It’s pretty common knowledge by now that drinking plenty of water has an effect on weight and appetite. Certainly I have noticed that my appetite and risk of snack-attacks are reduced when I spend the day with my Nalgene water bottle clutched by my side.

Let me tell you a little bit about my Nalgene. Firstly, its 1 litre, a good size I think, but a little bulky for a handbag, which usually means I have to carry it under my arm or swinging by its lid-loop thing. Its completely rubbish for drinking out of on the move- the giant lip means I get more drink on my shirt than in my mouth. Some (eg. my mother) would probably say that this is a good thing, as having to pause what I’m doing to take a big swig makes me more mindful of my actions. Maybe, I’m not too hot on mindfulness just yet, but I have definately come to think there is a powerful psychologic element at play when it comes to the effect that this bottle can have on my attitude.

But it’s not really about the type of container, it’s how you pimp up the contents. Its bloody amazing how good a couple of bits and pieces floating about in there can make plain old water taste. My current favourites:

strawberries and mint leaves

cucumber, lime wedges and mint leaves

a slice of root ginger and lemon wedges

If I’m feeling the need for a little more energy in my day, I throw some chia seeds in there too, and here’s where it gets interesting: being out-and-about town with a great big water bottle of random detritus feels almost like a status symbol. People who can identify the objects bobbing around in there will recognise you as a fellow health-nut and you get a mild self-satsfied kick thinking that many will look at you and wonder ‘WHAT has she got in there? She must be one of those healthy people…’. Possibly this vanity aspect of the ‘status bottle’ makes you cringe but hear me out..

There is a school of thought, which I first discovered in the great TED Talk: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Areby Amy Cuddy, that the outward image you present to the world, even if its a false one, not only effects how others percieve you but- over time and with enough repetition- how you think about yourself. When I carry my bottle, its not just to feel like one of ‘the elite’,  it alters my attitutde to my body: I FEEL like a healthier person and make better choices based on this positive mindset.

It also puts me in mind of one of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules: “Be the kind of person who takes supplements- then skip the supplements”. My Nalgene- though bulky and slightly impractical- is a constant reminder throughout my day that I have chosen to be, in Pollan’s words “typically more health conscious […] more likely to exercise and eat whole grains”.

So yes, I do feel SLIGHTLY smug about taking my concoctions out into the world and showing off just how healthy I am, but it’s the message I’m sending to myself, the mantra in my head that says, “I am a healthy, active person. I make good lifestyle choices” that is important. Not to mention the litre of water I end up drinking, which is never a bad thing.

Thanks go to https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are

and Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2009), Michael Pollan, Penguin Books, England

for helping me to overthink my water bottle…