By Dana Jean Costantino
Recently, I was reminded of the fact that I do not drink nearly as much water as I should. The subject was brought up by a good friend as we were taking a long walk, and again on a lovely day with my brother, sister-in–law, and nephew at the Bronx Zoo. My brother said, after being asked if I would like a bottle of water and my declining, “Dana doesn’t drink water.” It made me think, “I really don’t drink enough water.”
Most days go by, and I have had maybe a glass. Lately I’ve been taking a look at a lot of different aspects of my life, inside and out, from a health and wellness perspective. Over the years, water has always been a struggle for me. So many people seem to have such an easy time drinking 8-10 glasses of regular water a day. NOT ME!
We all have those friends that carry around a water bottle no matter where they go. It could be to the gym, on a walk, at a party, at a bar, while traveling on a train or plane. No matter what, they’ve got their water right beside them. Me? I’ve usually got my coffee, and in the evening I do enjoy a glass of red wine. But I understand that if we’re doing all the other things to keep ourselves healthy, whether it be taking care of our mental health, going to a yoga class, or taking those long walks, if we aren’t also including the water that is required we really are doing ourselves a disservice.
I realized that one of my biggest issues with water is that I just don’t enjoy still water that much. So I began a quest to discover ways in which to incorporate water into my life without feeling like it’s such a chore. Standard rules say that for every pound you weigh you should drink between 1/2 ounce and an ounce of water each day, so I was drinking many tens of ounces of water less than, technically, I should have been. (The key thing to remember here, though, is that everything isn’t an exact science, all bodies and minds are created differently.)
Maybe we can approach increasing water intake in baby steps rather than immediately going from one glass of water a day to eight glasses of water a day. In order to build up to eight glasses, I decided to create a water challenge. Each day, starting last week, I began increasing my water intake by four ounces more per day. However, after day two, I found myself struggling slightly. That’s when I decided that I was going to make water elixirs.
Then came the orange, the cucumber, the lemon, the lime—slicing these into a pitcher of water and letting it sit overnight, having a little bit more of a tasty water at my disposal. This definitely seems to be working; the water goes down easier. Although it has been said that carbonation bubbles aren’t good for you on a consistent basis, having club soda, seltzer, or Pellegrino here and there in your attempt to drink eight glasses of water a day isn’t the worst thing to do if that will help you maintain hydration.
As I proceeded with my water increase plan I began to realize that eight glasses a day is just too much for me. As I got closer to that amount I noticed that I was running back and forth to the bathroom way more frequently than normal. I thought, “OK, maybe this isn’t about living up to the water standard that’s set as a general rule.” (Similarly, for many of us the food pyramid doesn’t really work. We’re learning that it is slightly outdated.) Maybe now it was time for me to consider and understand what my body needed, and over the course of a week I realized that four glasses of water daily seemed to be the sweet spot. I could get four glasses down, especially if I added a little cucumber, orange, lemon, or lime. I even tried mint one day and that was great! For a fun summer vibe, slice up some watermelon, muddle it at the bottom of your glass, and then pour the water over it. It is absolutely delicious!
So, don’t be too hard on yourself. Acknowledge what you might need to work on, realize that water is important for the body, and find a healthy balance for you.
I’d love to hear about your joys and struggles with water. As readers of WestView News, do you really love water and drink it all the time? Do some of you find yourself not having a glass at all in a day? Send me an email and let me know what your tips and tricks are. What are your favorite ways to make water fun?
Cheers to you all for a great summer ahead. Keep Calm and Drink Some Water.
You can reach me at Instagram @citydoorways or firstname.lastname@example.org.