Book Review: Dietland

I’m a true conundrum of millenial female ideologies. I’m feminist, but confused about my personal definition of feminism. I believe all women are beautiful, but I desperately crave posting a before and after insta of myself with hot ab lines and (small) perky behind, singing the praises of balance and wholeness in my pursuit of hotness. I believe all women should be able to chase the career and life they want, but I say judgmental things about women who choose to stay home, and women who choose to work.

Cue Dietland, an outrageous book exploring all of these thoughts and more, through the life and times of main character, Plum. We meet Plum while she is 300 pounds, friendless, hiding behind her job as an anonymous advice ‘columnist’ employed on a remote basis to a hot teenage girl magazine – while Plum is waiting for gastric bypass surgery, and waiting to become the woman she believes she should be and has been waiting for since she was 16.

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The first half of the book I deeply empathised with Plum. I felt hard those judgmental looks, comments, thoughts and experiences that coloured Plum’s everyday, and caused her to shut herself inside, physically and mentally. I felt Plum’s desperation for the moment when she would finally  become thin, and as a result, finally have the life she dreamed of. I hurt with Plum when she explored her time as a teenager going through the Baptist Program, a weightloss program promising miracles. I was Plum – as a girl, I have struggled with body image issues most of my life. While I have thankfully never developed any serious disorders or disrupted eating patterns, I churn through weight-loss program after program, scroll through miles of instagram photos with #fitspo and secretly eat blocks of chocolate in the car hoping no one will know. I catch  myself thinking ‘I’ll be happier when I weigh 60kg’ or ‘when I can fit a size 8…’. I wish I had someone else’s hair, or someone else’s butt – someone else’s eyes, skin colour, smile. And through the first half of the book, Plum wished desperately for all those things.

Things began to shift when Plum was taken on by a feminist collective who helped her accept who she is. To bring future Plum (the one where Plum had her surgery and was thin), and present Plum closer together. To love and accept the Plum she is, not wait around for the Plum who will never exist. And to recognise that the life she is living, she is living now. The leader of the collective is an anti-diet industry crusader, and the inheriter of the fortune coming from the Baptist Program, which was the beginning of the true issues for Plum. Through her character, the deeply manipulative nature of the diet / weight-loss industry is explored, it is a really confronting concept. That in the end, this industry that I let govern many parts of my life, including my self-esteem, is intentionally failing, and intentionally failing me, so it can feed off my insecurities and allow me to continue on a tragic cycle of failure and self-hatred.

Plum’s time with the group coincides with her involvement with a violent feminist terrorist (too strong?) group, attacking men who perform despicable crimes on women. I found this part of the book – both the time with the collective, and the terrorist group, really confronting, and to be honest, unlikeable. But I think that is the point. The book is completely flipping the world as I know it upside down, and I’m forced to feel uncomfortable – to question what I believe is wrong and right, and to ask why. I find Plum to become downright hateful, but I was forced to ask myself if I felt that way because she had the audacity, in the book, to stand up for herself, to find confidence in herself, and reject those who forced their negative world view on to her?

I don’t have the answers to those questions, but I devoured the book on a hungover Saturday morning, and I keep finding myself thinking about it. It wasn’t a book I rave over, but it was a book that challenged me, and challenges me continuously. I would encourage you to pick up a copy if you’ve struggled with body image issues, body weight issues, with being the deliverer (consciously or unconsciously) of fat-shaming (I know I have), with what feminism is and should look like.

Have you read Dietland? I’d love to know what you think.

Water Challenge: 17 day Wrap-Up

I’ve posted a little about my August goal of drinking a gallon of water a day. It’s 17 days in, and I’m extremely shocked that I continue to be on an almost perfect streak.

To hit the goal, I have been using my bullet journal to track daily the number of Kor water bottles I knock back. To hit a gallon, I need to drink five. The fact this bottle is so beautiful definitely helps me remember to put it to work. I left it at the gym once, and left work early to go look for it because I was so distraught.

