Conquering the Hydration Challenge: drinking 2 litres of water a day

I didn't used to like drinking water. It seemed boring and unsatisfying. In spite of the universal advice advocating the benefits of drinking minimum 2 litres of water a day, to me this seemed like an insurmountable wellness challenge – the only one that I couldn’t achieve.

I tried to compensate for not doing it by eating plenty of fruit, drinking juices and smoothies, soups, teas and coffee, but it took me a long time to realise that nothing hydrates your body better than water. In fact, I soon undertook a skin test and the first thing that the dermatician asked me was: “Are you drinking enough water? Your skin is so dehydrated”. This was the trigger that made me want to take action. I love my body and my skin, so why would I let it fade away? So, I said I have had various attempts at drinking two litres of water a day, during my short-lived impulsive “health” kicks. But it never lasted more than a day, primarily because I wasn’t used to it and therefore had to force my body to take in a larger amount than my normal half-a-glass water intake. And like with any effort, beginnings are touch and you are tempted to give up. Luckily for me, a few months ago I started waking up extremely thirsty in the morning (so thirsty, that I felt I couldn’t do anything until I drank some water). This made me start my day with a full glass of water. And I instantly felt fully rejuvenated and ready to kickstart the day. And like with anything, when you start something, a self-generating process is put in motion. Therefore, starting to drink water will open up your thirst for it, such that you will want to drink it even more.

Tips for overcoming the 2-litre water drinking challenge:

1. Start your day by drinking a full glass of warm water

I started my water drinking journey with warm water and found it so comforting and soothing. As your body won’t have to spend energy bringing the water closer to its warm temperature, you will be able to take in a lot more of it.

For extra goodness and to give it a bit of flavour, add some lemon to your morning water. This will make it will become alkaline once your body reacts with the acidic lemons, which balances your body’s PH. Also, lemons have so many goodness-bringing properties, they’re like superfoods to me: they boosts your immune system (being high in vitamin C and potassium), help with weight loss (as they contain pectin fibre which regulates hunger cravings), aid digestion, and act as a gentle diuretic helping to flush out toxins, hydrate the lymph system.

However if you don’t like lemon water, try vanilla water. Here’s a little experiment that I came up with: sprinkle some vanilla in water and leave it overnight. The water will fully absorb the vanilla flavour and so it will taste amazing in the morning.

2. Buy bottled water

I used to think that bottled water was a waste of money – why would you buy something that you can get from the tap. But then I realised that buying bottled water has 3 benefits:

Firstly, bottled water is a lot nicer than tap water as the filtration process gives it a perfectly pure taste.

Secondly, it enables you to better monitor your water intake, as the quantity of water is specified on the packaging.

This will make you aware of how on track you are to achieving your 2-litre challenge. For example, once you’ve finished drinking a 500ml water bottle, means that you only have 3 more to go to complete your challenge.

Thirdly, you are more likely to drink it, as you know you’ve invested in it.

3. Always have a bottle or glass of water near you

By strategically placing water near you, you will be reminded to drink it. The old saying “Out of sight, out of mind” works in reverse form here: “In sight, in mind”. Just like you start craving cookies when you see them, your brain will be reminded that it’s is thirsty at the sight of drinking water.

4. Think of it as a personal challenge

We all need personal challenges to give us a sense of purpose and keep us motivated throughout the day. Otherwise each day would be so dull, in which you only do the things that others expect or ask you to do.

Having a personal wellbeing goal in your mind and working to achieve it throughout the day will give you that sense of satisfaction that you are doing something good for yourself. Also, you will feel so good after you have conquered this challenge at the end of each day. To keep you motivated to conquer this challenge think of all the benefits of keeping your body hydrated.

5. Infuse your water for a greater taste

Naturally infusing your water with fruits such as berries, peeled grapefruit, orange slices, vegetables like lemons, cucumber or herbs like fresh mint will give your water a distinctive flavour an aroma that will make you want to drink it like you would drink a juice. Also, if you are a fruit monster like me, you will look forward to finishing drinking the water, so you can munch the fruit. Soaked fruit makes a great snack, as it melts in your mouth.

Benefits of drinking water

Now that the plan of attack is in place, I would like to share with you some of the benefits that I became aware of while undertaking the 2-litre a day challenge:

1. Clear glowing skin

Drinking water purifies you from inside out, cleansing the impurities in your body and leaving your skin clear and glowing with life.

2. Focus

Water can also clear your mind, not just your body.

In the past I have found it difficult to maintain focus, but since I’ve started drinking water, it’s like water has cleared my mind, too.

3. Feeling less hungry

Sometimes when you feel hungry, your brain doesn’t realise that you are actually thirsty. Also, a lot of water suppresses your appetite, so you will feel fuller for longer.

Nonetheless, it wouldn’t be fair glorifying all the benefits of drinking water without mentioning the more frequent trips to the toilet that you will have to take :-) But, think of this as a positive, too: not as an interruption from your activity, but as an opportunity to get up and move around a bit.

Water is life after all, so when you deprive your body of water, you deprive it of life. Just like you water your plants regularly in order for them not to die out, you should make sure that you hydrate your body frequently in order for it not to go thirsty. NHS recommends drinking enough water, so that you’re not thirsty for long periods. It takes a while for your brain to realise that your body is becoming dehydrated. In this time, your body will have to function without enough power and this creates friction in your body. Think of it as a machine that has to run without enough fuel: it goes more sluggish and eventually it stops. Always remember that more than half of our body is water, which is why you need to replenish your water levels regularly.

In summary, drinking a lot of water is the best and most simple thing that you can do to nourish your body. So, make a habit out of it, try drinking 2 litres of water for 30 days. At the end of the challenge I assure you that you will feel invigorated. Cheers! To a good thirst for life!

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