Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chug-A-Lug! Chug-A-Lug! A Tip to Up Your Water Intake

"I'm thirsty," was a common complaint of my childhood.

"Have some water," my mom would suggest.

"But I'm not thirsty for water," I would whine a little more.

"Then you're not very thirsty."

These conversations drove me crazy when I was younger. I wanted sweet tea. Or root beer. Or milk. Not water.

As an adult, I developed a horrible habit of drinking soda. My addictions changed over the years from Diet Coke with lime, to McDonald's Coke, to Diet Pepsi, to Diet Dr. Pepper, to DIRTY Diet Dr. Pepper. For you unenlightened  folks, a dirty soda drink has a flavored syrup added to it. A dirty Diet Dr. Pepper has coconut syrup added to the Diet Dr. Pepper for a tropical sensation that is a pure delight!

Over the years I have suffered with three-day headaches every time I've tried to give up my soda habit, only to return to my drink of choice weeks later, consuming way too much of the sweet-tasting liquid. This last winter, I decided to ease off of my Diet Dr. Pepper habit, and for now, anyway, diet soda has no appeal for me.

In the last few years, something changed in me. I crave water all of the time now. My mouth always feels parched, and I cannot get enough to drink. Last summer, my rheumatologist diagnosed my condition; I have SJOGREN'S SYNDROME. My body is so dry that even my joints don't have enough lubrication, all of my mucous membranes are extremely dry, and my mouth craves moisture. I have no problem meeting my daily water requirements now.

My last year of teaching, I lugged four liters of water to school every day. (No, my environmentalist friends, I didn't add to the landfill every day. I reused the bottles for months at a time.) These four liters were in addition to what I drank before and after school, and before bed. How in the world did I choke down that much water, you may wonder. I have a secret!

Chris Powell of Extreme Makeover fame, shared a tip with his followers on the Reshape the Nation website.  His recommendation was to make sure people drink half of their weight in ounces of water. (So if you weigh 150 pounds, you would drink 75 ounces of water per day.) Since I started doing his suggestion for water intake a couple of years ago, I have found it very easy to drink plenty of water. Powell suggests chugging a full eight ounces every time we drink.

When I drink water, I take eight large gulps. I don't sip it; I chug the whole thing in eight swallows. I measured it today, and that is an ounce per gulp. As soon as I wake up, I drink a cup of water. After breakfast, I have another cup of water. I keep water bottles in the fridge, and I have an insulated container (a Hydroflask) that my son gave me. I drink water all day long; before lunch, with lunch, and after lunch. I drink water in the afternoon, with dinner, and in the evening. I drink water before I go to bed.

Dylan, my oldest, has a large Hydroflask, and he gave me a smaller one, knowing that arthritis makes my wrists hurt. The lighter weight is easier for me to carry. When I leave home, I make sure I have my flask in my cup holder in my car.

When we go hiking, I fill my hydration pack with water before we go. The Camelpak is insulated, and if I add ice, I can enjoy chilled water all day long when we're hiking.

If you struggle to drink enough water, try the chugging method. It has made it so simple for me to make sure my water intake is sufficient. You may even find that you drink less of your other beverages. Water has become my drink of choice.


  1. Great idea. I struggle to get enough water and usually, my family takes my glass and finishes it for me. As a result, I'm chronically dehydrated.

    Chugging is what I do in the middle of the night when I realize I need fluids. Must give this a try.


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