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The Kor One bottle that goes everywhere with me.

As I reported in my week one wrap-up, drinking this much water makes you pee a lot. This is not all bad – if I wasn’t getting up to pee, I’d spend my entire day sitting on my butt, staring at my computer. This is not a side-effect that has gone away, but I’m not hating it as much. This is also assisted by the fact my office is conveniently near the bathrooms, so I’m not feeling the eyes of the office on me as I trudge to the bathroom for the one thousandth time.

I’ve dropped a little weight, although I would credit this more to starting the Sweat with Kayla app than drinking water – but all of it counts! Weirdly my skin is still not smooth, but I did take a before selfie and I’m crossing my fingers a face-by-face compare will show more results than my very judgmental eyes.

The biggest change I’m noticing is how I turn to water when I have a craving for something. Craving chocolate? Have some water. Craving a hot bowl of cheesey pasta for lunch? Have some water. Craving a coffee? Have some water. A few minutes later I find the craving goes away, and I’m generally feeling much better for it. This has highlighted to me how much health is a mind-game, and how necessary it is to have tools at your disposal to combat moments of weakness. While I’m definitely not against treating yourself or depriving yourself, I do believe in building self-discipline to know the right thing for you. Learning that drinking water addresses the root of many cravings for me is a really big step in my journey to find better balance. I’m looking forward to expanding on that knowledge and finding other tools to help me address cravings and indulgences when they aren’t what I want in the long term. The other big bonus is this saves me a tonne of money I would otherwise fritter away on the vending machine that’s dangerously close to my desk!

Only 13 days left of this challenge officially, but I don’t see it being a habit I want to give up. While there’s definitely no magic in drinking exactly a gallon a day, drinking more water can only be a benefit, and the concrete goal and internal peace I feel about the number five (completely unexplainable but completely there) is helping me keep it up.

Morning Pages

When work gets overwhelming, I often find myself in the trenches of Pinterest, scrolling through beautiful productivity methods and lettering methods. The orderly presentation of beautiful things brings me a sense of calm, and a small ray of hope that I can actually achieve it.

Something that has been a recurring theme in these adventures across the internet is morning pages. Morning pages is a journalling concept, where you just write three pages of long-form journalling, preferably every morning. It almost functions like a brain-dump – just getting out all the stuff from your mind in the morning, so you can start the day clear-eyed and focussed.

Morning pages was the perfect solution to two things in my life: my 100-mile-a-minute mind, and my irrational collection of unused notebooks looking for a purpose. While I have kept a journal on-again off-again for as long as I can remember (literally, I kept journals when I was 5…what did I even write about??), I’ve been more off than on lately. Often the act of just sitting down to write is overwhelming, and I find myself just dwelling on the mundane – how much weight I want to lose / how work is hard / how I can’t wait for a break. All things that are true, but I find it difficult to push past those surface-level topics.

My two days of morning pages have both taken place in the evening. My morning routine is very deeply ingrained, and I haven’t yet reshuffled things to make room for writing in the morning. But I definitely see it being a habit that slowly shifts to the morning. For now, writing in the evening is both more appropriate to my daily routine, and also more appropriate considering the amount of crap that accumulates in my mind over the course of the day. It feels appropriately cathartic to let it all out on the page before going to sleep, and starting a new day.

In the end, morning pages, in and of itself, is nothing magical. But it is an opportunity or a key to kickstart, or reignite, a journalling habit. I’m excited to keep you updated on how it goes.

Sweat with Kayla

Fitness fads are my hobby. Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge; Soul Cycle (I actually did this as a tourist attraction in DC); barre; bikram yoga; any yoga; boxing classes; fancy gyms… I spend a scary amount of money on fitness and associated athleisure wear, and I never regret a cent.

