I’m really horrible at hydrating.
I’d been trying to be better over the last few months, but I did find myself falling back on diet sodas and coffee at least once or twice a day, but drinking water with most meals and during WODs. To me, this was enough. Especially compared to what I used to do:
What DK says: Aeeeiiii! I get side stitches when I run!
What DK means: I hate running! And my side hurts when I do it!
Coach: Are you staying hydrated?
What DK says: Well, yeah! I drink a lot of water!
What DK means: I drink some water, but I like chocolate-flavored Zico coconut water. Don’t they market it as super-hydrating? I should be soooo hydrated right now!
But…last week, as we already know, I found out I was once again plateauing. I’m basically willing to try anything at this point to get out of it. And I can’t remember how, exactly, I got on the subject, but Viv was forceful enough in her recommendation for me to drink more water that I actually took her up on the challenge.
She said that when athletes are trying to lose weight (I am) and are training hard (I am) and have their nutrition dialed in (I do) and aren’t seeing anything at the scale (I’m not), then most of the time, if they just start to drink the proper amount of water, they start seeing some motion.
Now, I’d been told before that in order to find out the proper amount of water I needed to drink for hydration, I was to take my weight in pounds, divide it in half, and then that number was how many ounces of water I should drink.
I asked Viv how much water I should drink, and I was expecting that to be her response. But it wasn’t:
Viv: At least a gallon a day.
What DK said: That’s a lot of water.
What DK really meant: HOLY F&*KING CHRIST THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!
However, she was extremely convincing in her argument that it would help my plateau in addition to basically just make my body function properly—like a well-oiled machine.
She had me so persuaded that on the way home that night, I stopped at the store and bought my first gallon jug of water to try to destroy the next day.
Gallon Day 1
I got home and stuck the gallon in the fridge. Totally freaked out, I thought that if I had to drink it, it might as well be cold.
The morning of: 8:30 a.m.
I normally drink water with breakfast now, so this wasn’t much of a change, but I did notice that I intentionally drank more water in the morning, because the entire gallon was pretty intimidating, and I might as well get as much out of the way as possible, right? I felt like an actual legit Crossfitter carrying my gallon jug into the gym with me. WHAT UP!
At Crossfit, I had to pee as soon as I got to the gym, and then I had to leave during strength to pee again. It was lame.
Lunch time: 12:30 p.m.
That day, I happened to be looking at a pretty heinous work deadline, so I decided to camp out at the coffee shop around the corner from my apartment. The problem with this was two-fold, though: First, if you go camp out at a coffee shop, you are expected to purchase something. This particular place doesn’t sell fruit or salads, but instead bagels and cookies and muffins, so I needed to get coffee. Which meant balancing drinking coffee with drinking water. The second problem was that with all this liquid, I was going to have to pee every 10 minutes. Which I pretty much did. My solution? Sit right next to the bathroom. Which I did, also.
Late afternoon: 4:30 p.m.
That afternoon I realized that not only does drinking a gallon of water make me have to pee all the time, but that drinking a full gallon gave me a lot of anxiety. Like, I thought that if I didn’t force myself to drink it ALL before 5 p.m., that I wouldn’t be able to finish it at all. So I made sure to drink it ALL so I could move on. Which I did.
Observations from week one of a gallon
So, that was day one. And surprisingly, I have kept it up for an entire week. I don’t expect this to be a magic pill that makes me lose weight overnight, so I can’t tell yet if this has broken my plateau, but I can say a few things that I’ve noticed over the first seven days of my hydration:
- When you have a goal of drinking a gallon of water each day, it’s a lot harder to drink other things. Each morning, I wake up and I KNOW that by the end of the day, that jug needs to be GONE. If you’ve got that looming over you, you’re a lot less likely to drink soda or coffee or whatever other non-water beverage you like because that just means that you’ll have to drink more water later. I’ve begun to strategize—drink all or the majority of the water by early in the afternoon, so maybe I can drink something else later. That being said, one day this last week, I was away the entire day in a place where I didn’t think I would have unlimited access to a toilet, and I did stop for coffee. I found myself chugging 12 cups of water between 7:30 and 9 p.m. as a result.
