Beginning with a Challenge

by Damon on July 1, 2012

So I have decided to begin with a set of challenges not only for myself but for anyone that is reading this and wishes to follow along. There will be a total of 12 challenges with one challenge building on the next. Each challenge will last for 30 days with the goal of the challenges being to slowly and steadily improve ones health over the course of a year. This does a few things, it makes life style changes much easier, gives me a small goal to work towards to stay motivated and makes the task at hand which is getting in the best shape of my life, not seem so huge. During these challenges I will keep notes on how I feel and the effects of the challenges on my health and life.

For those that wish to participate don’t get too excited, these challenges are not going to be extremely difficult. But they couldn’t be called challenges if they were too easy now could they. So if you’re ready to get started lets get to it!

And The First Challenge Is?

The first challenge is to drink 100 oz. of water everyday for thirty days. Now to most people this probably sounds like a lot and it is but most people are also chronically dehydrated. Meaning that they are always in a state of mild dehydration and because of this this first challenge is probably the most important of all the challenges I will post. The effects of adequate water in the diet can not be over stated. Simply put it is one of the easiest most important things you can do for your body and your health.

Why Water Is So Important?

Most people know that water makes up about 60 percent of our bodies and that it helps to flush out toxins from our system. But did you know that lack of water (dehydration) can lead to all kinds of medical problems that at first glance would seem totally unrelated to water consumption? Aches and pains, constipation, heartburn, arthritis, water retention and even migraines have all been show to improve with an increased amount of water in the diet. Just think about it, what is the first thing a doctor tells you when you are sick? Drink plenty of clear fluids! Hello, what’s the best clear fluid for your body? Water!

And for those of us that are looking to lose a few pounds or even several pounds, drinking plenty of water is that much more necessary. For one it fills you up making you less hungry through out the day and keep you full longer. Secondly, it actually helps you to lose body fat by allowing your kidney’s to function properly. Without enough water your kidneys get bogged down and pass some of their work over to the liver. This keeps the liver from doing one of it’s main purposes which is metabolizing stored fat for energy. This in turn makes it that much harder to lose those extra pounds.

Why 100oz.?

Well, you might not realize this but every time you sweat, go to the bathroom (#1 and #2) and even breath you are losing water. Basically all day everyday your body is releasing water that needs to be replaced and if you are not doing this you will become dehydrated. According to the Institute of Medicine an adequate intake of water per day is about 3 liters (about 101oz.) for men and 2.2 liters (about 74oz.) for women. Now others recommend that you drink roughly half your body’s weight in ounces of water per day. So if you way 150 pounds you should be drinking about 75oz. of water per day. But these numbers do not take into account any increased physical activity, hot and humid weather you might live or work in or any illness like fever, vomiting or diarrhea that you might have. All of which will increase the amount of water you will need to stay properly hydrated. In fact if you are very over weight you could possibly need much more than this. From what I have read the numbers differ from source to source but I safe guess is to add another 8 oz. for every 25 pounds you are over weight. So by the time you factor in all the different things that effect your water needs 100oz. doesn’t seem like such a big number any more.

Think You’re Already Getting Enough Fluids Each Day?

At this point you are probably thinking well, I drink different things all day long isn’t that the same? And the short answer is NO!  Lets use for example a typical day of many people as far as their beverages go. They get up in the morning and have half a pot of coffee over the course of the first few hours of the day. Followed by a move to their favorite soft drink, we can even make it diet. Then after work in the evening they may or may not switch to something like sweet tea or even an alcoholic beverage like beer or wine right up until bedtime. Now this person might come close to their necessary daily intake of liquids but its not as good as it might look. The reason for this is that caffeine and alcohol are diuretics meaning they increase the discharge of urine or in other words dehydrates you faster than normal. So everything mentioned for this example would not count towards your total intake or fluids for proper hydration. Not to mention all the sugar, calories and who knows what that are in some of these drinks and the health effects they have on the body. If you would like more information on the effects of water and the lack of on the body visit www.watercure.com. This site is full of all kinds of interesting info.

