I’ve learned the hard way about hydration. I always struggled with weight; I don’t accept the opinions that everyone who is overweight is just self-indulgent. In my early twenties, I got so extreme with diet and exercise that the maths of calorific intake and exertion expenditure didn’t even make any sense; I was theoretically burning so much more than I was eating. I’d worked out that carbs were deadly; for me, any small amount of carbs act as a kind of catalyst to shut down fat-burning. So I went very low-carb. I was doing 2 to 3 hours per day of vigorous exercise in ketogenic conditions.
A chemist friend who I was obtaining electrolytes from, warned me that I would have hydration problems if I had no carb intake. I was obtaining magnesium and potassium to mix into my own drinks because all the electrolyte sports drinks had sugar in them. My problem was that as soon as I had any sugar, my weight would trend upwards and keep doing so.
I successfully got my weight down to “normal for my height” but I spiralled down into a chronic-pain health condition, Fibromyalgia. It rendered me unable to exercise much and my weight ended up exploding into serious obesity for the rest of my life. Fibromyalgia is very badly understood by the medical mainstream but after 25 years of research and self-experimentation, I am convinced it is everything to do with hydration at the “body tissue” level; especially of the muscle fascia and the interstitial spaces.
I suspect there is a genetic vulnerability involved, relating to both the excessive metabolic response to carbs, and the proneness to chronic dehydration in the absence of dietary carbs. My research and self-experimentation has resulted in a quite tolerable overall health condition in my fifties; I can now live as if I didn’t have Fibromyalgia at all. Through negative experience, I learned the importance of muscle mobility and flexibility; and I have ultimately achieved that. I have far more flexibility now than when I was a cardio–exercise junkie, and that is far more important for function in daily life, than a super cardio-vascular system and reduced body weight accompanied by pain, tension and stiffness!
But I have had to accept that I was only ever meant to be “a fat person”. My options are; to be a functional fat person; or completely destroy my human functionality in efforts to get down to “normal weight”.
But attention to hydration is an essential part of staying on top of my condition. I argue that I have got better because I rigorously focused on hydrating my dehydrated tissues; it was not possible to mobilise them through stretches and manual therapy until they were rehydrated. In fact the process was long and gradual and incremental; fascia tissues got hydrated and “released” little by little, layer by layer. This took around 5 years. To achieve this, I had to be drinking large quantities of water (like 20 glasses per day) and taking large quantities of electrolytes. I had to tolerate frequent urination, including through the night. I believe that a lot of the urination involves toxins that have been flushed out of long-term adhesions finally being hydrated and released.
I used Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis to monitor progress; it took a long time (years) to get magnesium up to normal; it was difficult to “take enough” magnesium because bowel looseness would be provoked, which was counter-productive. What really helped in the end, was spray-on topical magnesium “oil”. Meanwhile, certain toxins, especially cadmium, lead, aluminium and arsenic registered spikes at times, consistent with the hypothesis that toxins were being flushed out from where they had been trapped in chronic long-standing adhesions. After the “spike”, these toxin measurements would fall again.
Deep core muscle fascia especially around the pelvis and groin, are where the worst adhesions and toxin reservoirs are. As I finally successfully mobilized the muscle tissue in this area with the right routines and manual therapy, HTMA toxin spikes recurred. This is where I have got to currently. I am optimistic that overall health and function can continue to trend in the right direction yet; flare-ups and relapses are now rare; urination frequency not so severe; cramps and muscle injuries no longer a tiresomely regular problem; sleep quality vastly improved; agility, balance and co-ordination vastly improved.
I feel like I have spent the last few years getting younger — in fact I felt like someone in their seventies since I was 30, so if I am starting to converge on normal fifties conditions, of course I feel younger! Anyway, that’s my hydration-related story.