Are You Skipping the Most Underrated Life Hack?
Don’t do anything else before you do this
I have been reading personal development books for five years now. I have dreams about discovering a life-hack that others are not aware of — a life hack that turns me into a superhero. Sadly, I’ve never found one like that.
Even so, I’m always hungry for more. There seems to be an insatiable desire in me to learn about personal growth and then share it with others.
Phrases like ‘eat the frog’, ‘get into the flow’, ‘embrace boredom’ are part of my everyday life.
But while I was busy chasing these awesome concepts and techniques to be more productive, I overlooked the easiest way for me to:
Have more energy,
Maintain the balance of bodily fluids,
Clear up skin problems,
Have fewer headaches,
Shed a few pounds,
Help digestion and constipation,
Lighten under-eye circles,
Improve brain function,
And finally, be more productive and live a happier life.
I’m talking about the best beverage you can have — water.
That’s right. Good ‘old’ H20.
Simple Ideas Are Often Ignored
People often run after the latest nootropic and the best meditation app.
Sure, there’s a time for that. But only when you’ve implemented the basics of personal development and productivity like exercise, sleep, nutrition, and other basic forms of self-care.
I was like that. I failed to give water the importance that it deserves.
When you hear “drink enough water”, you think, “Yeah yeah that’s fine, tell me what’s next.” This attitude is what causes us to miss the simple ideas that if applied can lead to extraordinary results.
The best things in life are free and often simple.
There’s No Right Amount of Water for Everyone
Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is unfounded. It has no basis in science.
The amount of water you need to drink depends on a lot of factors. Some of them are:
How active you are
Your body size and type
Robert Roy takes a deep dive into pools of research to come up with a simple conclusion:
“Do what comes naturally. “Drink when you want to, and chances are this behavior will keep your fluid balance on an even keel.” — How Much Water Do You Really Need to Drink?, Elemental
But, “drink when/before you’re thirsty” is not the best strategy from experience. Similar to pain thresholds, every person’s threshold for feeling thirsty is also different.
This means that you may be on the verge of dehydration and still not feel thirsty for some time. In other words, what comes naturally isn’t always right.
It is then not in our best interests to base our water consumption on our feelings.
What Happens If I Don’t Drink Enough Water?
In an article about drinking enough water, Waterlogic says, “the functionality of several organs, our cognitive ability, and our mood are hindered to an alarming degree if our body’s total water content drops by as little as 1%.”
It takes only a 2% loss of total water content for your body to start feeling thirsty. Once you’re at this point your body is already in a state of dehydration.
Some symptoms for knowing you’re dehydrated include yellow/dark urine, infrequent urination, and dry or blue lips, along with blotchy skin, rapid breathing, fatigue, fever, and dizziness.
A research carried out by Loughborough University also suggests if you’re only mildly dehydrated you’re 114% more likely to make an error, which is similar to drinking low levels of alcohol!
Why I Drink a Gallon a Day (and You Should Too)
Even though we know a lot about the importance of hydration, we go about our day in a constant state of dehydration.
As of 2013, the average American drank only 1.8 cups a day and 75% suffer chronic dehydration. And as of 2015, 54.5% of American children go to school dehydrated.
The reason I stress on drinking water is that it takes no time at all but can improve your life in countless ways.
All you have to do is drink a glass of water.
Personally, the only reason I’ve failed to drink enough water in the past is the lack of habit. I know all the science behind it. I know I should at least drink when I’m thirsty.
But the problem with that strategy is there’s something always more important.
When you’re working on your desk or driving home, getting up or stopping by for a bottle of water seems like a lot of work.
Slowly, it gets delayed for thirty minutes, an hour, two hours, and so on. Before you know it, at the end of the day, you’ve only had four cups of water.
Thus, the only way, at least for me, to fix the problem was to have a daily goal for water intake — 1 gallon.
It may not be backed by science and I may not hit it every day, but the fact of having that goal and keeping myself accountable ensures I’m hydrated.
Further, on days I do hit the goal, I feel genuinely amazing and much more productive even if I make a couple of extra trips to the bathroom.
The end goal is to be more mindful about drinking water, which in fact, is all you need.
That said, there are a few benefits, apart from the ones mentioned above, that come with this habit. I’m sure you’ll love all of them.
For starters, I had less sleep inertia post waking up. I meditate the first thing in the morning and drinking 500 ml of water after getting out of bed helps me concentrate better.
Since I fast intermittently every day, it also helps me avoid hunger pangs before breakfast. On days when I do crave an early breakfast, having another 500 ml of H20 ensure I don’t slip.
To add, even during my feeding window, I don’t feel the sugar/caffeine cravings that I did earlier.
Overall, I feel more energized, productive, and striated.
How to Drink a Gallon of Water Every Day
A gallon is approximately four liters (3.7 to be exact).
I keep a 500ml bottle with me at all times. My goal is then to empty my bottle eight times a day.
Though it seems daunting, with practice and with proper systems, it’s quite easy.
As I said, I empty the bottle once when I wake up. Next, I do it again after meditating for an hour. Then I workout and take a shower. Before sitting down to work, I refill and empty it one more time. Finally, in the next hour, I’m done with another round.
Up to this time, around 10 am, I’ve already had two liters or a little more than half a gallon. I believe this is largely possible since I’m fasting. If I’d had an early breakfast, I wouldn’t be able to drink so much.
After this point, I relax since I’ve hit 50% of my goal. I do another 2 rounds before 4 pm when I sit to meditate again. One round after meditating and then another after coming back from my evening walk.
And there you go. Eight rounds of a 500ml bottle make it four liters. Easy!
While there’s a different amount of water required for everyone to drink, you’re probably drinking less than you need.
To fix this, first, buy a reusable bottle at least with 500 ml capacity. Anything less than that would need frequent refilling, which makes it difficult to hit a gallon.
Second, establish a daily goal and divide it by your bottle’s capacity. That’s the number of times you need to empty your bottle.
Third, find checkpoints throughout the day when you’ll empty your bottle.
Fourth, use an app to track your habits for the first week or month until the system takes over.
That’s all you need to start drinking enough water and make use of the most underrated life hack there is.
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