundup at the end of the thirty days because I think there will be more of a change, if indeed a change happens. Until then I am just going to post a weekly segment noting the none measurement things I see and learn.

Thus far my lessons can be summed up in three parts.

  1. drink your water early in the day unless you want to be running to the bathroom all night.
  2. multiple water bottles to measure out all your water for the day really helps in consumption, and makes you feel somewhat accomplished when the bottles empty.
  3. body wipes, or extra quick rinse offs in the shower are super helpful if you get to the weird sour sweat smell since smelling like something other than yourself is kind of creepy. It sort of smelled less like me and more like someone was ill. Which thinking about it could be the remains of a sinus infection finally being purged. I might have maligned my Friday Night Martini unnecessarily.

Oh sweet olive dotted gin and vermouth concoction can you ever forgive me?

So those were the lessons I picked up after my first week of the thirty day water challenge. My belly no longer feels over stretched with the load of water I am forcing into it and I feel like the toxins have been washed from my system as I no longer stink.

I can’t wait to see what happens in week two. whatever it is, I’ll keep you posted.

Water, Baby

Starting the 30 day water challenge. Will consuming the recommended amount of water each day affect my weight loss?

Everyone knows that water is good for you.  Everyone suspects that they don’t drink enough.  As I’ve started dieting I realized that water was a big element in my daily regime.  Not only does it replace fluids I sweat out when working out but it keeps me from drinking more caloric beverages and thus undoing my calorie burning workout. I actually wrote one of my Weight loss Regime survival tips about it a while back. While you can read the tip HERE, I’ll break down the basic concept.  

In order to encourage myself to drink more water,  I refill a smaller glass more often so that it only looks like I am requiring myself to drink a little bit. Yes, it is tricksy and there is a bit of mockery involved in getting myself to finish the small glass.

But am I really drinking as much water as I should? And why is it important?

So I decided to look into it.

First of all why is water important?

Well it hydrates the skin from the inside, backing up your moisturizer’s effects to promote healthier skin. It flushes toxins out of your system and it acts as an internal transportation system for the nutrients making it easier for them to get where they need to go.  According to various sites (and my doctor) keeping hydrated is a good way to help promote a healthy weight loss.

And I am all about a healthy weight loss.

But how much is enough?

Nearly every site I’ve checked and everyone with any degree of authority I’ve consulted, suggested the eight by eight rule which is eight, eight ounce glasses of water per day. Several advocated ten eight ounce glasses instead of eight if you are trying to lose weight and doing a lot of exercise.

How much am I currently consuming in a day?

The truth is, I don’t know. I drink water and refill my glass when it is empty, but I tend to lose track.  So I decided to set up a system.  Remember that small glass I told you about?  The one I use to convince myself that it is only a little water I need to drink? Well if I fill it to the bottom of the blue rim then it holds exactly eight ounces. It is literally one cup.

My refillable 8 ounce glass. (and yes my mouse pad is upside down.)

The problem is, I can’t remember how many times I refilled it.

So I decided to see how well I fared drinking the recommended amount. If I could drink it all with no problems then i was golden. If not then I wasn’t.

Enter my three current favorite water bottles. The first is the soda stream bottle.  I fill it to the line and then carbonate it in the machine.  Sometimes I add a little lemon or lime juice to flavor it when I need something beyond plain water. I then dispense it from the bottle into my glass. 

Easy Peasy.

In addition to using the small glass, I find that the carbonation helps me drink more water as well. I tend to use it to fill up the other bottles so that all my water bottles have carbonated water. 

The glass bottle with the gray banding is a SubZero water bottle. I especially like using this one on the treadmill as the cork like cap is easily removed and set aside so I don’t have to think about it when I reach for the water.  It is just open and there. The gray striping is rubberized so it doesn’t slip and I can peel it off and put the water bottle in the sterilized setting of my dishwasher without any sort of issues.  The bottle is actually several years old and still looks great and has never acquired any of the off smells that older water bottles get because of the glass.

The purple metal water bottle is from Contigo.  It is insulated and I find that when I put carbonated water in it, the insulation keeps it cold and refreshing despite the temperatures.  When I work outside, this is my constant companion.  Also because it is metal, I don’t worry about it breaking as much. I’ve replaced it several times in the past because the plastic interior tends to get old and give and off flavor to the water. 

Also there was an incident with the shovel last year in which I lost track of the bottle and it rolled into the hole I was digging. With the carbonation the water shot out like a fountain when the side was pierced and I had to get a replacement. 

I nearly had a heart attack thinking it was a water line.

It provided much amusement for the neighbors, though.

The Soda Stream bottle holds three and a half cups of water.  The subzero holds two and a half and the Contigo holds exactly three. That means my three bottles hold nine glasses of water in total. So since some recommend eight and others ten, I decided for convenience sake to split the difference and stick with nine glasses of water consumed as a goal.

I started with the Sub Zero bottle and was pleased at how quickly I emptied it.  I don’t know if it is because it is tall and thin or because the clear glass let me see the water level drop, but it was easy to consume.  I expect it was because it was the first bottle I attempted to take down.

I went for the Contigo next. While I love the bottle for working in the garden, when my shovel doesn’t puncture it, the attached cap is somewhat cumbersome at the desk and while I appreciated the cool bubbly water, I think I drank it faster because I wanted to get it out of the way. The attributes that made me purchase it in the first place, and use it routinely, weren’t helpful here.    

But it did hold three cups of water and I did drink them.

This just left my regular Soda Stream bottle to get through. Despite only being a half a cup more, it took a lot longer to empty. Because by now I was sort of sloshing. But in the end, I triumphed and made it to the bottom of the bottle.

Given that it was an effort, a bigger effort than I thought it would be actually, I don’t think that I actually drink enough water in the day to meet the recommended dosage.

And while I did prove I could drink all nine glasses, one day of consuming nine glasses of water, doesn’t really say much.  I can do it sure, but there is no way to see the effect.  So I am going to do a thirty day challenge with this.  Tomorrow morning is my Weekly Weigh in and I will add my basic measurements to that post to serve as the starting point of record. 

At this point in my diet I have figured out how my body works with my daily routine so I’ll be taking notes along the way to see what changes when I keep track of the water and consume the appropriate amount each day.

Will this much water do what everyone believes it will do?

Will it make any difference at all in my efforts to lose weight?

Who knows, but I’ll be keeping a water diary and checking in weekly during my thirty day trial, so stay tuned.

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