The One Month Water Only Challenge
Water is one of the most under-appreciated fitness tools out there. It's incredibly cheap, universally available and so much better for you than sugar and caffeine filled drinks. It can also be boring. It doesn't have the zing of soda, the taste bud burst that comes with juice or the creamy deliciousness of flavored milks.
Most days I found it incredibly hard to drink as much water as I should. That's when I heard about Aquatober. It's the name for a challenge people take, to drink nothing but water for the entire month of October. (Water = Aqua + October | Aquatober. Get it?)
I decided to take the challenge and commit myself to nothing but water for a month. Once I got past the first few days, I found I didn't crave soda like I did when I started. I was falling asleep faster without all that caffeine in me and junk food cravings weren't being triggered by the sweetness of diet drinks.
If you're willing to give it a try, read on for some of the tips and tricks I found helped me. Remember that if you falter, don't give up. Make a resolution to be better the next day and start new in the morning.
Turn an alarm on to remind you, every hour to take a drink. If you have a smartphone, go to the app store and you'll find several free programs designed to help remind you to drink water throughout the day. I found that when I wasn't thirsty, it was easier to resist soda temptations. Drink water every hour and you're less likely to get thirsty.
Combine fruit you're going to eat with water. I like to take some strawberries or an orange, clean them, slice them up and put them in a glass of water. Then cover and put it in the refrigerator for a few hours. In the heat of the afternoon, I drink the flavored water and enjoy the fresh fruit.
Put a water pitcher with a filter in your refrigerator. Then every time you want a drink, the water is already cold and filtered as you pour it into a glass. If you live in a place where the water from the tap isn't to your liking, many filters can remove the tainted taste.
Buy two water bottles. A fresh one you take out of the refrigerator first thing in the morning, and the previous day's bottle that you can clean and fill up again. By carrying around your own supply of water, you're never far from a refreshing drink.
Map out all the water fountains at your work or gym. Then make it a game to see if you can stop at each of them, at least once a day to get a drink.
Fill a large glass of water and ice before every meal. Put it on the table with your food, just like they do in a restaurant. During your meal you might want something else, but if the water's already there, you can sip on it until the craving passes. Drinking water between bites can also slow you down, so you don't eat as much food.
Reward yourself with the money you're saving. Figure out how much a bottle of water costs. Every time you drink a glass of water, put how much the bottle would have cost into a piggy bank or mark it on a score card. At the end of the month take all the money you saved on bottles and use it to treat yourself to something; like new running shoes, a heart rate monitor or a gym bag.
You can also earn money by playing a game called Water Bank. Here's how to set it up.
Figure out who you're going to play with. If everyone in your household should be drinking more water, encourage them to join you. Then decide how long you're going to play. I like to start on the first and make it a month-long contest. You need to decide how much each glass of water is worth and finally you'll need a jar or piggy bank.
During the contest, you write down on a piece of paper or log into your phone whenever you have a glass of water. At the end of each day or week, however many drinks you've had, you put that much money into the bank. At the end of the contest, the person who's had the most glasses of water, wins the money from the jar. If there's a tie, the money is split between the winners.
Good luck in Aquatober!
You might be wondering why I don't suggest you sample from all the varieties of bottled water available. There are dozens of brands often filling an entire aisle in your local grocery store. But that's exactly the problem.
To get to you, those bottles had to be manufactured, the water had whatever special "stuff" the bottler wanted to add and it was shipped to your local store. Every step of the way, someone had to get paid, pushing the price of that bottled water to astronomical heights.
If you buy a 99 cent bottle of water and drink it, you will have spent 99 cents. Now walk over to your faucet and fill that bottle up. You would have to keep refilling that bottle 1,740 more times before it cost you 99 cents. So it's your choice. Spend $1,722.60 on bottled water, or 99 cents refilling your glass from the tap.
The price of bottled water doesn't even take into consideration the pollution from manufacturing the bottle, the trucks that ship the bottle or what happens to the bottle when you finish your drink. If you can avoid bottled water, you'll save money and be doing the planet a favor.
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