It goes without saying that drinking water is an essential cornerstone of health. From boosting brain power, to aiding the healthy regulation of weight loss, to evening out your complexion – H2O is undisputedly the superior drink of choice when it comes to quenching our thirst.
So, why aren’t enough of us drinking sufficient amounts of water during the day? According to 77% of working Americans surveyed by Quench, a leading provider of filtered water systems, it comes down to a variety of reasons – the most popular being “lack of thirst”, “drinking other beverages”, and “not having enough time”.
Given that we lose around 64 ounces of water each day just by perspiring, which is a lot when you take into account that the average human can only survive three to four days without hydrating properly, it’s always worthwhile upping your water intake to maintain good health.
I figured that it was time to test out whether these reasons held true, curious to know if the act of incorporating a few more cups of water into my day could really be so difficult.
I stuck to drinking water up until 4pm, and this is what happened…
I’ve always liked to think of myself as having a natural inclination to drink a lot of water, so I won’t lie to you…when I first decided to take on this challenge, I scoffed – “pfft, easy!”
I hit my first obstacle at 8am.
Sacrificing my morning coffee was harder than I imagined. For one thing, it’s an ingrained part of my daily routine – I had to stop my hand from impulsively reaching out to boil the kettle. For another, I need the caffeine to wake up properly because like many of us, I’m hooked on the most commonly used drug in the world.
This meant that I felt sluggish and, admittedly, slightly irritable for most of the morning…but by the early afternoon, I had brightened up to the point that my craving had diminished! I even found myself drinking more water to compensate for my lack of a caffeine hit, which was a bonus.
I still felt rather groggy this morning, but apart from throwing some longing glances at the coffee jar sitting on my shelf, it was much easier to stick to drinking water without having to think too much about it.
One change I did notice was that no matter how much liquid I consumed, I remained continuously thirsty. Concerned, I decided to look up what could be the cause, and it turns out that I’m probably chronically dehydrated, which is shockingly normal for many Americans.
This is because drinking water when you’re feeling dehydrated simply isn’t enough. By this point, your body is already in survival mode, and adjusting to not consuming enough water. In my case, I blame the coffee – caffeinated beverages do tend to mimic the immediate effects of hydration, so I’ve probably been skimping out on a fair few too many glasses of water for a long time.
Did I mention that I need to pee? Well, I’ve been needing to pee – a lot, since day one.
That makes sense though, I’ve only just upped my fluid intake which means that it might take some time for my body to grow more accustomed to regulating the extra liquid. And while I need to “go” more than usual, peeing between four and ten times a day is still considered perfectly healthy. It’s just a pain in the backside.
On the plus side, I’m feeling far more awake than I did in previous days, and a couple of the blemishes on my skin have cleared up! I’ve even swapped out my occasional cup of tea in the evening with more water, despite that I’m only required to stick to the challenge until 4pm.
I think I’m actually beginning to enjoy this “only drinking water” malarky…
I feel fresh, and I’m finally well and truly in the swing of the challenge. My skin has continued to clear up, the grogginess that used to weigh me down in the morning has all but vanished, and I rarely feel parched now that drinking water has become more of a habit rather than a requirement.
Making time to drink more water is easy to do, it just takes some conscious effort at first. And to achieve the generally recommended water intake of 15.5 cups for men, and 11.5 cups for women, you would of course need to keep hydrating beyond 4pm – especially at mealtimes or before bed.
Will I spurn caffeinated, alcoholic and sugary drinks in favour of Mother Nature’s natural source forever? No – but you can bet that I’ll be making sure to drink a whole lot more water in future. The benefits I reaped from the challenge were too gratifying to ignore.