I have a water problem: I do not drink enough.
Every now and then, I remember that I do not drink enough water, and I make a concerted effort to drink more. My resolution to hydrate adequately usually lasts around 18 minutes, or however long it takes me to drink a pint. I will drink some water, feel rather smug about it, and promptly go back to not consuming much more than the odd cup of tea.
I do not drink enough water because I don’t like it. If water tasted like tea I’d be the most hydrated person on earth. If water was sweet I would drink gallons of it, but it is not, and I try not to drink artificially sweetened things because I wind up addicted to them. Water is boring, it has no enticing smell like coffee does, it has no fun effects like alcohol does, it is not soothing like tea is. It’s just water, and I do not want to drink it.
Well, silly me eh? Because water may be boring and tasteless but it just so happens to be an essential component to life. Like it or not, I have to drink it. Quite frankly, not drinking enough water is not working out for me too well.
I wake up in the middle of the night thirsty. I will get out of bed and down a pint of water then go back to sleep. When I was suffering from anorexia, a similar thing would occur: except with food. I would wake up in the middle of the night and binge eat. It was as if my body would override my brain in my sleep and then wake me up and force me to eat. Nowadays I eat a lot, so I never get hungry at night, but I do get the thirsty-override on a very regular basis.
Like those nighttime food binges, when I wake up and drink water at night there is something unsettlingly desperate about it. I get out of bed and guzzle! I have been known to stick my head under the tap if there is no glass to hand in the upstairs bathroom. I am so used to waking in the night and needing to drink that I facilitate it by taking a pint of water upstairs with me when I go to bed and putting it out all ready.
The only other times when I feel thirsty are times when I am exercising and whenever I begin to eat. Usually when I take a bite of food I get a rush of thirst; it is as if my stomach is saying: “hold on a minute you cannot possibly expect me to digest when there is no water in here!”.
Eighty percent of the time, when sit down to eat I have to get right back up again and fetch a glass of water. That has got to be telling me that something is not right! I live at high altitude, I am physically active, and the climate is dry. I am also a born and bred brit whose body is used to sea level and moisture (rain). It is time to do something about this!
There is this myth that a person needs to drink eight pints a day. I know it is a myth, but I am going to do it anyway, and I am going to do it for eight weeks. You see, I have tried and failed many times at just drinking more; It obviously is not working for me. I need something concrete to start with here.
Now, one can drink too much water. One can actually die from over-hydrating (condition called hyponatremia ) and I know a person who almost did. However, I am confident that eight pints over the course of a day will not kill me. So even if eight pints a day is a complete myth, the worst that can happen is that I will be very hydrated for a while. If you factor in the fact that I have been dehydrated for most of my life, I think this is a risk worth taking.
- Will I finally stop waking in the night thirsty?
- God I hope so.
- Will I have to pee the whole time?
- I bloody well hope not. I heard a wives tale that when the body gets used to a frequent supply of water one actually has to pee less. That would be fantastic!
- Will the dark circles under my eyes disappear?
- This would be nice.
- Will I actually start to like water?
- Will I feel bloated?
- I feel bloated just thinking about it.
- Will I get bored of this after two days and give up?
- I usually get bored after 200ml.
I am genuinely interested to see what the outcome will be here, because I do not think I could recognize what it is to be hydrated if it hit me in the face. Speaking of which, the face is a great place to start; I took a picture today, and I will compare it to my eight week shot when (if) I get there.
Annoyingly, there is a difference between the British pint and the American pint. One would think that the whole point in creating the pint as a measure would be consistency; apparently not. American pints are 16 fluid ounces (473ml) whereas the British pint is 20 fluid ounces (568ml). This discrepancy is as result of the British Weights and Measures Act which standardised various liquid measures throughout the British Empire in 1824. America got left behind, and continued to use the old measurement.
So, I am intending on drinking eight British pints (4544ml) a day. Tea and alcohol do not count; I can drink them but they are considered extra. I am also going to make a tally of the number of times I pee a day, and see how that is affected.
Wish me luck; I need it!
P.s. There is a theory that the word pint comes from the word paint as the measure line would have been painted on whatever was being used to contain the liquid.