30days of Hydration-Follow the Journey
Have you ever wondered how hitting your hydration target each day will make you feel?
Our resident health expert Leanne Edermaniger has set herself the challenge of doing just that!
Follow along as she provides a new insight each day into just how wonderful water can truly be. We’ll have a new post each day throughout the entire month!
Every dayI wake up and bounce out of bed, I said…never! In fact, most days I hear the alarm on my phone and reach to switch it off…just 5 more minutes. That got me thinking.
Every day I struggle to get up, feeling more lethargic than when I went to bed and then, when I am in bed, I wrestle with the sheets, tossing and turning in an attempt to get comfortable.
During the day, my concentration is all over the place. Sit down, stand up, walk into a room, why am I here? I’m thirsty so I reach for the nearest sugary drink to try to wake myself up.
I think I may have just spotted the problem.
My day is littered with tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, but where on earth is the water? As stupid as it may sound, I’m not drinking enough of the good stuff, nature’s fine elixir so can I really change my lifestyle and health just by drinking water?
Well, let’s see…
So, I now have a new best friend.
My Big Bottle is about to travel the next 30 days with me. Filled with ups and downs I’m sure, it should be quite an adventure.
I’ve picked my favourite colour to keep me motivated and I’m excited about meeting the challenge. First things first, let’s fill the bottle. 2.2 litres in and I’m ready to go.
The sturdy handle means I can carry the bottle around with me wherever I go and the design is super cool!
Plus, the attention to detail on the bottle, like the embroidered name on the label, make me just that bit more determined to shape up and be as proud of my body as I am of my bottle.
Morning coffee is the one thing I miss. The problem is, I’ve trained my brain and body to expect it as soon as I wake up.
Some days it’s filter, other days might be a cappuccino type of morning and, if I’m really feeling indulgent, maybe a caramel latte.
But, whilst guzzling down the caffeine, I rarely stopped to think about the calories I was consuming and that was before I’d even thought about breakfast! Water thoughhas 0 calories.
So, although my craving is driving me a littlenuts, on the plus side, the water from my bottle has no calories, no milk to putrefy in my gut and it doesn’t have the addictive power of my coffee.
Our body has natural systems to detoxify itself, mainly with the use of the liver and kidneys.
Water can help with the filtration rate carried out by the kidneys. The kidneys and the liver remove toxins from the blood and the body tissues, which if left can have nasty side effects.
Water and fluids help to keep the kidney’s functioning efficiently. Their function is usually tested after a heavy, alcohol-fuelled night out when many of us, including myself, have woken up with that horrible ache in our lower back. That’s our kidneys little way of saying “well thank you for making us work extra hard last night”.
Yep, more water = more pee! The more I need to go the more I think toilets should be renamed water inconveniences.
Still, I can tell how hydrated I am by the colour and smell of my pee. Odourless and clear means I’m lovely and hydrated. Dark yellow or brown is a sign that I really need to drink more – a frequent occurrence before my Big Bottle companion came along!
By not drinking a coffee in the morning I’m not peeing now just for the sake of it. Coffee is a diuretic – increases the production of urine – so now when I pee I know it’s because my body is regulating its fluid balance rather than just for the sake of it.
Filling up my Big Bottle today and wondering what is water? I mean it’s everywhere and we often take it for granted but what is it and why is it so important?
The obvious answer is it is a clear, odourless liquid which makes up a huge part of our lives and our body.
Essentially, water is made up of 3 atoms; an oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. These atoms stick together, much like that of magnets and this is true for all forms of water.
What makes different sources of water vary from each other are the minerals it contains. For example, the sea has a high concentration of salt, while fresh water has a lower concentration and contains other minerals, too.
Am I hungry or am I thirsty? Now I know the answer.
Before my Big Bottle and my increased water intake, I would often reach for the sugary snacks and fizzy drinks to give me an energy boost, usually around the 2-3pm mark.
Now that I’m drinking often throughout the day, what I thought was hunger now seems to be suppressed.
I don’t feel as hungry as I did before – this is great news for my figure, my energy levels and my teeth.
Before I would just reach for a chocolate bar or a biscuit to relieve my hunger pangs, but what I should have been doing is taking a drink. That way I could have worked out whether I was hungry.
I love to sleep! I hate that feeling when you first wake up and you just want to roll over and go back to sleep.
Is it normal to wake up and yawn before you stretch? Well, not anymore.
Since I’ve started the challenge my sleep has really improved. I feel so much more energised and carry out my daily tasks so much more effectively.
Why? Well, dehydration or not drinking enough water can cause symptoms such as fatigue and reduced cognitive performance and now that I’m drinking more water, my body is recovering from the sorry, dehydrated state I was subjecting it to before.
I have a houseplant and I’m guilty of not watering it every day! Terrible, right?