My favourite fitness group was recently disbanded, and despite the heartbreak associated with losing my routine for circumstances that were for once out of my control, it was a good opportunity to trial something new. Like every millenial with an instagram obsession, I’ve been following Kayla Itsines for several years, and purchased her Bikini Body Guides. She had released a super want-able app last year, Sweat with Kayla:

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The pink! The teardrop! It’s everything a fit feminist like myself could want to instagram.

And I finally caved to that want. I’d done some of Kayla’s circuits before, and was looking for a way to keep up with the circuit style workout of my previous group, while not financially committing myself to something new. In a low moment (read as hours of scrolling through the @kaylatransformations instagram and feeling bad about myself), I subscribed and did the week 1 arms and abs workout in front of Grey’s Anatomy in my tiny living room.

The app is beautifully designed. Of course, beautiful things only provide motivation for so long – to which my hundreds of purchases from lululemon, Lorna Jane and Victoria Secret stand as a testament. But I’m looking forward to seeing how it integrates with my newly adrift fitness life. Hopefully in 12 weeks I’m checking in with a 12-pack and legs that actually could be mistaken for toothpicks.

Week One Water Wrap-Up

Is it weird that I really enjoyed the ‘w’ trend in this post title?… it probably is. Okay, moving on.

I shared that I was embarking on a weird water challenge, where I was going to drink a gallon of water a day. Even though I’m Australian and don’t believe in imperial measurements. It’s all thanks to an article I stumbled across where a guy drank a gallon a day for a month and reported his general improved well-being, which caused me to recall a time where I ate perfectly and drank perfectly for four weeks, and practically levitated with well-being and all-round awesomeness.

Pouring water into glass

I’m just over a week in and I thought I’d report back how I’m going.

In terms of actually drinking the water, I’ve downed a gallon every day of August except for Sunday. I blame that on my participation in a market, striking fear of needing to go to the bathroom and leaving my stall unattended over the course of the 8 hours I was there. But otherwise, 5 of these beautiful bottles of water (and sometimes more) is being downed by me daily.

As for the experience, I continue to pee almost constantly. I’m like a water fountain. I swear I drink the water and my body forgets to absorb it; it just pushes it straight through the system and out the other end. But everything I’ve read about hydration supports this course of action; I’m ‘cleansing’ my system, removing ‘toxins’, and basically giving my body a big fat thumbs up for all the work it does for me. So that’s good.

My skin got worse over the last few days, but I wonder if that’s due to bringing all the crap to the surface. I haven’t lost any weight (which is annoying, because I definitely eat less as I’m constantly  absolutely overloaded with water).

From a more positive perspective, where I spent the first few days feeling perpetually dehydrated (especially in the mornings), I now wake up feeling properly hydrated. My lips are slightly less dry, which can also be blamed on working in an office – although I think most things can be blamed on working in an office. I think my hair doesn’t look quite as limp and pathetic as it typically does. I’m also saving quite a lot of money – where I was addicted to buying skinny cappuccinos from my local coffee shop to both wake me up and fill me up, I no longer need it. I’m generally more well-rested, and I’m so constantly full of water I don’t want to plug up the space I need to get through that gallon with anything I don’t actually need.

I’m tracking my water intake in my bullet journal, but tracking the five bottles of water in my weekly spread, and the general complete consumption of the gallon in my habit tracker, which definitely helps keep the challenge front of mind, keep accountable, and to celebrate the small wins:

I’ll report back in a week as to how it’s going. The dream is that the overall effect of this challenge is that I lose 10kgs, save the world, am generally a better and more wonderful person and look good in a bikini, as well as being perfectly hydrated at all time. I’ll let you know how that goes.

 

Personal finance: Sweating the small stuff

I absolutely adore personal finance blogs. When I’m looking to curl up into a nook of the internet for a few hours, they’re my first port of call; I’m obsessed with reading about tips for saving, frugal living, paying down debt, planning for retirement. Initially I wanted to run a personal finance blog, with my own take on all of these topics.However when planning what I would write, I realised how totally out of my depth I was; I’m a half-assed saver, I live in a magical universe where I have no debt (standard millenial receiving extremely-appreciated support from my family through uni), and I still have zero idea what I want from my life, despite being 2.5 years into a legal career.

