We all know how important it is to drink water. Our bodies are 70% water and we can’t survive more than 5 days without it. Shockingly my daily water intake ranged from approximately 0.8 litres on a bad day to 1.5 litres on a good day. The recommended daily water intake is 2.5 litres for men and 2 litres for women (European Food Safety Authority). Turns out my body was in a constant state of dehydration. Drinking water is not something I particularly enjoy but after numerous articles, videos and a doctor reinforcing the benefits I decided to change my ways to consume 2 litres of water per day.
So, here are some of the signs I experienced that I now know where my body trying to tell me I was dehydrated.
- Dry skin and throat. I would often get that really annoying dry tickly throat that was impossible to get rid of.
- Dark coloured urine
- Feeling fatigued or sluggish
- Feeling hungry. Apparently when our bodies do not get enough water our signals for thirst and hunger can get mixed-up. Often when we feel hungry it is actually because we are thirsty rather than because we need to eat. Next time you feel hungry try drinking some water first before jumping straight for a snack.
A friend of mine told me that whilst on a conference she started feeling sick, dizzy, headachy and faint. Interestingly the coffee she drank to ‘perk herself up’ actually made her feel worse and more dehydrated, but two glasses of water later she felt completely restored.
So how did I get on? Here are some tips I’ve accumulated along the way to help make drinking so much water a little easier.
- Use a water bottle, the bigger the better. You can take it everywhere and it’s easier to track of how much you’re drinking. I personally use a 750ml bottle; I know I have to drink 3 of these a day to hit my target. Also I don’t count other drinks like tea, coffee or smoothies. I count these in addition to my 2 litres of water, again it’s just easier to track exactly how much water you’ve had and it’s better to drink more rather than less.
- Plan when you’re going to drink. With my 750ml bottle I know I need to finish one bottle in the morning (by noon), one in the afternoon (by 5pm) and one in the evening (by 8pm). Setting small targets throughout the day helps to keep me on track.
- Start drinking as soon as you wake up. I like to fill my bottle up the night before so it’s ready at the side of my bed when I wake up. Drinking a pint of water before breakfast helps me wakeup quicker and is a great way to kick start your metabolism for the day.
- Flavour your water. This makes it much more interesting and bearable to drink. Avoid squash and synthetic flavourings as this will add unnecessary sugar and calories to your drink (also bad for your teeth). Try chopping some fruit into your water for fresh, natural flavour. My personal favourites are lemons or limes but a slice of cucumber or a few berries wouldn’t go a miss.
- Drink isotonic water during or after exercise. The concentration of isotonic water is similar to that in your body so you will rehydrate quicker. Water will be absorbed more effectively rather than going in one end and straight out the other. Again avoid the ones that are high in unnecessary sugars and additives such as Lucozade or Gatorade. Try adding Diarolite to your water instead as this will just add the essential sugars and salts that you need.
So what are the benefits??? I have been consistently drinking 2 litres of water a day for around 2 months now and I must say I have observed some quite remarkable benefits.
- Healthier clearer skin. My skin feels plumper and more hydrated. I am experiencing fewer more manageable breakouts and I feel like this is still improving the longer and more water I drink. This is a minor miracle considering the amount of time and money I have spent trying to combat my acne over the past 5 or 6 years.
- Improved cardiac function. Before my 2 litre a day challenge I was taking a low dose beta blocker to reduce my heart rate during exercise. My heart rate would increase to over 200bpm sometimes giving me chest pains and cutting my workouts short. My Cardiologist advised both drinking more water and adding Diarolite to hydrate more efficiently. I no longer need to take the beta blocker. As I am more hydrated my heart can work more efficiently and optimally to transport water and nutrients to the parts of my body that need it and it doesn’t have to go crazy to do so.
- Reduced fatigue and increased concentration. As I mentioned earlier, drinking water as soon as I wake up helps me to wake up quicker. Sipping water throughout the day helps keep me awake and alert and reduces that dip in energy around 4pm. Along with feeling more alert comes increased concentration and being better able to focus on tasks be it for work, house work, working out or socialising.
Many of the articles I’ve read also highlight increased metabolism, healthier joints and constipation relief as additional benefits of increased water intake. The impact of being properly hydrated is clear for both our physical and mental capacity. These benefits will also have nock on secondary benefits. For example on weight loss; increased metabolic function and getting those thirst/hunger signals back under control will significantly contribute to more effective weight loss. My conclusion therefore is if in doubt drink more water!
Let me know your thoughts and experiences. Are you constantly dehydrated? Do find drinking water as much of a chore as I do? Or do you love drinking water and why? Let me know!