Week 1: Drinking A Gallon Of Water Isn't Easy
Although my gallon water jug became my sidekick for the month as I lugged it around with me to and from work, I didn’t always make it to a full gallon every day—it’s way harder than you’d think! At first, it felt more like torture: A sudden influx of water into my system left me feeling bloated. I spent more time running to and from the bathroom than working at my desk. I’d enjoy the first part of my afternoon walk with my dog, but then end up racing him home because I had to pee. It wasn't exactly a good time, but the promises that come with being less dehydrated—sleeping better at night, eating less junk food, clearer skin, and more energy—kept me chugging along.
Week 2: A Snacking Makeover
By the start of week two I didn’t feel any different—just full of water. I was bummed. And bloated. But then I started noticing that I was actually making better food choices. I am a sucker for sweets and a notorious impulse buyer, but after about 10 days of such intense focus on just water, I started reaching for apples instead of Airheads and for fresh cherries instead of Skittles. Was the change in my liquid diet making me a bit more adult about the rest of my food choices? Maybe. I wasn’t noticing an uptick in my energy levels or more restful sleep, but I was definitely noticing some upgrades to my plate.
Related: 13 Weird Places Water Ends Up In Your Body
Week 3: Constant Water Cravings
Heading into week three, I felt intensely thirsty—it was like I couldn’t get enough water into my system. I would gulp down an entire 16-ounce water bottle in seconds and still want just a bit more. I also wasn’t craving intense flavor anymore—although I did indulge in a pink lemonade or two every now and then—but it felt like my body was yelling out to me “Water! Water!” and I just wanted to sit down with a long straw in my gallon jug and sip away all afternoon.
Week 4: But What About Those Promised Health Benefits?
By the end of my month-long challenge, I was disappointed that I didn’t enjoy all of the health benefits I'd hoped for—I was still not sleeping well and my face would break out the minute stress knocked on my door—but I did feel healthier. I was eating better and drinking significantly more water than I ever had in my life. I recently gave up coffee, which was almost my worst nightmare, but having water to replace my caffeinated morning companion made the transition just a bit easier. I didn’t notice massive energy boosts like other Gallon Water Challenge participants did, but I didn’t feel as “dead-to-the-world-til-coffee” as I thought I would. I’m putting that in the win column.
Now that my challenge is over, I can't say I'll keep drinking a gallon of water—I'm too excited about being able to get things done outside the bathroom. But I'm definitely not going back to the sad amounts of water I was taking in before. Who knew plain old water could be so satifying?