My 28-year-old sister and I drink together every day.
Even though she lives in Salt Lake City, we check up on each other to make sure we are downing as much we can.
I’m talking about water, of course.
My sister was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when she was 16. UC is a disease where ulcers form in the colon, which causes inflammation and severe pain and can cause the body to become septic if not treated. For the past 12 years, she has been taking over eight daily medications, has had multiple surgeries, and has spent months of her life in and out of hospitals.
Finally, over the summer, when she was rushed to the emergency room, her doctor told her the best option would be to get her colon taken out. The surgery was long, but it was successful. My sister is now free of a disease that has haunted her for most of her life.
However her post-surgery life had some hurdles. Without her colon, she was unable to stay hydrated. She found herself in the hospital again a week after her recovery, and her doctor told her she would need to up her water intake to two gallons, or 256 ounces of water, every day.
My sister was very discouraged when she first heard the news, so I decided to do this with her and became her drinking buddy. We agreed that I’d only have to drink a gallon, meaning I was drinking 128 ounces of water daily. So far, we have consumed 5,376 ounces of water just in the past two weeks.
Although I did this for emotional support, I found some very interesting effects by upping my water intake. Over the past couple weeks, I have noticed my skin has cleared up, I have more energy, and I eat less often than before I started. According to greatis.com, drinking more water will do these things for you and more, such as boosting cognitive thinking, improving kidney function, hangover help, etc.
The set amount for an average adult to consume varies, but an article on mayoclinic.org says we should be drinking 56-64 ounces of water every day. The article also states if we are active, or live in a hotter climate, we should be drinking more than that. Since southern Utah is warmer and drier than most parts of the U.S., we should be drinking more than the average, especially if we are active and spend a lot of time outdoors. It’s easy to see why some of the athletes are always walking around with milk jugs full of water.
Drinking two gallons of water hasn’t been easy for my sister, but she told me that having a drinking buddy helps her stay motivated. She went to the doctor’s earlier this week, and she was excited to tell him she has been drinking two gallons of water every day. The doctor was impressed and told my sister that she’s on the right track to maintaining a level of health she hasn’t been able to maintain in over 12 years.
Become someone else’s drinking buddy. Get in the habit of tracking your water consumption, and take a water bottle with you to class. There are many water bottle stations around campus that will give you filtered fresh water. Your bathroom breaks may be more frequent, but the health benefits are worth it.