Felt even more acutely is my total inability to curb my big-ticket spending. I’ve been reflecting on this a lot lately. I generally stick closely to the standard tenets of a thrifty life, like packing my lunch and healthy snacks during the week, spending my weekends meal prepping, curbing how much I spend on takeaway coffee, not drinking at bars (also read as being a nanna), borrowing books from the library rather than buying them and living in a location where I can walk most places or take free public transport. However these small wins over the course of a week are quickly outweighed by the huge losses of impulse buying.

I also have a personal definition of impulse buying. Rarely is the thing I’m impulse buying not well thought through. Typically I find the product online and obsess about it. I save it to wish lists, and do daily procrastination check-ins on price and availability… or just to look at it. I’ll ponder on it for a month, or more. Obsess, obsess, ponder, and reject. Then one day – boom, buy. So my impulse buying is more obsessive-stalkerish than  My Garmin Fenix is a perfect example of that – I’d been desperately wanting one for 8 months, thinking about it, looking at it online, searching for the best price, and then telling myself it’s an outrageous outlay. Then one day (okay, my birthday, the most dangerous of treat yo’self events), I just decided I was going to buy it. No saving or planning, or sacrificing other things. I just found it for a slightly better price than normal, added it to my basket and pressed ‘buy’. My Amex was debited $660, and I had an absolutely beautiful watch in my hand a few days later. (I don’t regret the purchase at all, but more on that in another post).

Trying to recover $660 from my budget by not buying a $4 coffee or bringing my lunch to work is just impossible. So is the amount I outlayed on participating in a handmade market this past weekend. Or the amount I want to spend on two absolutely beautiful work blouses I found online to replace my very gross ones. Or the amount I need to spend as a bridesmaid in my friend’s upcoming wedding. Or the entry fees to upcoming triathlons I want to participate in. Or the new desk stationery I want to purchase. These are inevitable impulse purchases for me, but ones I know that my day to day behaviour can’t accommodate for.

And that is why I could be a personal finance blogger. I sweat the small stuff, and am wilfully blind to the big. I’m a living and breathing embodiment of the penny-wise pound-foolish philosophy. I battle with the competing desires of embracing a life of less expenses, particularly expenses wasted on things I know I don’t want, and spending on my (very wide) array of hobbies – crochet, running my etsy store, triathlons, fitness/activewear, stunning stationery, and generally keeping up with the latest activity trends.

I’m feeling very reflective on this topic, and I think it’s something that’s worth exploring further. I’m back on board with tracking my fritter expenses, which will provide a great insight into what’s going on and what my triggers are. I’m very confident it’s hobbies, but we’ll see how true that is!

Bullet Journal Update

I delved back in to the Bullet Journal system of planning at the start of June, and I’m thrilled to report that I’m still completely obsessed. I really think I’ve found the ultimate solution to my split personality desire to maintain a uniform system, and having a short attention span and wanting to try something new. My Leuchtterm Bullet Journal 100% achieves both of these desires – I have the uniform Leuchtterm notebook that fits within my ever-growing collection (currently two filled, and three in progress – more on that later), in multiple colours for trying something new, in multiple page formats – lined, dot grid and blank, for trying something new, and each page being a delightful combination of lists, dreams, journalling, drawings, colour, monochrome, daily layouts, weekly layouts, weight trackers, monthly overviews – suiting every random whim that comes into mind.

I spend a lot of time trawling Pinterest for inspiration on all different facets of the bullet journal – colour, layouts, collections to include, trackers to incorporate and pens to try. I feel like this system truly is every evolving and ever changing, and I’m excited that it can be constantly modified to suit my needs.