I mean I have a dog but I wouldn’t forget to give her water, would I? But the houseplant is just like my brain – it needs watering.
Just like I neglected my houseplant, I’ve neglected my brain, too. The brain needs water to keep the memory part working and so it can reach its optimum cognitive performance.
Before, I would find myself struggling to stick to one task. Instead, I would have 2 or 3 in progress at once which made the completion of all three not only longer but also hard work.
Now, with the steady intake of water from my 2.2l Big Bottle, I am confident that my brain has the fluid it needs to function effectively.
My performance at work has improved massively and I no longer feel tired just thinking about the day ahead.
Keep your bottle clean! It may sound odd, but it is essential that your Big Bottle is kept spic and span!
The problem with reusable water bottles is most of us only fill them with water and so it may seem a little odd to start washing them out or due to our hectic lifestyles,it may just be easier to keep refilling.
By using a Big Bottle, you are helping the environment – in the US around 28 billion bottles and jars are thrown away – but not cleaning it properly can put it, and you, at risk of contamination.
Microorganisms tend to grow in water and on the surfaces which arein contact with water – cue your Big Bottle.
Some of the foodborne organisms associated with water are Campylobacter, E. coli O157: H7, Salmonella, and Vibrio cholerae, contract one of these and you will definitely know about it and in severe cases,these illnesses can also lead to death.
So, what should you do? If you haven’t already purchased one of our Big Brushes, these boldly go where no scrubbing brush has been before!
The brush is designed to specifically reach all those hard bits of your bottle ensuring it is kept clean and hygienic.
You don’t need any nasty chemicals just some warm soapy water and your Big Brush is enough to keep those nasty bugs away!
My whole adult life has been based onscience and health. I have an undergrad degree in Biomedical Science and a Masters in Science Communication.
I know how important it is to drink water, I understand its benefits and I know the vital processes it’s needed for. Despite this, I haven’t always practised what I preach and I feel it is important to mention this…because we are all human after all.
In the past,I’ve not really enjoyed the taste of water and I would often endure the “water doesn’t have any taste” comment, but to me it did. So, it was easier to reach for the drink which tasted nicer and inevitably was always crammed with sugar.
The reason for this, I believe, is because as a kid water wasn’t really an offer for a drink instead it was usually squash, so my brain and body got used to the taste and came to expect it. Plus, to me,water is boring – no taste, no colour and no satisfaction.
But things are different now. The use of a colourful Big Bottle has made water so much more appealing and I look forward to getting up and starting the day with it.
Drinking a sufficient amount of water daily is key to our kidney health. The kidneys are a hard-working organ system designed to help filter and purify the blood, helping to rid the body of harmful toxins.
Dehydration can be particularly harmful to the kidneys. It occurs when your body loses more fluid than it takes in and the urine can become concentrated inminerals and waste products. If untreated, dehydration may lead to kidney disease.
A low intake of water can lead to the development of kidney stones which form when waste products from the blood are filtered out by the kidneys into the urine. When the concentration of these waste products is too high they form crystals and as these build in the kidneys,they form stones.
Small stones can usually pass out through the body in our pee without any problems, but larger ones can get blocked causing pain and infections.
One of the best ways to prevent stones is to keep hydrated which keeps our urine dilute and the risk of crystal formation low.
Getting up every morning and filling my Big Bottle has just become part of my normal routine. It doesn’t add any extra time to my daily routine and it’s reassuring to know that my body is really benefiting from my new and improved hydration status.
In the morning, I add some of the ice from the ice tray – they’re great the ice is specifically shaped to fit the bottle – no messing around! The ice is particularly refreshing on those long, hot summer days and refilling the bottle if needed during the day is super easy, too.
Then, at the end of the day,I give the bottle a good wash out using some warm, soapy water and The Big Brush, dry it out so no water is left on the sides of thebottle and I’m ready to go again.
Looking after my body and the environment couldn’t get any simpler!
Exercising causes us to sweat which means our body is losing water. So, to replace it,we must stay hydrated.
Without hydration,we are unable to perform to our maximum potential. As we exercise, our body temperature increases which can lead to the reduced function of the nervous system. Therefore, it is good practice to be well hydrated before commencing exercise.
I now find myself drinking water in preparation for my exercise routine and rehydrating after according the intensity. It’s important that we listen to our body’s.
I have been guilty in the past of ignoring the signs and the feelings of thirst, perhaps because I didn’t have a drink to hand. However, now I constantly have my Big Bottle with me I have no excuse to not keep my water intake consistent.
Ker-ching, my purse is feeling the benefit of my Big Bottle, too.
Whereas before I might grab a cappuccino on the way to work, a bottle of OJ on my break, a fizzy drink at lunch and maybe a tea later on in the day, now I just fill my bottle at the start of the day and I’m good to go.
