When it comes to the elements, they all have great power. Like water for example. Although essential to sustain life, in excess it can also be responsible for great destruction and even death. In all aspects of life, as with the elements, maintain a healthy balance is key.
Luckily, when it comes to water, excess is rarely the problem. In fact, the far bigger problem for most of us is that even though it is available in abundance, we do not drink enough.
I’ll be truthful, there was a time early in my life, that I didn’t consume nearly enough of it. I lived on Hawaiian Punch, Mountain Dew, All Sport and milk. My parents, especially my dad – the physical education teacher and coach – tried to persuade me to drink more H2O, but I was resistant. It just didn’t taste good. How could water compare to the other sugary beverages I choose to consume? It couldn’t, so I skipped water altogether, opting instead to quench my thirst with other, less nutritious choices. And I didn’t notice it hindering me, so I chose not to make the change.
That is until I entered college. While I was an avid athlete and sports enthusiast in high school, I wasn’t continuing sports in college, and I had seen the effects of college-life on others. Since I hoped to maintain my weight and fitness level, I decided to take up jogging and continue weight training. And the summer after I graduated, my dad told me he would help me train for a local 5K race. I was somewhat sceptical; I had always been a sprinter, but I figured jogging was an effective way to stay fit and burn calories (anyone who knows me well knows there isn’t any way I can give up my chocolate addiction).
Anyway, my dad provided me with a training plan that I began following. And I was so blessed that he would sometimes run alongside me, pushing me and helping me with the training regimen. My dad and I are tight, and growing up, he rarely had to discipline me. But he was my coach, and we did butt heads a few times in that regard.
So I vividly recall the day that in preparation for the race, he decided to help me run intervals at my grandma’s house. My grandma lives on a country road. It’s gravel and it’s hilly. It was a hot summer day, and the run started off normally.
Interval training involves going shorter distances and faster speeds, then taking brief periods of time off and then completing another fast-paced distance. We were about midway through the workout, when I got a terrible side cramp. These had been quite common during my training, and when I began complaining my dad had the audacity to tell me the side cramp was my own fault for not drinking water and staying hydrated. I was outraged. There was no way my lack of water contributed to the side cramp. Then my dad told me that we could just quit and go home if I couldn’t handle it.
This man had coached me for years, and he knew very well, that I am stubborn and competitive, almost to a fault. His words only spurred me to continue despite the side cramp. But in protest, I refused to talk to him for the remainder of the run. That would teach him.
When that treacherous run was over, I felt pretty terrible both physically and mentally. There was a part of me that knew my dad was probably right. I was too old to continue filling my body with solely unhealthy liquids. It was probably time to make a change, so I made a decision that day. My stubborn, competitive nature has some definite downsides, but from a positive standpoint, when I decide to do something, I stick with it. So I decided to replace my pop consumption with water.
The thought made me cringe. Water tasted kind of gross. The first week was tough and I continued to drink juice and milk in conjunction with the water. I noticed that as hard as it was to admit, I was getting fewer side cramps. And the longer I went without pop, the less I craved it.
Water began tasting better and better, to the point that I would crave it. Eventually I gave up juice as well, and began drinking just water and milk.
And I began to make some noticeable differences in the way that I felt. Drinking water made me feel less thirsty. Before I began drinking water, I felt thirsty all the time. It seems crazy, but other beverages just couldn’t satisfy the thirst I felt. But when I drank water, I would eventually feel fulfilled. Another unexpected consequence that I found was that I wasn’t as hungry. Sometimes I was feeding my body food, when what it really craved was water. Water seemed to fill my stomach, making me less apt to fill it with food. And like my dad had predicted, I stopped getting side cramps. I began running faster, and I felt better when I was finished jogging, lifting weights, and stretching. My skin looked better, I lost weight without trying, and I felt better in general.
For Mother’s Day, my youngest filled out an “All About Mom” sheet. Of course, he filled in water for my favourite drink. It’s funny because my kids now know me as a water drinker. I continue to make water and milk my liquids of choice. I don’t miss pop, and when I do take a quick swig of pop from one of my kid’s drinks, I inevitably get the hiccups. I take that as a sign to deter me from reverting to my old ways.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to feeling good; being at your best requires a multi-faceted approach and a lot of determination, especially at first. But if there is one thing that will kick start your transformation, then it is drinking plenty of water.
If you’re ready to make lifestyle changes including exercise and diet, feel free to contact me.
This article was originally published here in the Astonishing Tales digital magazine on 29/06/2020.