The key constant in all of this is the Leuchtterm notebook. I really think this is the premium of all notebooks in terms of paper quality. While what I want to scrawl on every page changes from day to day (or minute to minute), the desire to open up this notebook for all my scrawling purposes never goes away.

 

I thought it would be useful to look at some of the layouts and lists I’ve incorporated into my bullet journal in my first two months of use, and let you know what I found worked and didn’t work.

Monthly Layout

I trialled this for June and July. While I loved the concept, and it was kind of fun to draw up at the start of the month in anticipation of all the great things I had ahead, I found I never really referred to it. For these kinds of events and appointments, I prefer to rely on my digital calendar (which is a whole different post!). I’m abandoning it for August, but I think it is a page that will come in and out of my bullet journal, depending on the nature of the month ahead. I’ve also seen some pretty fun monthly layouts I’d love to trial, even just to fill out at the end of the month as a reflection exercise of all the great things that have happened…I’ll keep you posted.

Habit Trackers

love having a habit tracker in my bullet journal, and I find this page to be an absolute must for me. Although you can see from the pictures I only stuck it out in June (and ‘stuck it out’ is strong, considering most habits barely registered in June!), I was on holiday for the bulk of July and lived the blissful life. I’ve incorporated the habit tracker for August, and am already finding it to be a great source of inspiration and motivation to stay on track with the small life goals, while also acting as an informative record of what I actually do.

Gratitude Log

The Gratitude Log is another winner in the Bullet Journal page family in my eyes. I’ve always loved journalling, but I often find myself not bothering for months at a time because I’ve got too much to write – kind of like when you have so much  to clean so you sit on the couch and watch Netflix – or just rambling on about the little things like wanting to be skinny, instead of taking stock to reflect on the important things. The gratitude log has been a really effective avenue to reflect daily on one or two little things that I’m grateful for, and keep a more focussed journal. I’ve also found that filling out the gratitude log will prompt me to want to write something more long-form in my various journals. So a total win-win.

 

You can see that I’ve trialled a double-page spread and a single-page. I tend to favour the single page spreads in my Bullet Journal (probably as a reflection of my lack of ability to focus on one thing at a time). I have a few new lay-outs for the gratitude log that I’m going to trial over the coming months – again, I’ll keep you posted!

Weekly Layouts

I’ve trialled a few different weekly lay-outs. I go back and forth on whether they’re necessary – I really think it depends on the week you have planned as to what lay-out is right for you, and whether you need one at all. I rely heavily on Outlook for work, and as a result also schedule most appointments in on Outlook as it syncs to my phone (and new calendar app), so sometimes I find writing out my appointments for the week in my bullet journal to be just a lot of double-handling, and not achieving too much. As a result, I’ve started just writing in my non-work to-dos, the exercise I plan to do each day and any major events that I need to do prep for, such as my first market stall.

I’m really loving how unique this particular lay-out is that I’ve trialled for the first week of August. Most of my lay-outs have been more generic, since I thought I’d prefer lots of open space for lists and scribbling. I was surprised to find out how much fun I had filling in this lay-out once it was all drawn up. Maybe it was because of throwing some colour in for a change, or the fact it was more of a jot-your-thoughts situation than a formal planner per se – but I really found it fun, and I’m going to trial more of these fill-in-the-blank spreads.

Daily Lists

I absolutely swear by these. The only way I feel like I get anything done on a Sunday is to write down every single mundane thing I have to or want to do, and whenever I find myself at a loose end, consulting the list for the next item to jump out at me. Initially I was scribbling these in an old notebook that wasn’t quite filled – didn’t want to hurt my bullet journal! Then I realised how much calmer I felt keeping all of these lists in the same spot as my other brain dumps in my bullet journal. This helped not only from a minimising how much crap I had perspective, but from being able to carry across anything I didn’t get done (that was an actual task, e.g., pay bill) into some future to-do lists. I do not make these lists magical. Sometimes I write a nice header. More often than not, I write them in pink. I don’t know why, but I’m digging it, and these are the spreads that bring me the most peace.

