Recently, a friend of mine challenged me to the ‘1 gallon of water for 30 days’ thingy. I’m sure there’s an actual official name (along with a hashtag, Instagram page and hundreds of Tweets), but to be honest, I don’t really care. The only reasons I agreed to do it were because it seemed relatively easy to do (I mean, seriously, it’s just drinking water and I already average 80 oz’s a day anyway) and she’s a good friend who needed someone to help her do it (the girl drinks way too much soda, so any change is a good thing).
So yeah, I said yes to this gallon of water thing. But before I did, I Googled the absolute crap out if to see if it was actually a thing (it is) and to see what pro’s and con’s there would be.
(and I may or may not have bought us each these awesome water bottles from CRAFTY LITTLE BUG – hey, what’s friend for if not to tell you to just ‘drink your effing water’?)
What I did find interesting was that even though health professionals have been telling us for years that we need to drink more water and that even though the standard 8 x 8 rule (eight 8oz glasses of water a day) has been the rule for decades, there is surprisingly no scientific study that proves this is the best way to go. In fact, most professionals in the health industry will tell you that the amount of water you need to drink varies with your lifestyle. If you are active all day, you are going to need to drink more than if you spend 8 hours of your day sitting at a desk. Live in a high humidity area, same deal. Live in the desert, well, you can pretty much expect to drink almost twice that amount, just to stay hydrated.
Out of curiosity I also took a look at what other people who have done this challenge experienced, (you can read about my two favorites here and here) just to see what happened. Some of them experienced things like their hair being more shiny, their skin looking better and having more energy – which are all really good reasons for giving it a shot… I guess. But on the other side, there were stomach cramps (from getting your body used to drinking so much damn water), occasionally feeling nauseous (again, from drinking all that water – usually too fast) and of course the sheer amount of time you wind up spending in the bathroom. Cause when you are super hydrated, you need to pee, A LOT.
So I did the full four weeks and honestly, the hardest thing I found was having to drink at least 8 oz’s before my morning coffee (cause that’s like seriously hard for me to do). And aside from the constant need to pee (it’s worse than when I was pregnant and that’s saying something) it hasn’t been that bad. I mean the times when I was out with M and friends for dinner it was hard to track the water I was drinking because the damn waiters were so efficient in refilling my water glass that I totally lost track of how many I had, and having to double fist coffee and water when at my favorite coffee shops is a little weird (just a side note – you can actually count the water that is in coffee – and wine if that’s your drink of choice. I chose not to, but that’s just me), but other than that it’s been a relatively easy challenge for me.
For my friend, not so much.
Even with the fun water bottle I sent her, she still had trouble drinking the 128 oz’s every day. So much so that she resorted to carrying a gallon jug with her. This was mostly because she spends roughly 9 hours a day sitting at a desk, and the mere act of getting up to refill her bottle all the time was well, annoying. Or she would simply forget because she got in the zone on a project… and then would panic and have to down 32 oz’s in one go (which is not fun). And while her co-workers made fun of her having the gallon jug on her desk in the beginning, they also jumped in on the challenge – which was a huge plus for her (all that extra accountability and stuff).
I personally didn’t notice any major changes in my body from doing this challenge (you know, aside from the whole having to pee constantly thing) and while I am happily back on my 80 oz’s a day habit, it was definitely worth doing as it helped my friend develop a healthier drinking habit (bye-bye diet soda).
If this is something you think you may want to try, do me one small favor and do your research (here’s a good article to start with). Drinking too much water can actually make you sick, kind of like having alcohol poisoning only with water, and do make sure you know where all the bathrooms are at the places you frequent. Trust me, there is nothing worse than having that ‘my bladder is about to explode’ feeling and not being able to find a bathroom (there are apps for that – believe it or not – along with apps for tracking your water intake. I used my FitBit app, just cause I already had it, but Waterlogged is a great option as well).
And if you don’t decide to give it a whirl, that’s cool too.
Till next time:
Drink your effing water.
(Disclaimer: I’m not a fitness nor medical professional so all opinions unless otherwise stated are mine. Having said that, please consult your physician if you have any concerns prior to doing a challenge like this. Seriously, use common sense. Please.)