For years one of my best friends (Steve) has somehow managed to keep his waist size pretty close to where it was when we were in high school, even now, well into his forties. Many of my friends/colleagues have fitness club memberships, and are avid runners and tennis players, yet very few of them get the results my buddy Steve gets, despite the fact that they all work much harder at it than he does (or so it seems). So how does Steve stay so fit and trim? Simple. He walks EVERYWHERE! Rather than jump in the car for a one-mile drive to the supermarket, he abandons those four wheels and instead, uses his two legs to get him there and back. But that’s not all. He told me he doesn’t eat candy or dessert, and skips on drinks like sweet tea and soda, preferring instead to drink fruit and/or vegetable juices (though he waters them down), vitamin and mineral-infused beverages and last but certainly not least, water.
When I asked him how much, I was expecting him to respond that he uses the “half your body weight in ounces” rule of thumb. I was shocked to hear that he drinks no less than one gallon of water a day, sometimes more. I thought, “wow, drinking that much must be a lot of work.” When it comes to water, I’ve always been a “I’ll drink it when I’m thirsty” type of guy, but hearing how easily my buddy guzzles it down, and how slender his waist has remained all these years, left me with something to remember; something to strive for.
Fast-forward to 2015, where I’m at the age where the stubborn spare tire has grown more and more challenging to keep off, and I’m once again taking a closer look at that old trusty water bottle. I said to myself, “Okay Matt, if drinking more water and walking a lot has kept his waistline intact, forget about trying to reinvent the wheel. Why not try what Steve’s done since after high school and see if it can work for you?” While I intend to do just that, 128 ounces is still a lot of water. How do I drink a gallon a day without it feeling unnatural or forced? Then it hit me…
Most of us has at least 16 waking hours each day (more if you’re not getting eight hours of sleep every night). In those 16 hours, you could easily drink a gallon by simply breaking it up and drinking one 8 oz. glass every hour. Sound easy? Sure it does, but I won’t know for certain until I give it a try. I can say that there was a brief period in the Summer of 2015 where I drank close to a gallon a day for two days straight (mostly to stay properly hydrated for tennis). One of the things I immediately noticed is how great my knees felt during and after climbing stairs. It’s a well-known fact that as we age, we tend to lose considerable amounts of fluid in our joints, making them ache more with activity. Well, for two days, I climbed the stairs with an ease that I hadn’t experienced since my early 30s.
Now, please bear in mind that this is not an invitation to a challenge of any sort. I’m only telling you what I’m going to be trying for my own benefit. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in trying yourself, I’d say “go for it.” But I’m not a doctor, so please, as with anything, consult your parent/guardian (if you’re younger than 18), your primary care physician, or a health care practitioner with questions or concerns regarding how much water is safe to drink daily. In the meantime, I’ll check back in with you in a month or so and let you know how drinking a gallon a day has worked for me. If I’m good and I stick with it, just maybe I’ll get to beat my chest at my buddy and tell him, “Ha! You’re not so tough!” ?