Finance Tracker

Well…June was a big fail on this front! I realised that sometimes, life is just to hectic and you don’t feel like doing something. For me, that was tracking just how much $ I blew threw in June. July, I was on holiday. August – it’s working for me so far. I used to print off a page from the Mindful Budgeting program to regularly update, but as with the daily list situation, I found using too many forums for recording information was overwhelming and counter-productive. I think this tracker has potential to be a regular staple in my bullet journal from month to month, and I think that this simple lay-out is the right option for me.

Weight Tracker

This is a new one for me. There are hundreds of really clever weight tracker lay-outs on Pinterest, and I went for the most boring. However, I wanted to make it a page that acted as inspiration and motivation not only for the pounds I lost, but for a regular reminder of the reasons why I want to lose weight. It’s nothing special, but it’s mine, and I’m working on making it a priority to just flick to it every day for a little boost.

Collections

I have created so many collections. This is my number one favourite thing about the bullet journal – it’s like a permission to make lists about literally anything that comes into your head. I am a perfectionist worry-wart who thinks a thousand things at a thousand miles an hour, and getting all of those thousand things out of my head, no matter how huge, or pipe-dreamy, or mundane, or unnecessary, and onto a page, is like letting down an extremely heavy backpack at the end of a long hike. It makes the air feel clear and my shoulders drop down from around my ears. I swear by it. There’s no rules about what can and can’t be a collection, so you do you – get down what you need to get down. Dream wedding? Things to do on a Tuesday? Cafes to visit? New patterns to try? Shopping wish list? Things to Learn? Pen Pals to write to? Hilarious quotes? Your favourite toilet paper brands? Whatever needs to be out of your head, put it down.

 

And that’s not even all! I’ve trialled all kinds of weird and wonderful things in my bullet journal that I want to continue to share with you. At first I was scared about doing my bullet journal ‘wrong’ and putting down too many lists, or not enough lists, or not sticking to a monochromatic theme, or not knowing how to letter nicely. I have to remind myself constantly that my bullet journal does not exist for Instagram. It exists for me, and for my sanity and enjoyment.

These two months with the bullet journal have been really eye-opening. I employ the system in my personal life, and I also maintain a Leuchtterm for my work to dos. The work notebook is a literal shambles in terms of hand-writing, colour application and maintenance, but from the outside it looks professional, and I kind of love having a physical record of the type of work I’ve done while at the firm (aside from the actual recording of my time, which is a nightmare).

I definitely don’t see myself abandoning the system any time soon. I am a bit enamoured with The Simplified Planner, which I saw in a store in the USA and desperately want to buy for work next year (my personal life is far from busy or interesting enough to need a page per day!). But the flexibility and individuality of the bullet journal means that it can function independently, or alongside a more traditional-style planner. It really just does whatever you need it to do!

Okay, that’s the end of my (first of many) love affair rants about the bullet journal. But I’ll leave it with this thought: the main thing I love is that every bullet journal is different, and serves a different purpose, and inspiration can come from all avenues. I’m excited to have found some source of comfort and stability in planning processes, and I’m excited to share more about it with you all.

Sidehustling: Babysitting at 25

I’ve shared my foray into sidehustling over the last two months; I’ve netted over $500 in various alternative financial pursuits and learnt so much about taking opportunities as they’re presented to make extra dollars. I’ve done countless online market research surveys, sold all kinds of perplexing junk on eBay, dealt with the pre-pubescent rage of a young kid who hates maths while tutoring and wasted hours clicking through various ‘offers’ online in pursuit of increasing my overall income pie. All these activities have their ups and downs; flexibility is traded for significantly less return, while eBay and etsy attract fees and effort. However, my most hated yet valued side-hustle is babysitting.