If I run out I can just refill it and now most cafes, restaurants and public places will fill reusable bottles for free with tap water – bonus.
I am easily saving £5-10 per day and so the initial investment in the Big Bottle far outweighs the amount I was spending on hot and cold drinks every day before its arrival.
Plus, by not forking out on bottled water I’m helping the environment as well so the Big Bottle puts me in a win-win situation, particularly when the average American spends $100 per year on bottled water.
Halfway through the challenge! The benefits so far have been great and my skin is looking so much better, too.
There are so many expensive creams on the market which claim to do wonders for our skin – which they might – but the truth is the best moisturiser for your skin is water.
Drinking water is like a moisturiser which works from the inside, out. Whether it is the water which is making my skin smoother and less spotty or just the better diet and lifestyle, the fact of the matter is my skin looks and feels so much better.
Drinking water from my Big Bottle is making me feel more energised. I have more get up and go.
Not only does it make me feel like I’ve got more energy, but my energy intake is decreasing as well. I’m not drinking the high-sugar drinks or fruit juice and instead,I have replaced this with water which contains no calories.
One of the problems I have found in the past is that I might eat or drink a high sugar snack/drink, which increases my energy for a short period before slumping off again as my blood sugar levels drop off.
Now, I’m eating a healthy breakfast, snacking on healthier alternatives like nuts and seeds and drinking water throughout the day, my energy levels feel so much more consistent and that usual 3pm slump has disappeared.
Headaches have been a major burden in my life since as far back as I can remember. I always just put it down to a family trait, but since I’ve been drinking more water my headaches have virtually disappeared.
It’s a known fact that depriving yourself of water or suffering with dehydration can bring on a headache. Scientific studies have shown that an increased water intake can reduce headache intensity and the length of time it lasts.
A carbohydrate-rich diet alongside a poor water intake can also be a cause for headaches, so making some slight changes to my diet like reducing the number of high carbs I eat has also had a great benefit.
If only I had realised sooner, I may have cut down on my painkiller consumption just by making a few changes to my lifestyle. Of course, on some days sticking to the water regime can be difficult but the bright colours of my Big Bottle give me that little lift I need to carry on.
Sunday hangovers are the worst, aren’t they? Well, not for me! Since starting the challenge I’ve left the alcohol alone too and instead decided to give my body a good detox.
Even though only drinking moderately means my risk of damaging my organs is reduced, giving them a rest is never a bad thing.
Alcohol can affect the function of the kidneys and reduce their ability to filter the blood appropriately. Plus, alcohol is a dehydrator and so its ability to dry out the cells and organs can also harm our kidneys.
Aside from the positive effects, my dry Saturday nights are having on my organ systems, I’m now able to wake on a Sunday morning with a clear head and not lose the whole day to moping around. Result!
It’s period time…cue feeling bloated, full and all puffed up which is usually enough to put me off drinking water. But, this month I’m going to try something different. With my Big Bottle in hand, I’m just going to carry on drinking my water.
During our periods, the body retains more water but drinking more will help to get rid of the water that’s already built up. Plus, we also lose water during our period – our flow is liquid which means there must be water involved.
The added benefits of water and keeping hydrated means that any headaches and cramps may be alleviated or at least their intensity may be less.
I definitely feel better for drinking water and I would recommend starting your hydration challenge around 2 weeks before your period so you can start to feel some of the benefits beforehand. You may even find you feel more confident in your skin which can boost your outlook during your period.
3 weeks in and I can really tell the difference. My cognitive performance has improved and my reactions are quicker. Clearly, as I age my reactions will slow but hopefully not as much as if I wasn’t adequately hydrated.
Water is made up of oxygen and so it is a good source for the brain which enables my brain to stay a little more focused.
My skin feels smoother and has a glow about it. I used to suffer from quitedry skin but drinking more water helps to keep my skin hydrated. The effects on my skin have also enhanced by cutting down on my sugar intake.
I’m snacking on healthier alternatives to the mid-afternoon chocolate bar and I make sure I have a good breakfast in the morning, usually porridge made with water.
I also don’t feel so bloated as my body doesn’t need to retain so much water now I’m feeding it regularly.
Before the challenge I felt lethargic, low on energy, was suffering from headaches but increasing my water intake is helping to combat all of these.
The 3 pm slump has disappeared and I’m not getting hungry in the evenings between dinner and bedtime. One of the major mistakes we make is we think we’re hungry when in fact we’re thirsty.
I’m now in the routine where before I eat I drink some of the water from my Big Bottle to see if that makes it go away. If it does, great, I was just thirsty and if not then maybe I’m a little peckish and I might grab an apple or some almonds for a snack.
This is great for my waistline – water contains no calories or sugar – I’m not gaining any weight but I’m also not losing any but I’m not trying to.
