The 10-Day Hydration Challenge: H20nly

by - June 15, 2015

Challenged to drink nothing but water for 10 days in support of RNLI, I accepted and here's what happened....

1st June 2015 

Pledge: I am going to do 10 days of not drinking anything but water. Those of you who know me will probably not expect me to succeed because I love a glass of wine and a pint/coffee/ gin/green tea/all the teas. This challenge was invented by the RNLI to raise money to help save more lives at sea. As a sea lover I am a huge advocate of the charity and will take on the challenge and swing the guys some money. It should result in clearer skin, better focus and concentration and memory retention among other benefits - wouldn't say no to some weight loss either. I am attending a festival over the weekend so I think it would be unrealistic to complete the challenge on the official dates 2nd - 12th June ("Beer? Pint of water for me please" - said no one, ever. So I will join from the 7th and take it ten days from there.  It sounds tedious but I'm sure it will be interesting to mix it up - there's fizzy water/still water/cucumber water/lime water/lemon water/hot water, loooads of possibilities and they can all only serve to brighten my overall appearance and wake me up naturally....

Monday 8th June Day 1

So here we go! It's starting today and after two days at Wildlife Festival, as you would imagine, I am parched. A sun-dried tomato of a woman. A prune inside and out. My body is relishing the news that it's only going to be seeing water coming down the gullet for the next ten days.
 I am currently sleep deprived and hungover so I'm sure it will be tougher than today, especially in the mornings and evenings.

Total waters: 2 mugs of hot water with lime. 2 pints of water straight up. 1/2 a pint in the night.

Tuesday 9th June Day 2

FML. Back to work today and I would kill for a coffee. The deep sleep I expected after being sleep deprived on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights didn't happen. I woke up in the night and couldn't get back to sleep. Back to work fear of alarm clock failing? Normally I envisage the coffee at work: the smell - the taste - the effects. It's rocket fuel most of the time, proper dark syrupy coffee, and without that to get me up I was pretty grumpy. I know that caffeine is habitually used and your body builds up a tolerance to it, meaning you will need more than that one cup if you want it to have an effect, if you're doing it every day. This is something I will no longer be doing once the challenge is over - have definitely been taking it for granted! Extremely cold all day. Can't tell if it's because the weekend is coming out of my system or if I haven't got enough clothes on. Probably both.

Waters: 5 mugs of hot (3 with a slice of lime) and 1250ml of cold (a litre and a glass)
each mug = 350ml so that x 5 = 1750ml. Total of 3 litres! Pretty good going!

Wednesday 10th June Day 3
Absolute doddle today. Well not absolutely. Still wanted that coffee but made a point of doing 750ml before 9.15am which sparked me for the morning and I got loads done. Fell asleep on the bus to Beachy head and on the bus back despite eating some chocolate (Where is the caffeine in chocolate?)
I have a drink aware app which tracks alcohol intake - calories, units, expenditure etc which is quite interesting actually and is designed to help you be more aware. It sends me little notifications everyday like "how did your 'no drink day' go yesterday?" because you can log which days you plan to not drink, like mini goals (I'm not an alcoholic really) and over the festival it felt like it was saying the notifications in a mocking sarcastic voice haha. Already saved money by not buying coffee as I had my free tap water in my bag! HA! did buy a snack tho so might turn into a proper heffer as a result of this!
Saying that I had a very  minimal dinner about 6pm and then a bottle of water about 2 hours after that and wasn't hungry at all right up til bed time!

Waters: 750ml cold x 2 = 1500ml during the day + 500ml in the evening

Thursday 11th June Day 4

Had a good sleep and woke up feeling nice and fresh. Noticed an increased in my healthy eating habits in general - not wanting to eat much meat and wanting to eat a lot of fruit and veg (more than normal) which could be a result of feeling like I'm 'cleaning' my body with the water. It's good.
I had already drank  l250ml by 11.30am so I was feeling really alert and focused. 1.30pm after lunch - complete energy FAIL. Would kill for coffee, hating life, sticks in eyelids kinda tired. Researching natural stimulants but unfortunately there's no ginseng, guarana or chlorophyll to be found around the office lol. Hopefully it's just a post lunch slump, although all I had was lentil fritters, hummus and billtong! Would understand if I was chowing down on a baguette! the experiment continues.

2 pints (1136ml) of water in the evening and less food than normal.

Total water = approx 2.4 litres

Friday 12th June Day 5

Very tired this morning again, bed at 12am and woke up at 6.30am one hour before my alarm. Bit teasy (Cornish dialect look it up) because the coffee is smelling lush at work again. Maybe the weekend will be easier (if I can avoid all beer gardens, all sunshine and all friends!)
1 litre of water went down easily in the morning. Feeling alert. Lunch break was 3 hours later than normal and yet hunger cravings were not too bad at all. Normally my stomach would have been punching me from within if I hadn't fed it by 12pm.
Mug of cold water with cucumber for a nice change. Really enjoyable.
2 pints of water in the evening. One with ice. Oh who's living.

Total water = 2.8ml approx 

Saturday 13th Day 6

OK stayed up far too late watching the end of OITNB, went to sleep at 1am AND STILL woke up at 6.30am what is going on with the body clock? Feel fresh though!
Tour of London today which means 8.30am - 6.30pm on the go. Coffee is essential. Toy with the idea of taking a flask of hot water. Tell myself that's ridiculous. Anyway it's summer (is it?) everyone's been overusing the word 'muggy' which is hilarious. Especially when you hear an Essex accent saying it. MUGGAAY. Just the litre of cold water packed into the backpack. Normal sitting in coffee shops waiting for students while they're on their free time has become EATING in cafes today so I've had 3 meals before 4pm haha. Super tired now on the train back from all the walking around London so can't wait to just get home and chill out. The bank account is getting itchy, it would have shelled out at least £50 on drinks, booze and coffee combined by now over 6 days. Thinking about treating myself to a new pair of trainers.

