Last year I was in the final year of my education journey, a third year university student with a healthy (yes really!) diet, but a seriously bad diet cola addiction! Most days I would be cracking open a can before it even hit 10am, with a day of lectures and dissertation writing ahead. The more I drank the more I wanted it and I became dependant on having at least 5 cans per day. I suffered with headaches and became irritable if I didn’t get my ‘fix’. It was then I decided I really need to sort my lifestyle out, despite my healthy vegetarian diet I was becoming dependant on caffeine and sweeteners. And it was having a negative impact on my productivity not mention mood swings.
I’ve never been a big drinker of water, we live in a society where it’s cheaper to buy a can of Pepsi than a bottle of water. I opted for the tasty fizzy drinks and neglected my body’s need for H20. Now I aim to drink 8 glasses of water a day, and I feel so much better for it. My mood is lifted, I have a higher concentration span and no longer suffer from my ‘caffeine headaches’. It was tough but I gave it up slowly, cutting down to 1-2 cans a day and eventually to zero. A series of angry headaches along the way and I’ve finally cut it out of my life.
So for any fellow caffeine addicts out there, here’s why you should be ditching the coke for the clear stuff:
- Water increases your concentration skills! A glass of water before and after a lecture or study session will improve both your concentration and information retention levels. In the last term of University when my water intake was going up I found that I was able to focus on work for up to double the amount of time than previously. My productivity rocketed and my head felt clearer.
- It helps with bad skin! If you find you suffer from acne and breakouts then water can help to improve elasticity in your skin and flush out toxins that cab be the reason for those pesky pimples. I use to suffer from breakouts on my forehead but now my skin is clear and healthier than it’s ever been.
- It can increase your metabolism! If you’re guilty of a few end of night kebabs then you might find you put on a little bit of ‘student weight’. It happens! We’ve left home for bigger and better things but also waved farewell to well stocked kitchens and a constant bowl of fresh fruit. Water can boost your natural metabolism and help you burn more calories when exercising!
- It can curb unnecessary eating! Those mid-afternoon sugar cravings you get can be put under control by simply drinking more water. Often your body with growl and you’ll associate this with hunger when in fact you’re quite often dehydrated.
- It strengthens your immune system and will help prevent illnesses such as the common cold as well as arthritic problems. Try and drink between eight and ten glasses a day for maximum benefits.
So it’s easy to list off the benefits but adapting your lifestyle, as I did, can be challenging without a few changes. So here are a few tips speaking from experience –
Carry around a bottle! I use the Bobble bottle as it filters water and is BPA free, but there are lots of alternatives. You can also buy fruit infusing water bottles if you would prefer a fruity addition to your water! Avoid refilling cheap plastic water bottles as they can leak harmful chemicals.
Use an app to track your progress! There are various apps you can download such as Waterlogged and Daily Water Free. These will track and remind you to drink more water! Handy if like me you can be a little forgetful. Now there’s no excuse!
Set a daily goal, that way you always have something to aim towards. Don’t expect to be downing 10 glasses in your first few days. Set achievable goals and nudge them up as you go along. I started with 1 or 2 glasses and gradually built up to 8 a day.
Persuade your work place to invest in a water cooler! At University I was lucky to be surrounded with water coolers to grab a chilled glass of water. At my new office job there was only a (questionable) tap. I mentioned to my boss that a water cooler might be a nice addition especially for summer, she agreed and now the office water cooler doesn’t stop flowing! If you don’t get anywhere with this request you could try a traditional water filter jug.
I hope these tips will be of help, if I can do it you can!
Tilly-Jayne is a UK fashion & lifestyle blogger, with an interest in all things vegetarian and health related!