Now if you would like to do this challenge but would still like to have some of the other beverages you typically consume the best way to go about it is to drink your 100 oz. or water then have the other things your want. Just get that water down. Or you can do like me. I love coffee and I have about three cups each and every morning but I make sure I have around 20-30 oz. of water before I have my first cup. And I drink my coffee black so I’m not adding a bunch of sugar and calories. I do plan to eventually phase out coffee from my diet but I’m going to have to build up to that one. Maybe it will be one of the monthly challenges down the road (wink, wink).

Tips On Getting It All Down

I guess I should have probably mentioned earlier that I started the 100oz. challenge a few weeks before posting this article online. I thought it would be best so that I could give some helpful tips and have some idea of what I was talking about before asking others to join along. Anyways, here are some tips I have found other places online and some of my own. First I found this article (http://www.drsharif.com/whc/node/180) were the doctor who wrote it had some good recommendations on how to consume your daily water. Here is an excerpt of what he had to say.

Drink 1-2 large glasses (depending on your body size) immediately upon getting out of bed in the morning, get ready for the day (take a shower, put your clothes on), and finally eat breakfast. This way, by the time you are ready to eat breakfast, the water in your stomach has probably mostly worked its way out into your intestines. You don’t want to drink much water with your meals as too much water can dilute the digestive juices. Perhaps a few gulps with a meal is fine, but no more. After meals, wait for a good 45 minutes to an hour, or even more, before you start drinking a lot of water. Once your food has moved out of your stomach into your intestines, or at least mostly digested in your stomach, I feel it would be fine to start drinking a lot of water again. Drink a lot of water between meals, 45-60 minutes after meals all the way up to 10-15 minutes before meals. I’d recommend avoiding much water consumption in the evening after dinner since it will most likely make you get up in the middle of the night to urinate, disturbing your precious sleep.

I would have to say I follow this fairly close but not intentionally. I just try to drink a little all day long and it ends up working out like this. Also I have found that it is easier to keep track of how much water you have had if you buy yourself a huge cup with a lid. The more ounces it holds the better. I have one that holds twenty five ounces so I know I need to drink four of them a day to get my hundred ounces in. My wife who is also doing this challenge will sometimes take five 20 oz. bottles of water and use a sharpie to mark them 1-5 so she can keep track of her daily total. In the end just do what is easiest for you. It might take you a week or so to figure it all out but that is part of the fun. And if you can’t make it fun then your going to have a hard time. Good luck and please feel free to leave any questions or comments below. I would especially like to hear from those that have joined me with this challenge and what effects it is having on your health. Thanks for reading.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer July 11, 2012 at 2:59 am

What a great idea! I drink 50 – 80 ounces a day now (more on days when I try to walk/ run outside in the heat!) and it has made a huge difference in how I feel in general.

I carry my 20oz purple Tupperware bottle with me everywhere. It took a few weeks, but it’s such a habit now I don’t even think about it.

Side note – some of the water we need in a day comes from our food. Especially things like fruits and veggies! :-)

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Damon July 11, 2012 at 7:22 am

It’s funny how when you first start trying to drink 100 oz. that you think this is nuts. Then like you said it just becomes habit. I drink closer to 125 oz. a day sometimes more, its like the more I drink the thirstier I get. Thanks for commenting.

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Bonnie July 13, 2012 at 9:30 am

Karen mentioned your site to me the other day and your challenge…I have to tell you that out of the blue I got up yesterday and thought about it. I drink diet coke all day…not a water fan…so I got out four 16.9 bottles of water and put them on the counter. I drank one and never went back. So, today I got up and got one out and am still working on it! I know that sounds terrible…but the fact that I am even considering it two days in a row is my first baby step. I will let you know how it turns out in a week or so!

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Damon July 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

That is awesome! I think you will be amazed at the difference it will make if you can keep at it. I know most people have jobs where they can’t be running to the bathroom every 30 minutes but if you can just try to drink as much water as you can each day it all helps. Especially if you currently don’t drink any water. Good luck and yes please let me know how it turns out.

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