Housemate came home steaming and it was very tempting to join but as The Boy is on antibiotics we are a water only team and kept strong. Support in numbers is good at the weekend!

Sunday 14th day 7

SO LUSH to wake up again with no hangover. Fully rested after 8 hours and feeling lovely. I can't think of a better word to describe it overall than just 'lovely'. The whites of my eyes look brighter. I feel good about myself. Contemplating continuing for more than 10 days now! I think that will probably transpire to reducing my alcohol consumption in general now that I have become aware of how good you can feel with a few days off in a row. Had a lovely wholesome day out and ended with a beach BBQ where beers would certainly fitted in well but instead opted for two bottles of fizzy water and, on such a perfect evening without a whisper of wind, it was perfect having a completely clear head, free of booze or any hint of a hangover. Got the new trainers and lipstick with all the money I have saved this week :) The Boy is expressing interest in doing 10 days himself!

Yes, that IS the naked bike ride in the background!

Monday 15th day 8

Well, for a Monday morning, that was easy. I woke up before my alarm and actually got OUT of bed at 7.30am when it went off, and went about things very productively - made breakfast, had a shower, put some washing on etc, packed my bag with things I have been meaning to take back to town for about 3 weeks. The energy level carried through work all morning up until lunch when I decided to shoot home to hang said washing out. Super productive! After lunch I wasn't tired but was aware that I had only had a litre to drink so far today so filled up the bottle. After walking around town for 3 hours I was knackered at home and glugged half a pint before dinner and then more afterwards. It definitely staves off cravings at night. Thinking about taking it further than 10 days because I'm enjoying this feeling so much.

OH also, I checked my drink aware app today and the results are as follows, now this IS mental:

The week before, in calories

Angel behaviour :)

Saved 4358 calories by not drinking this week. For some reason it's more motivating to see it in terms of what I haven't drunk in alcohol calories in comparison with what I have drunk. I guess hindsight is more powerful than we think. Whereas you'd think you could take one look at the week's alcohol consumption and think 'ok, now that has to stop' doesn't. However by looking at old habits, the new you inside gives you a little pat on the back and says we are not with her (old you) anymore and looks towards continuing such behaviour to earn more good rewards.

Tuesday Day 9

Stopped counting the amount of water drunk but it has been averaging between 2-3 litres daily and have felt thirstier for it in general. The more you drink the more you need? Still sleeping brilliantly and feeling great - very happy.

Wednesday Day 10

Well here it is! day 10! I didn't want to stop! but going out to dinner with Lauren was too tempting to just order a glass of chilled white wine and I must say that first sip was DELICIOUS, it sparked a much bigger appreciation for the taste of wine. I thought I might have been royally smashed after one glass in the anticipation of a decreased tolerance but no. I had two and was fine. It's a bit sad that it's over but it doesn't have to be. It's nice not to be bound by any rules and to be able to choose whatever drink but it has definitely paved the way for more water drinking. Your brain is 75% water so keep drinking to be more alert and focused! I was even doing mental arithmetic when I would have used a calculator before!

Back to Alcohol and Caffeine:

Wednesday night I woke up a couple of times in the night from the wine effecting my blood alcohol levels. Thursday morning I therefore was tired and had a coffee which sent me bouncing off the walls and gave me the shakes! Thursday night I had two glasses of red and woke up again in the night. Friday night I had 2 glasses of wine, a cocktail and a beer and woke up loads in the night. :(

What I've Learnt

What makes you feel better? eliminating caffeine or eliminating alcohol? I will never know unless I do two more experiments (which I am not prepared to do just yet) but I would think it's the lack of alcohol as alcohol can increase anxiety, depression and fatigue.

Association - We tend to associate certain foods with certain drinks; if you're having a coffee you fancy a biscuit of a bit of chocolate. If you're drinking wine you may fancy some bread, cheese, olives. Pints call for cheesy chips. Too many pints calls for a whole block of halloumi or an entire pizza. When drinking only water the whole time I found myself choosing healthy food always. I clearly eat very healthily anyway but alcohol always blurs my boundaries and I overindulge, always regretful the next day.

Weight Loss? a couple of pounds of water weight came off I think. I don't go by the scales, I go by feel and was waking up feeling slender. This was down to drinking zero calories and eating no food as a result of alcohol. I craved sugar quite a bit perhaps as a withdrawal from all the sugar found in booze. THERE'S SO MANY CALORIES IN BOOZE! GET THE DRINK AWARE APP!

Clearer Skin? yes and better overall appearance in the face, less red, whiter eyes, more spark, less tired-looking.

Routine - We are creatures of habit. That morning coffee - do you need it? that pint - do you need it? you can actually have a good time, if not better, when sober ; the clarity of thinking and clean feeling is just priceless. Easier said than done tho which leads me to:
Realistic as a Long Term choice? yes and no. There are more people than you think who actually drink nothing but water. I would very much like to be one of those people but it's just unrealistic for me right now. I enjoy being spontaneous in my drinks choice but will not forget the fantastic feelings that it gives you to be that clean. I read somewhere that we are unaware just how good it is possible to feel. Imagine how good a vegan who only drinks water and exercises everyday feels. That's the feeling few people including myself can even imagine which only invites another challenge, to feel as good as possible! watch this space!

Thanks RNLI, you are doing a fantastic job and thanks for your challenge. It's not much money i'm afraid but I hope it helps.

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