Almost four years ago, I made the drastic decision to end the deadly habit of daily alcohol consumption and the perpetual desire to be emotionally numb, and hyper-functional.
Welcoming my forties didn’t turn out to be as fabulous as the popular narrative suggests. My erratic hormones presented physical and emotional challenges that are still a struggle, but under much healthier circumstances.
Aging as a woman who never thought she would age is a fascinating process that doesn’t get easier.
And the frightening prospects become more vivid when you’re battling a range of issues that are directely related to your formal introduction to a formidable age bracket.
Depression has always been a main character in my life since childhood, and with adulthood, those tendencies become jarringly threatening. And so the only way to hide in public was to consume enough mind-altering substances to be distantly alert and comfortably secure in my bubble.
But at some point, you have to look in the mirror and decide whether or not you’re ready to die at any moment.
Once I made my choice, there was no turning back.
Fast forward to the present, and my dietary regimen has improved considerably, which in turn has positively impacted my overall disposition, including my creative mechanisms.
Saying goodbye to the hovering haziness that I mistook for mandated escapism from the unrelenting demons was the only way to return to original settings.
Part of the lengthy and disciplined process of replacing the bad stuff with better options is the relearning of the basics of health and nutrition, and how the brain is able to communicate better when there’s less rubble.
You can’t get away with the internalizing the same sugar and salt intake as you did when you were a carefree twenty-something, who thought life would always be that way.
Getting older means maturing your every move for the assurance of longer days ahead.
For me, it’s about clean eating, which can get quite boring if you’re not willing to be more exploratory with your menus. And once I developed a rhythm, the first change I felt was the blast of energy and the refreshing mood of morning rituals.
A lot of that was attributed to my newfound love and dependence on pure drinking water.
It wasn’t hard to be hooked on water, particularly since alcoholic drinks were no longer a major factor, except for special occasions or infrequent outings. I also stopped drinking sodas more than a decade ago.
I look forward to my morning glass of water before working out, and the continued consumption while hitting the treadmill, and throughout the work day into the night.
We all know that the main reason why most people don’t drink enough water on a daily basis is due to its tastelessness. Nothing beats a bottle of ice cold water to quench that thirst on a hot summer day, but it’s harder to keep the momentum going, unless you convince yourself that flavored or carbonated water suffices.
My method of making water more delectable is to add slices of lime for taste, which also helps your digestive system, immune system, which encourages weight loss.
But most importantly, water really is the natural cleanser, both internally and externally.
I definitely can’t afford the pricey facial moisturizers that were preferred staples back when my hellish corporate job funded my beauty routine, but thanks to my daily water intake, my natural glow is back, and the timing is perfect.
However, a few weeks before the end of 2019, I began to experience nagging headaches and some sluggishness, and those unusual symptoms were bothersome.
And like most folks who are trained to rely on google searches, for the answers that would normally cost our entire savings account at the emergency room, I was savvy enough to stumble on lifesaving news.
As it turns out, the saying that “too much of anything is bad for you” really applies to everything.
Since my diet is pretty streamlined, my only suspicion was whether or not I was substituting heavy alcohol use with more water than my body can safely handle.
Based on my findings about water intoxication, which is unsurprisingly quite rare with few cases involving soldiers and athletes, who are more prone to dehydration, it was highly unlikely that I was suffering from that condition, but it was beneficial to be aware that such a thing exists.
It’s very hard for anyone to drink so much water that your cells swell, causing seizures, and in severe cases, brain damage and eventual death.
And in order to be in danger of water intoxication, you would have to dangerously flood your kidneys with more water than can adequately be processed for urination.
There’s also the duration of time it takes for the amount of consumption that could be considered risky.
I tend to drink a lot of water over long periods of time, and that’s apparently safer than drinking a ton of water in a short period of time.
The common symptoms associated with drinking too much water include, “headache, nausea and vomiting.” And when you’re in the danger zone, you will experience, “drowsiness, double vision, breathing difficulty, confusion, increased blood pressure, muscle weakness and cramping, and inability to identify sensory information.”
The good news is that it’s almost impossible to accidentally consume too much water, and the only reasonable way to calculate how much water your body needs is to factor in your “body weight, physical activity and climate.”
We’ve all heard the accepted rule of thumb that maintains how drinking 8 glasses of water a day is generally the best recommendation, but that hasn’t been proven to be accurate since no research concurs.
At the end of the day it’s about paying attention to your body and practicing moderation.
I wasn’t drinking too much water and my initial issue was remedied within days. And in order to “maintain good hydration levels” I should drink water when I feel thirsty, which is a no brainer.
However, getting older means going that extra mile instead of just doing the bare minimum. Pregnant women, athletes and older folks have to make the effort to drink a little more water to avoid the threat of dehydration.
I never would’ve guessed that water could be potentially deadly if we drink more than our body can tolerate.
But I’m glad I know!