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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Water, water everywhere

Confession time again, my girlfriends…. I am not a big drinker. Yes, I know you’ve heard this from me before. I have previously waxed on about my “little liver that could”, or rather doesn’t and namely how at any given function you only need to give me one cocktail to get the party going. This will not be THAT blog. What I mean is that I am not a big drinker of (wait for it) WATER.

Make no mistake- I’m a big fan of water. Salt, fresh, distilled, all of it. I love to swim in it and bathe in it. I rely on it twice a week to wash my hair and do my laundry. I brush my teeth twice a day and take pride in the fact that I am relatively clean. But as for drinking it on a regular basis? I just can’t be bothered.

Take last night for example. We were out for dinner to one of my favourite little places in Vancouver. The rime comes for us to order beverages and my beloved politely tells the waitress that he is “Fine with just water.”

I am never fine with just water. Sure it is good for you and yes 60% of our bodies are made of it- but really? Must I drink so much of it? The only time I am “fine with just water.” Is when I am hiking up some mountain and worried that there won’t be enough water.

In fact truth be told, I climbed Kilimanjaro with two boxes of Crystal Light in my pack ready at any moment to turn my water bottle into “pink lemonade” or “Peach berry explosion”.

Make no mistake- as a hard-core fan of healthy living I try NEVER to drink my calories. No juice and no sugar drink for me. Yes, I sometimes indulge in a diet soda (insert shame here).

In fact in an effort to wean myself off of the diet pop I took to drinking Pellegrino… by the bottle. This of course was some years ago and in response to the fact that I could easily consume 2 litres of diet Pepsi in a sitting. I know, not good.

It began innocently enough. I was 7 years old and a chubby kid. My mother let us drink as much diet pop as we could. Sorry mother- I must again blame you for my shortcomings, but hey, what are parents for?

You see in my house growing up we had bottles of diet pop in the fridge and yes, we as a family all drank out to the same bottle- back wash and all. Pretty gross that we would just open the fridge from time to time and take a swig from the family pop bottle, put the cap back on the bottle and return it to its place in the fridge door. We would then close the fridge and move on with our lives.

I realize this behaviour is pretty twisted, but it was the 70’s after all and cultural norms were pretty wacked. That, and my family although awesome was pretty weird. It is safe to say, that in addition to the “pop swigging”; I have some other vestigial behaviours from childhood that are still present today. These remnants of my upbringing are pretty odd under any circumstances but I just can’t shake them.

As for the “2 litre a day- diet pop budget”? Fortunately this childhood madness has long since stopped and I look forward to the upcoming cancer diagnosis that will come as a payment for my years of aspartame and saccharine abuse while standing in front of an open refrigerator.

Back to the water issue. Could it be that I am not a big water drinker because as a kid I had a bigger taste for diet pop?

Make no mistake this water deficit could come to bite me in the ass. I’m currently training for the New York Marathon (cat out of bag- pray for me girlfriends) and I worry that I should be drinking more.

According to the American Board of Nutrition and their recommendations published in 2009, the average intake (AI) of water recommended for men is 3.5 litres per day and 2.5 litres per day for women. This is total fluids and not just water. So yes, coffee does factor into this equation (phew).

Active men and women should also increase their water consumption to account for losses during exercise.

As for water aiding in weight loss?? Not so much….According to a study published in 2008 in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association water consumption only helps with weight loss in older adults (over age 65). The study randomized people to two groups of dieters. Both groups were counseled on healthy eating and exercise and were followed for their weight loss. One group however was asked to drink two cups of water 30 minutes before breakfast while the other group was told to leave well enough alone.

The group who drank the water ate 75 less calories on average than the non-water drinking group. However as far as weight loss goes- only people in the over 65 years of age group lost an extra 5 pounds in the water drinking group. This did not hold true for other age groups.

Some data out of Germany suggests that this effect may be because as we age our gastric emptying slows down and that consuming water before a meal may have a larger effect on those with already delayed gastric emptying. Further data remains to be seen….

So, ever neurotic, yesterday as an exercise, I calculated my fluid intake for sport….
2 large coffees with a splash of soy milk (400 cc each)
1 large water bottle of water (750cc)
3 cups of chrysanthemum tea (750cc)
2 glasses of water (with dinner- yah, I caved) (600cc)
A Ginger margarita (it was really small and I don’t have to justify my life choices to you my girlfriends, do I?)

My grand total is just over 2.5 litres and I had an hour of weight training, an hour bike ride and a 30-minute run. I am facing the realization as I write this that I am not drinking enough water.

In fact I am now pausing from the creative process to flag down the waiter at the coffee shop I am in to ask for a glass of water.

Make no mistake- it's not for the weight loss but for the fact that I'm a little low in the tank and my kidneys could use a little watering....

Excuse me dear girlfriends while I drink up and wash these new neuroses down.

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