The only thing left that I know about on this challenge is Water, and I don’t really even “know” about that.
This time around, one daily requirement is to drink a third of your body weight in ounces of water. During my first two challenges, this was a “Lifestyle” challenge — meaning it was a special thing you did just for a week or two — and it was half your weight in ounces. I literally prayed each day that I would lose substantial poundage quickly so I didn’t have to drink so much water.
One of the reasons it’s become a regular staple of the challenge is because everyone could quickly see the benefits of the water-drinking. In January it was our very first Lifestyle Challenge, it lasted two weeks, and at the end, everyone wrote in their reflections that they were going to continue the practice throughout the challenge, even though they would garner no more points for it.
I like water and it has always been my beverage of choice, but that much water was painful for me to drink at first. At 150 lbs I had to drink 75 oz of water. That may not sound like that much to you, but even as a regular water drinker, it was going right through me. I could not stray far from a bathroom and if I had to travel into the city, I strategized the hours preceding my trip to make sure I would have an empty bladder during that 45-60 minutes.
Then, after about eight days, things changed. I could hold the water more easily and didn’t panic so much about being out and away from a loo. Not surprisingly, my skin started to look better and I started having a lot more energy. I came up with a theory (although I can’t remember if I came up with it on my own or if my friend Amy Romano, fitness and nutrition guru extraordinaire, came up with it for me).
Imagine a houseplant that is withering because you haven’t watered it in weeks. You feel bad because the dirt is all dry and dusty and the plant itself is droopy and lifeless, so you get your watering can and give it a nice, big drink. What happens? The dirt is so dry, all the water runs straight to the bottom of the pot and out the drain holes.
That’s us. Most of us are dehydrated — very, very dehydrated. I didn’t think that was me because I thought I drank plenty of water every day. I was wrong.
Eventually, the plant will absorb the water, the soil will get moist and the leaves will perk up, but it takes a few days. When we start this water regimen, that’s what we are offering our dry, shriveled cells. Once they’re hydrated again, they start to work better. They’re able to receive the nutrients in our food, which they really weren’t receiving before. (Amy definitely told me that part.) So this combination of hydrating your cells and eating nutritious REAL FOOD creates this awesome Super You — a You that probably needs less sleep, can bound up stairs, can work out harder — all because your organs aren’t so starving for food and water that they can do their job with a fraction of the life-energy they required before. And all that extra life-energy goes to you!
As I said, Amy told me about our cells’ ability to process nutrients, but I may have made the rest of it up. It totally makes sense to me and has been borne out by my experience, but it may have no basis in science or fact. If that’s a sticking point for you, feel free to disregard all of this. But commit to the water-drinking with a vengeance nonetheless.
I used to think drinking water on a “diet plan” was about filling yourself up so you didn’t eat as much — a strategy that has never, not once, worked for me. Now I think it’s about making us big, lush, frond-laden houseplants, which is kind of a nice image, don’t you think?
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