Monday, March 4, 2013

Drink Water

drink water

The Cue

I think the salient cues for this habit are time and emotional state:

  • time: meal time
  • emotional state: thirsty
...insofar as you "feel" thirsty, anyway. Oh what is language for, if not to be stretched.

The Routine

When you fix yourself your breakfast or lunch or dinner or snack plate, you also get yourself—or if you're in a restaurant, you order—a glass of water. Also acceptable, a glass of unsweetened iced tea or a cup of hot tea without milk or sugar. Hot or iced black coffee also okay if you don't overdo, let's say once a day. Fruit juice counts as food. I also count unsweetened milk drinks—e.g., coffee with milk—as food. Coke and all sugary drinks, and also all alcoholic drinks, all cheats, less than once a week, so maybe twice a month or ideally once a month.

Okay so, somebody wants to know what it means that something counts as food. Does it not count as drink—no, it does. Koalas get their moisture from eucalyptus leaves, after all. Water that's in anything that has water counts as water, of course. Obviously though, anything that has more than water doesn't count just as water. So for example if I need a fruit serving for breakfast, I may have a glass of orange juice and then may not have water if the juice quenches my thirst, or I may have not have water if I'm eating watermelon that quenches my thirst. If I have a full plate and I'm thirsty, then I have water. Simple?

Simple enough, but this is one of those easy things that seems hard. And a thing that seems hard is, for all intents and purposes, hard. All I can tell you is that it's like a switch that you flip in your head and then it's not so hard, and maybe also I can tell you that how you flip the switch is in a situation where you would normally crack open a can of soda to pour yourself a glass of water instead. Or where you would normally order a Coke to say, "Do you have unsweetened iced tea?" and take it from there. A habit is simply something that you do, once, and then over and over. I just told you the something that you do, that's all figured out for you, so that leaves 2) once, and if that's hard for you, it's up to you to figure what that's about, and if you get past once and 3) over and over is hard for you, then you figure that out.

A thing that I deeply believe is that language is a fragment, which is a very groovy thing to bring up in the middle of a blog post, but a blog post, geez if anything, is a fragment, and a blog post about diet or fitness is even more of a fragment. A screen and a half's worth of information necessarily comes from a select perspective and excludes a lot, it is not universally applicable. So for example, this post comes from the perspective of a person who doesn't drink water or drinks sugary sodas instead of water; this person needs to drink some water for the love of god and if you haven't figured it out, this person used to be me and now I do drink water and "more water" isn't necessarily going to be my mantra going forward. Don't take anything that I write as a whole! The most that I can do for you from this blog is write you a starting point and then it's up to you to figure things out. Or you know, you can hire me as a trainer to help you figure things out; but you should know before you buy that I'm annoying like Gandalf and it's still up to you.

The Reward

You don't need me to tell you the benefits of hydration, do you? You know that you're mostly water, so you're not quite yourself if you're dehydrated. Every system that is you—cardiorespiratory, neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, hormonal, your feelings, your thoughts—runs on water, and runs better when you are properly hydrated. Not to mention when you're not overfed with sugar or alcohol, but that is a discussion for later. I really do think that at the heart of every habit, the cue is the routine is the reward. I especially think in this case that the reward is the cue in that you relearn what thirsty feels like, which means that you also relearn what quenching your thirst feels like, and being that you are water, is for all intents and purposes bringing yourself back to life.

Status: ACTIVE