17 million barrels of oil are used to produce one years’ worth of disposable water bottles. In the US alone, 38 billion water bottles end up in landfill sites while the plastic waste which ends up in the sea kills 1.1 million marine creatures every year.
Purchasing the Big Bottle means I’m reducing my yearly plastic waste and the amount of oil used to manufacture the disposable bottles I used to purchase.
I, on my own, may only make a small difference, but by highlighting the damage caused to the environment could change people’s minds about their disposable plastic use.
Using tap water is preferable too as it has the lowest impact on the environment!
The presence of water in the body ensures all its systems are functioning optimally. The immune system is no exception. An important part of our immune system is lymph, a fluid used to transport white blood cells and nutrients to the tissues in the body.
The fluid also helps to remove harmful toxins from the body, without it the immune system would not be able to fight off disease effectively.
Water also helps to keep our blood full of oxygen which cells need to stay healthy. Avoiding illness is made much simpler by drinking more water.
A great thing about increasing my water intake is it helps to keep the function of my GI tract regular i.e. no constipation.
Constipation is often common in the young and the elderly but can affect any age group. Common causes are a reduced fluid intake or excessive loss, possibly from vomiting and/or diarrhoea. However it is caused, it’s never a nice feeling.
Since drinking the water my GI function has been improved. I don’t feel bloated – previously a result of carbonated drinks – which is great for me as I feel more confident in my body, too.
It’s amazing to think that the human body is made up of around 60% water. The figure varies according to age, for example,children’s bodies consist of approximately 75% water and the elderly around 50%.
The heart and brain are almost ¾ water, too.
There are 3 main areas in the body where water can be found – cells, the space between cells and the blood.
It’s crazy when you think about it, water is just everywhere and we often take it for granted. I do anyway.
It’s just there– we shower in it, we drink it, we swim in it and our bodies are jam-packedfull of the stuff.
The amount of water everyone needs daily varies, generally,men need 3 litres and women need 2.2 (the capacity of my Big Bottle).
Say cheese! An aspect of the challenge I hadn’t considered is the impact it could have on my teeth.
I look after my teeth well anyway, the usual brush twice a day, floss and rinse with mouthwash but the added benefit of water is it doesn’t contain sugar or acid so won’t rot my teeth.
A high consumption of fizzy drinks has been linked to high levels of teeth erosion. Even fruit juice can be bad for your teeth, in fact in one study orange juice was shown to produce the highest mean percenttooth weight loss.
Drinking water doesn’t expose your teeth to the acids found in fizzy drinks and fruit juices which corrode your teeth. Plus, the fluoride found in the water can help to strengthen and clean the teeth.
It was way back in the 1960s that scientists discovered the brain could be intentionally retrained.
Often known as neurofeedback technology, the technique has been applied to alcoholics and substance abusers. It is used as a therapeutic intervention, particularly in children with ADHD.
However, NASA discovered that it takes the brain 28-30 days for the brain to retrain itself.
Using a simple reward system, scientists discovered that people can learn to alter their brain activity, much like that of training a dog to sit for a treat.
I guess my journey with water is a little like this, which is probably why after 28 days I am very used to drinking and no longer craving the high sugar alternatives.
I’ve spent so long learning about cells, how they work, why we need them and what they do, but while I wasn’t paying much attention to my water intake I was neglecting the cells of my body.
Water is vital for our cells. Water is the most abundant molecule found in an individual cell, accounting for around 70% of its total mass.
Water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. In the cell these atoms are a bit like magnets – the hydrogen atoms are slightly positive while the oxygen is slightly negative – this allows them to bond with other water molecules.
The balance of water both inside and outside of our cells is important. If cells have less water outside than inside of them, hypotonic, they can shrivel up as the water escapes into the environment around it.
If there is more water outside the cell than inside, hypertonic, the cell can swell and burst due to the amount of water that flows into the cell.
Water is important for our cells as it helps to keep them at the right size and functioning properly.
Some facts about dehydration:
- It occurs when you don’t drink enough water
- Can be caused by sickness bugs, increased temperature, too much exercise
- The young and the elderly are most at risk
- Early signs of dehydration are a dry mouth, tiredness, thirstiness, light-headedness, peeing less often, strong smelling, dark urine
- Dehydration is a common risk factor for developing kidney stones
- Dehydration is avoidable! Drink more water!
The end of the challenge is here. The biggest thing I’ll be taking away, apart from my Big Bottle, is I need to show my body and water more respect.
I’ve noticed some big changes to my body and health, most notably I have much better energy levels. The condition of my skin has improved, too.
Will I carry on? There’s no doubt about it. I wouldn’t want to go back to the lifestyle I had before.
Plus, my Big Bottle has become a big part of my life – it practically comes everywhere with me.
I will be recommending the challenge to friends and family. Why don’t you have a go too and see if you can reap the benefits water has to offer?