- Peeing is just a fact of life. I thought that this was going to be absolutely unbearable. I have a bad habit of having to pee all the time anyway, and I did try to drink about 10 or 11 cups of water right before the Strongman competition, and swore up and down that I would NEVER do that again, because all I was doing was leaving to pee all day. In short, it was a pain in the ass! I’m not going to lie—it has been annoying and inconvenient to have to pee before I leave for a WOD, pee when I get to the gym, and then pee again before we start the metcon. But other than that, it’s been completely tolerable. Nobody yells at me if I have to get up three times to pee during class, which is nice. And as long as I go before I go and know where every bathroom is, I seem to be doing okay. I’m also kind of amused when you get to a point where your pee is completely clear. Total TMI, I know, but at night, I totally stopped flushing my toilet because I was going so often, and played a game with myself to see if I could turn all the blue water clear. And I got pretty damn close a few times, hahahahaa!
- Water really is a good tool for hunger management. I had been complaining for some time that I always felt hungry. That I would use up all my points and still feel totally famished. Even when I focused on Power Foods, I would just feel hungry all the time. I thought that I was drinking enough water, so I thought that this was just the way I was. And it sucked that my post-WOD protein shakes didn’t do more for my appetite. However, I noticed almost immediately that when I started drinking an entire gallon of water, I was very much less hungry. I imagine that this is the only way that IFing is comfortable. Because I know NOW that it IS possible to be really FULL on water. Snacking doesn’t happen as often, and when it does, it’s not nearly as much as it used to. For example, last Sunday before I began the gallon of water project, I had my normal breakfast (gluten-free hot cereal with berries), went to kettlebells, grabbed a venti iced coffee, and then went to study. Between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. when I left, I ate a skyr yogurt (tons of protein), 2 ounces turkey jerky (tons of protein), pea pods, carrots, a fruit cup, and popcorn. And I was STARVING when I left. And by that time, I had used most of my points. This last Sunday, I had my normal breakfast, followed by kettlebells. Then I skipped the coffee, went to study, had a few pea pods and some popcorn, and by the time 5:30 rolled around and we went for dinner, I wasn’t even feeling hunger pangs. Now, I’m not suggesting that drinking water should be used as a way to intentionally NOT EAT, but I am saying that it’s making me eat smarter and mindlessly snack less. Which, for me, is very good.
- Sweat happens. Anyone who’s seen me WOD already knows that I sweat like a freaking madwoman. So it was a little jarring last week to see that I was sweating WAY more than usual. To the point where Dona saw me one day and actually asked me if I had just showered. Egads! Small price to pay for hydration, I guess.
- Drinking more water has made me more conscious of other beverages I consume. Shortly before I took on the gallon challenge, I had broken down and purchased a 12-pack of my favorite Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi. It’s a total guilty pleasure, and I know it’ll kill me. I know I need to kick the habit, and drinking the gallon has helped me work on this. If I finish my gallon before dinner, I’ll have some San Pellegrino with my meal as a treat for finishing the gallon. What I like about this is that I get the bubbly sensation of soda, but feel good about drinking it because I can continue to hydrate. It IS water, after all. Also worth noting, I’ve always hated mineral water, but I guess I’ve tried it enough where I finally got used to it. And now we’re friends.
- Life is pretty okay. What I mean to say is, I’m crying more. No, okay, not sad tears. But, uh, when I was living back in Portland, my friends would make bets on how fast they could make me cry from laughing. It doesn’t happen too often anymore because, let’s face it, I don’t laugh quite as hard anymore. But you best believe when my friend Lauren sent me this silly video:
and I watched it, and then watched my friend Jim watch it, there were tears coming down this face. And spilling onto my shirt and stuff. It was kind of funny. And kind of awkward. Like the video. But whatever!
Anyway, I haven’t yet discovered if drinking this much water will kick me out of this plateau or if it will make me feel better running, because it’s a little too soon to tell. However, I think that these observations are reasons enough to keep on doing it. So I guess I will. Stay tuned for part two next week!