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I’ve taken the H2Only Challenge with three friends to raise money for the RNLI. This means we drank only water for 10 days from 5pm on Tuesday, September 13th, until 5pm on Friday, September 23rd. No coffee, tea, squash, pop, wine – even fizzy water was banned! It had to be just plain water, “H2Only”. You can sponsor me, Beckie, Karen and Keith at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/createh2only.

first_coffee

5pm, Friday September 23rd.

Wow, the day we thought would never come is here! It’s 9pm on Friday, September 23rd, four hours since I gleefully poured myself a cup of strong coffee in my favourite mug and found it tasted, well, a bit bitter.

It seems that my taste buds have adjusted over 10 days of drinking only water (and having a rotten sinus infection, but let’s not whinge about that again). I had a second cup an hour ago (yes, I know, I won’t sleep tonight) and that tasted more normal, so I expect shunning the water-only experience for a more varied menu of drinks will be just like riding a bike.

Much to my delight my husband came home from work armed with bottles of sparkling water, cloudy cider and Coke as a treat (he doesn’t read my blog to know that I was planning to pass on Coke completely from now on and apparently we don’t actually speak to each other!). While I really fancied the cider I’ve been doing admin for the baby and toddler group I help run and didn’t think that two cups of coffee AND a bottle of cider would help me handle the finer details. But I’m going to get my husband to make me a hot toddy (lemon, honey , cloves and whisky) in a minute, for purely medicinal purposes, of course.

So what I have learned from drinking only water for these 10 days?

treats

Husbandly treats

Well, it’s had no effect whatsoever on my skin, despite me having high hopes that it might improve the redness and bumpiness that comes from rosacea. I’m inclined to think that having a sinus infection which has left me extremely run down hasn’t helped there. I wonder whether I’d be glowing radiantly if that hadn’t hit me at the same time. My daily photos were meant to capture a big improvement but never mind. I have at least learned to take a half-decent selfie (my top tips: good natural lighting, hold the camera so you have to look up a bit, go for an enigmatic smile rather than a massive cheesy grin), which is a good skill to have in 2016 if nothing else.

My weight has bounced around a bit over the 10 days but I started out last Tuesday at 170 lbs (darn that baby weight!) and ended up today at 167.8 lbs, so 2.2 lbs lighter. I’m quite impressed with this because I’ve definitely eaten more cake and chocolate in these 10 days than I usually do. Nature abhors a vacuum, after all, so I had to fill the gap left by restricting my drinks choices with lots of sugary goodies (sorry, mum). I didn’t make any other changes to my activity levels – if anything I have been doing less, thanks to the afternoon naps I’ve needed every day due to being poorly – so a 2.2 lbs weight loss is pretty good.

day_10

Day 10 (167.8 lbs) – still rosy faced but 2.2 lbs lighter

I’ve also learned that I actually can decide to do something and stick to it. Although I did miss some drinks and just having choices, I never doubted that I would get to the end of the 10 days without cheating or giving in. It just wasn’t an option. I will do well to remember this in my daily life, when it’s all too easy to quit if something’s a bit hard or inconvenient. No more excuses, I just need to decide what I want to do and then do it!

Blogging every day has been great fun. I haven’t blogged for a long time as this website is usually just a portfolio for work, and it’s hasn’t even been used much for that recently as I’ve been on maternity leave for nearly a year. I’m tempted to keep it up if I can think of things to say, although definitely not every day! That level of commitment was definitely just for H2Only.

Of course, we mustn’t forget that this was a fundraising challenge and not just an interesting experiment. My friends and I have (so far?) raised a grand total of £226.53 for the RNLI (it’s not a nice round number because my sweet friend Kate down under donated in Australian dollars – thank you, Kate!), which is enough to buy five pairs of the RNLI’s special £42 non-slip reinforced wellies worn by volunteer lifeboat crew members. If you’d still like to contribute, you can give online on our Just Giving page or if you see me in real life, ask me for the paper donation form.

We’d like to say a big thank you to all of our donors and our friends who have supported and encouraged us in this harder-than-you’d-think challenge over the past 10 days!

Day 9

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I’m taking the H2Only Challenge with three friends to raise money for the RNLI. This means we will drink only water for 10 days from 5pm on Tuesday, September 13th, until 5pm on Friday, September 23rd. No coffee, tea, squash, pop, wine – even fizzy water is banned! It has to be just plain water, “H2Only”. You can sponsor me, Beckie, Karen and Keith at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/createh2only.

