The first time I became conscious of my ridiculously poor water drinking habit was in 2005 when I was a corps member. I taught in a school and lived in the corpers’ lodge with other corps members, and every Saturday when the pure water company came by with their truck, we would go out to buy bags of water.
A few weeks after we started this, I noticed that the others bought more bags every week, while I would go weeks without needing to buy. It didn’t take long before my colleagues noticed, and, feeling self-conscious and a bit embarrassed, I decided to pay attention to my water drinking habits. What I found shocked me. One sachet of pure water for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not one for each meal; one for three meals.
That’s how I came to understand that I had never learnt to drink water properly. I only drank water when I ate. Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, I only took sips to go with my food. I started consciously trying to drink more, but then I realised I just didn’t like water, and I gave it up. I remember having a bad stomach ache one night in 2008, and when my boyfriend and I dissected what I had taken in throughout the day, we realised I hadn’t drunk water at all, just soft drinks and juice with my meals. So, of course, I started chugging water immediately, but by the end of the week, I had reverted back to my old self.
When I became pregnant years later, I discovered mother-love was way more powerful than I thought. For the sake of my unborn child, I developed excellent water drinking habits all of a sudden. I sustained it all through pregnancy and breastfeeding, and as soon as my baby was weaned, it began to wane until I was back where I used to be, realising in the middle of the afternoon that I hadn’t had any water all day.
Over the last few months, I’ve repented of my old ways, and I’m becoming better with water than I’ve ever been. Here are 12 things I learnt that have helped me become better hydrated.
1. The human body is made up of roughly 60% water, so basically, I’ve been trying to kill myself. The brain is 70% water, I’m guessing mine hasn’t been functioning optimally.
2. Water fixes sluggish digestion. Water plays a huge role in our digestive processes and cleanses our bowels. Sometimes not drinking enough water means you’re walking around with waste in your body that can’t get out. Eeeew!
3. The afternoon slumps that have always plagued me were symptoms of not taking in enough water! I had already accepted that it was part of my body makeup to start wilting in the afternoon, so I arranged my day such that my most important tasks were completed before 2 pm. Drinking more water changed all of that.
4. Water helps with food cravings. Sometimes you think you’re hungry but you’re actually thirsty. Next time your food cravings pop up, try drinking water instead.
5. You’re more prone to headaches when you don’t drink water.
6. Your orgasms are better and come easier when you’re well hydrated. Are you motivated?
7. Drinking water first thing in the morning is a good way to break a poor hydration habit. It activates your internal organs, makes your bowel movements easier, and helps you continue drinking all day. Keep water by your bedside. If you really don’t like the taste, try adding fresh lime or lemon wedges/juice.
8. If you’re trying to conceive, water is your friend. Drinking enough water helps your hormones work the way they’re supposed to, and also increases cervical mucus.
9. Keeping water on your work desk helps you drink more. Go for pretty glass bottles or beautiful flasks that will make drinking water appealing. We’ve heard we shouldn’t drink water from a plastic bottle that has been left in the car because the heat makes the chemicals from the bottle leach into the water. But did you know that hot car or not, the xenoestrogens contained in plastic bottles can still leach into the water, mimicking oestrogen and affecting your body’s own hormonal activity? Now you know.
10. Drinking water makes you more attractive. No kidding! Water helps your hair grow and stay healthy. It also helps your skin. The skin is the body’s largest organ, and it needs water to stay healthy. Even if you don’t struggle with skin issues, think how much more you will glow when you drink enough water.
11. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Sipping water throughout the day is better than realising later in the day that you haven’t drunk enough and proceeding to gulp down lots of water in one go, which can lead to over-hydration.
12. In addition to drinking lots of clean water, eating fruits and vegetables that contain mostly water such as watermelon and cucumber, can boost your efforts to stay hydrated. Fruit juices, smoothies, and herbal teas also help you top up your water levels, even though water itself should always be your main source of hydration.