Physical Wellness Challenge 01: Hydrate

And so it begins…

July kicked off my 18-month journey to better physical health. I’ll be working on monthly challenges to create healthy habits that will lead to a healthy lifestyle. In the previous post, I went into more detail about my initial goals and health history to clarify why I’m taking this approach.

The first challenge was to hydrate and, in particular, to drink more water. As is common knowledge, the standard recommendation is to drink at least eight cups of water a day. I usually drink only two and at most four. My goal for this challenge was not to aim for eight cups a day because I think that would be unrealistic for me. Instead, my goal was to create a routine, a habit, that would challenge me to drink more consistently and work towards increasing my daily consumption over time.

I identified three main obstacles.

One, I just don’t like the taste of water. Yes, I even tried flavouring the water with slices of fruit, cucumbers, etc. I also tried adding a splash of juice; which was gross. I attempted lemon water, herbal teas and even tried different temperatures. All no.

Two, drinking water worsens my acid reflux so that became a deterrent.

And three, I’m not accustomed to consuming water so have trouble identifying my thirst and often mistake it for hunger. I don’t understand my struggle but I think it’s partly cultural. I grew up in the Caribbean and don’t recall seeing people walking around with water bottles or there being any concern about staying hydrated.

Here are three things I tried and how they worked out.

1. I changed my drinking ware.

Physical Wellness drinking ware

In the past, I’ve tried different water bottles: plastic, silicone, stainless steel, etc. but never liked the taste of them. I thought maybe glass would work, because it’s neutral in taste, so bought a glass bottle and glass straw. I didn’t like using them. I’m not sure why. The clinking noise bothered me and I didn’t like the mouth feel of the straw. I know.. I’m a bit weird.

What I found most helpful was actually a humble ceramic mug. Go figure. I can’t explain why, it just works for me.

2. I changed my water filter.

Santevia Alkaline Water Filter

I swapped out my Brita jug and filter for one by Santevia. It came highly recommended by a friend and I found it on Amazon. What’s great about it is that it not only filters the water to remove impurities, but also adds in minerals to neutralize the ph level.

I did not get acid reflux drinking this water. I kept it on the counter, instead of in the fridge, and the water was always slightly cooler than room temperature which I prefer. And it tastes great! I should also mention that the home we’re now living in uses a water softener so that could be a contributing factor.

3. I created a hydration routine.

So, my fight with water was now resolved. Next, I needed to drink with consistency. To do that I needed to create a routine.

One vital lesson I learned during this time was the importance of being diligent. That is, being conscientious to do those things that we know are good, especially during a time of training when we “don’t feel like it”.

So, I would start the day with a cup of water. Then have breakfast 30 minutes later. After eating, I would set a timer on my phone for an hour and drink another cup then. And so on throughout the rest of the day. I also made it a routine to drink a cup before a shower.

Here’s an example schedule that inspired this and goes into more detail:

And, the results…

In summary, the challenge itself went well. I drank on average four cups a day. My thirst has grown to match the routine so I no longer need to use the timers. During busy days, I did forget or was unprepared and so didn’t drink as much. But, I continue to practice this habit.

The impact on my digestion has been a reduction is acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion. If that’s all the benefit I can expect, then it was most definitely worthwhile.

I also lost six pounds this month. I’m not sure what role hydration played in this though, because it was also a very physically demanding time with our move. As for my blood sugar and cholesterol, I won’t know until I get another round of blood tests, hopefully in the next month or so.

I hope this is helpful, or at least an enjoyable read. Check out the video linked below to see a flip through of my physical wellness planner and how I documented July.

Joy & Peace, Sister!

For more on this Physical Wellness journey and other challenges, click here.

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