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The weight of water

As you’re probably aware, most health experts recommend we humans consume eight cups/64 ounces of water a day. There’s some debate amongst the aforementioned experts as to whether other beverages and food should also count in our quest for 64 ounces. But I don’t think anyone – expert or otherwise — would argue that drinking approximately six cans of soda and zero sips of water on a daily basis constitutes a healthy relationship with liquids.

Anyway, although I’ve been aware of the eight-cup rule for decades, I ignored it for most of my life. There were times, however, when I vowed to drink more water. But even as I did so, I felt like I was torturing myself. When I expressed my opinion that water was boring, folks would recommend I try flavored water to make it more interesting. Since that sounded, to me, like extremely weak Kool-Aid, I decided to pass.

But a few years ago I became serious about losing weight and, thus, had to make some hard decisions. From the way I saw it, planning meals and snacks was like planning a budget. When I looked over my caloric budget, I realized I needed to replace most of my beverages with water. And that’s what I did. Sure, I still drink a soda every now and then, but usually as a treat when I’ve been good or when I feel bad.

My weight loss program has been a success in large part because of my reliance on water. In addition to serving as an alternative to calorie-laden beverages, it also fools me into thinking I’m full. The more water I drank, the more I wanted. Indeed, I haven’t found water boring in years.

To help me on my water-drinking, weigh-losing quest, my sister gave me one of those stainless steel tumblers. Thinking the tumbler held 20 ounces, I pledged to fill it with water three and a half times per day so I could drink 70 ounces of water. And that’s what I did.

Then one day during a meeting, I noticed that a co-worker was drinking from a tumbler that looked like mine. The only difference was that hers featured a band proclaiming that it held 20 ounces.

I looked back and forth from her tumbler to mine several times before finally conceding that hers would fit into mine.

As it turns out, my tumbler holds 30 ounces, which means I’ve been consuming 105 ounces – or more than 13 cups – of water a day. And that doesn’t even count the water I usually drink for lunch.

Now that I know the truth, I have an explanation for all those trips to the bathroom and for all those days when I said to myself, “Self, I can’t drink one more sip of water.”

Of course, this revelation doesn’t mean I plan to scale back to eight cups a day. It just means I won’t chastise myself on those days I fall a little short of filling my tumbler three and a half times.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.

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