The boyf and I are lucky to continue to get ad-hoc babysitting opportunities from our family. Typically this nets us $100 for the night – the kind of income where if you consider amount per hour, you cringe. But it was these $100 nights that gave us opportunities to pay a $1500 holiday in cash in January. Buy a Wii. Get things we couldn’t possibly afford on our unpredictable income. It also saves us money – these babysitting opportunities come up on Friday or Saturday nights. Typically, great nights for spending on takeaway or a bottle of wine, or a night out. 

The way we have learned to realise value from these $100 nights is to stash the cash. We have the ‘Fun Party Jar’ (very over the top name). All our cash jobs fill that jar. Each individual job can feel pointless and annoying. $100 can feel like it’s not remotely worth it. But slowly and steadily, we add to that jar. And it starts to add up. $500. $1000. Enough to make a big difference to our lives. 

To make it bearable involves acknowledging the special time it nets with family. We get the kids outside. We learn a bit about what we’d be like as parents. We shamelessly exploit screens. We make up games and learn the most delicate lessons in dispute resolution. And slowly we add to our wealth and grow our tools at our disposal to build the life we want. 

The Power of Just Doing It

I’ve been realising more and more that the key ingredient to success is slugging it out despite desperately not wanting to. 

Looking at how badly you don’t want to do something on your to do list, and thinking how awful it will be, then diving head first in and just doing it.

Thinking of all the excuses you have, setting fire to that list (figuratively or literally) and doing it. 

Considering all the ways you could palm it off and then just getting it done. 

And suddenly, when you do it – it’s done. 

The weight lifts off, the fear melts away, your mind clears and your heart sings a little. Your focus narrows, your motivation soars and your joy rises. 

It’s a special kind of magic because you can draw on it everyday.

Just do it. 

Water Challenge

It’s the first of August, and so it is another opportunity for me to set goals that I probably won’t stick to! But I’m very pro mindfulness, so I’m happy to set the goals, so that even if I fail, it brings the new habits to the front of my mind.

Two weeks in the northern hemisphere, and more specifically, northern Michigan, brought a lot of fun, sun, new hobbies, food and booze. The vacation, nor the four days of air travel to get us there / home, did not assist in keeping myself hydrated. By the time we wearily got off our fifth plane, my skin was like sandpaper, and my brainpower barely registered a wattage. While there are hundreds of ways to improve on this – exercise, proper hygiene regime, eating better (all of which I’m focussing on as well this month) – there is no doubt super hydration is one of the key contributions to making you feel like your better self.

When I first did a health challenge back in February, I remember in the third week looking in the mirror and thinking how bright and fresh-faced I looked – not thanks to make-up (which for a change I hadn’t caked on), but thanks to a fresh diet and extreme focus on drinking a buttload of water. Lots of people commented too – noticing that I looked refreshed (a rare state for lawyers, who typically just look haggard/drunk), that my hair was fuller and my skin was clear. I then stumbled across an article of a guy who drank a gallon of water a day for a month. He was paid by his work to do it (lucky bastard), and commented that despite needing to pee every 30 seconds, he looked better, felt better,acted better…and I want that for me.

So, armed with my new favourite water bottle, the Kor One (isn’t it beautiful? I think I might buy a second one, so I have the green one at home, and a purple one at work), I calculated I need to drink 5 water bottles a day to reach the 1 gallon mark. And so cue 30 days of extreme hydration!

I’m relying on the domino effect to encourage generally healthier habits so I can ditch those ungainly pounds I amassed while eating my way through the entire food produce of Michigan. The basis of this theory is that you start with building on one foundational good habit (e.g. hydrating), and you begin to accidentally do other great things, like eat better (or less!).

I trialled the gallon of water a few days early, and noticed how exhaustingly full I am all the time from liquid. I also note a regular desperate urge to pee. But I’ll keep track of these feelings, and check in with you at the end of the month with how it went and how I feel.