“It’s the simplest part of the whole program,” Fodder said, “and I have more trouble with the water than anything else.”
Three months after we finished the official part of the program, we were both more or less living the plan. The behaviour modification had, in fact, modified our behaviour.
Except for the water….
It’s not like it was hard to come by. We didn’t have to order a stock and keep it on hand. All we had to do was hoist a glass eight times a day. Eight. In a sixteen-hour day.
Why was that difficult?
One of my friends fills a two-litre jug in the morning and sips from it all day. I have a three-cup bottle that can stand on my desk, in my backpack or in the cage on my bike. Ah, but does it? Too often, it sits on the kitchen counter all alone.
Because I forget. It’s only water, after all.
In a long-distance walking clinic I took a couple of years ago, one of the guest speakers said it’s not enough to start drinking water the day of a big walk or other event. The time to start is three days ahead, so your body is fully hydrated at the beginning and then all you have to do is keep up the flow.
I absorbed that advice.
For several days before I did long training rides, I tanked up and at age 48 I rode my first century – that’s 100 miles in a day.
I’m not going to give water all the credit – I put in the time in the saddle, I cranked the pedals. But the combination of practice, calories and water meant that not only did I cycle 160 kilometres in, I think, about eight hours…I felt fine afterward and even rode across town (and back) the next day.
I also tank up before a long flight. It helps me avoid some of the hangover-y jet lag effects, and it drives me out of my seat and up the aisle to the bathroom on the plane, which keeps my blood moving and avoids the whole issue of deep vein thrombosis.
So why will I drink a couple of litres a day sometimes and not others?
I suspect it’s nothing more than habit. I simply have not established a routine of filling the bottle, carting it with me and refilling it.
Obviously I need more discipline.
For me, something like this has to be mindless. Best if it’s a reflex, but for some reason we humans have become removed from our bodily signals – we eat when we’re not hungry but we don’t always recognize thirst as a need for water. Some people sip soda or a beer. I go for tea.
But meanwhile my tongue is trying to tell me something.
If only it could talk….