1_costa

It was a HOT day so this icy water was perfect!

What kind of fool arranges to meet a friend in Costa on their first full day of a challenge to drink only water? Me, that’s who. I’m more of a Starbucks girl but we don’t have one in our town, so Costa is often a decent substitute, despite the fact that the cakes are always a disappointment.

It was unexpectedly easy to pick up my water bottle instead of my normal morning coffee with breakfast, so I feared that my willpower would be severely tested in Costa. But to my surprise, I didn’t even give the coffee a second glance as I ordered a pot of tea for my friend and a glass of water with lots of ice for me. Would it have been more tricky if she’d had a flat white instead of a cuppa? I think so.

day_1

Day 1 (168.8lb)

Despite my willpower not being too stretched today, I feel awful. I mean, really, really terrible. I have a stinking cold. To be honest, it could even be man flu. It’s that bad. Do I feel worse because I am having huge caffeine and sugar withdrawal symptoms? Is my cold just masking the true depths of my body’s addiction? Who knows. I’m a little disappointed with the timing of my cold because I wanted to see how bad the withdrawal symptoms were. (And yes, it definitely is a cold. My poor 10-month-old is also in a bad way.)

I’m also surprised to find that I seem to be much more thirsty than normal. Admittedly it’s been very hot today, and I’m sipping small amounts more frequently rather than popping the kettle on for a nice brew, but somehow plain water just doesn’t seem as thirst-quenching. It will be interesting to see whether this changes. I also expected that I’d be going to the loo every two minutes, but that hasn’t happened (yet!).

I’ve lost a bit of weight since yesterday (probably just a normal fluctuation) and sadly my face is bright red this evening, thanks to the hot, sunny weather today. Come on, water, clear my skin up and flush my cold away!

Day 0

Day 2

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I’m taking the H2Only Challenge with three friends to raise money for the RNLI. This means we will drink only water for 10 days from 5pm on Tuesday, September 13th, until 5pm on Friday, September 23rd. No coffee, tea, squash, pop, wine – even fizzy water is banned! It has to be just plain water, “H2Only”. You can sponsor me, Beckie, Karen and Keith at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/createh2only 

Here we are. As I type, it has been three hours and 15 minutes since I glugged the last drops of the Coke I bought earlier today to mark the start of my water only challenge.

bye_bye_coke

Time to say goodbye

And in that three hours and 15 minutes, I have so far fancied a glass of sparkling water, a cup of tea, and copious amounts of fresh orange juice to try to beat the cold that my five-year-old’s return to school has blessed me with. Later tonight, I will inevitably long for my usual mug of hot milk with honey, or maybe even a nice hot toddy with a medicinal shot of something to help me sweat out that cold overnight. But no, it’ll have to be a glass of water or a mug of hot H2O, without even so much as a slice of lemon to help it down.

Why am I doing this? Partly to raise money for the RNLI, a charity I love despite living pretty much as far from the sea as you can be in this country, partly for the personal challenge (and to please my mum, who is always trying to get me to stop drinking Coke!), and partly to see what effect drinking only water will have on my weight and my rosacea.

Hot drinks, alcohol and caffeine are common rosacea triggers, and the internet abounds with people crediting drinking more water with calming their skin and helping them shed pounds. I am tired of having a red, spotty face, and I am tired of weighing too much.

I’m going to weigh myself every morning and take a selfie to see if there’s any noticeable difference. And I’ll keep myself accountable by posting them on here.

day_0

Day Zero (170lbs)

My friend and co-challenger Karen has taken the sensible step of weaning herself off coffee gradually. I am going full cold turkey. I want it to be hard. I want to see how badly my body is addicted to caffeine. I want to exert a bit of willpower for once in my life. I wonder if my cold will mask any withdrawal symptoms, or if I will just feel extra awful for a couple of days?

I realise that doing something as simple as drinking only water isn’t like running a marathon or climbing Mount Everest for charity, but there’s nothing wrong with starting where you are and doing what’s in front of you.

I raise my glass (of water) to the men and women of the RNLI – may your courage never falter, and may we never need your services. Thank you for all that you do.

Day 1

 

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