A New Water Challenge

FotoliaComp_85414195_yrXsrJQ9eHDyocr09yd2VC6T26MNyelm_NW40In the past, I have challenged myself to realize the importance of water. I made efforts to be as conservative with my water usage to understand more of what it is like to not have access to it when I needed it. This challenge is a bit different.

I am participating in Lent, a Catholic tradition of sacrificing something that is enjoyed on a regular basis to emulate the struggle Jesus went through as he was in the desert. While I’m not Catholic, I do see the benefit of giving up or adding something to my routine for that time period. I have been doing this for years and I usually come out better for it. From giving up fast food, red meat, soda, going out to eat, to adding daily meditation, I try to pinpoint an area of my life that could use change and try to stick to it through the duration of Lent.

Last year, I gave up all beverages save water in an effort to increase my water intake. For some reason, I just can’t drink water by itself. I have never enjoyed it. The first thing people remark upon hearing this bizarre stance is, “Why? It has no taste!” False. Everything has a taste. Just because there’s nothing in it does not mean water is exempt from taste. I have a particular disdain for sink water. Then I’ll hear, “Water tastes the same.” Also false, clearly you’ve not had water from a creek accidentally or swallowed water while swimming. Getting water from different ways will have an impact on how it tastes when it hits your tongue.

Just like how I don’t like cheesecake, I wish I was one of those people who liked it or could at least tolerate it. Like cheesecake, it seems like almost everyone is OK with it but me. I recognize this is an issue for my health as well as embarrassing for my life. I am fortunate enough to live in a place where I would never have to drink water if I really didn’t want to. Soda is cheap, as is sugar, so I could allow my intake to be unhealthy forever and none would be the wiser. Unfortunately, I live in the real world and know how precious water is and the fact that I have easy access to it makes it almost shameful that I’m not more appreciative of this life enhancing substance. I must say, as a cancer, I do LOVE water. I love to swim, take long baths, have hot showers, wash my hands in feel good soap, use hot water to wash my face. My favorite type of place to visit is the beach so I can be in the ocean. I have a solid respect for water and the amazing things it does. I’d love to find ways to fund desalinization plants in Middle East and Africa so they could have better access to clean water. My love for water is deep, I just have a difficult time bringing myself to drink it.

So, as I was saying, my remedy last year was to drink ONLY water. The rule was I could put any flavor in it as long as it was only water I was drinking. That went pretty well and after Lent was over, I was drinking water regularly at the office. The problem was, as I discovered a few months back during my #1MonthNoMirrors Challenge, fake sugar was causing me to have a stomach ache and bloat. I am used to using all sorts of flavor in water, always having something to wake my water up a tad. When I realized this might not be helping as much as I thought, I sort of backed off water for a moment. Not all together but I needed to think about what I was putting in my body.

12695406_10153558973924401_1667092774_oIn an effort to get as natural as possible, I decided for Lent I’d go back to water only. Except this time, only natural flavors are to be used in my water sprucing. My version of natural flavor is fruit. To get a jump on water only, I started preparing 2 weeks before Ash Wednesday. I would drink only water while at work and started slow. I brought in an orange and Skinny Girl sweetener which uses Stevia. I had once used Truvia but did not like the taste of it when compared to Splenda. Still, I decided to try Skinny Girl. I think it’s just Stevia I don’t like the taste of because I did not love the water with orange and Skinny Girl. The next week I tried orange and cherries but the best combination was lemon and cherries. I was able to stop putting sweetener in the water and instead would pour some of the syrup from the cherries. When I got to last Wednesday, I was finally able to drink water without any additives save lemon!

I wasn’t sure that would ever happen but it did! Unfortunately, my first day of Lent left me quite dehydrated. Even though I found a flavor I liked, it wasn’t enough to get me to drink regularly and stay hydrated. That evening I went to the store and for the first time in a long time, I craved fruit. I haven’t bought fruit in a while because it kept going bad and I hate waste. So, I had decided I’d buy again when genuinely wanted it. Depriving myself of comfort beverages and cleaning my system out with all the water I had been trying to drink made me crave healthy things, which was nice.

The changes I’ve made recently to get to a healthier me are:

  1. Taking vitamins: inositol, D, B, and fish oil which is in addition to daily metformin
  2. Messaging problem areas
  3. Upping my daily steps
  4. Reducing sugar – my morning Slim Fast shake is now 1g of sugar as opposed to 18
  5. Adding fruit back into my daily diet

Those items plus only water for over a month are surely to make a difference. Aside from Slim Fast, I was drinking a lot of tea which has sugar in it as well. This comes at a good time because I had hit a plateau with my weight loss so the time to try new things was upon me. One of my favorite people is getting married in September and I have a weight loss goal I’d love to achieve by then. This is the first time I’ve taken a more natural approach to slimming down. The goal is to find ways to upgrade my routine so that I can get to a comfortable size and be able to maintain it. I’ve known plenty of yo-yos in my life and I really don’t want to be one of them. I would like to change my life in a manageable way so I can stay that way.

Got any tips or questions about my efforts thus far? Would love input!

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