Welcome to the first in a series of posts I’ll be doing on week-long challenges! Every now and then, I’ll take up a challenge for a week, anything from a health fad to a style challenge, and let you know how that works out. It’s part of my personal campaign to be a little more adventurous, and I hope it’ll help you guys find some ways to break out of your routines, too.
Gallon A Day Challenge
I’m sure you guys have seen this challenge floating around the internet – drinking a gallon of water a day. This seemed kind of pointless and insane to me, and I’ve intentionally done very little digging into this fad, except to ensure that it’s safe. I don’t want to know what people think the benefits are – I want to know what actually happens. I’ve actually been on this challenge for a little over two weeks at this point, long enough to actually get some results. And surprisingly – there are results!
I’m definitely a skeptic about sudden health fixes, like juice cleanses and this gallon-a-day challenge. I just don’t think there’s a way to completely revolutionize your life and health in only a few weeks. But there have definitely been some benefits to drinking all this water!
This might be superficial, but my skin looks great. I have temperamental combination skin, so it’s either oily or flaky, but right now, it looks pretty even. There’s been a real difference in the circles under my eyes, too – they’re much shallower and barely blue at all. I really wish I’d thought to take some before pictures, so I could show you all the difference.
My life is kind of one constant headache. I remember at some point last year realizing I couldn’t recall the last time I didn’t have at least a slight, dull ache at the base of my skull. And miracle of miracles – my head doesn’t hurt at all as I’m writing this. It hasn’t hurt for several days! I could chalk this up to the placebo effect, but I’m happy about it either way.
I’ve always noticed that on days I drink more water, I feel a little better, but I’ve never consciously made a goal and stuck with it for drinking, and I wish I’d done it sooner. I feel less heavy, less generally fatigued. It’s also just such a good habit. Remembering that I need to drink water makes me look away from the computer screen when I’m typing, stop and regroup during lectures, and just generally take a break from whatever think I’m obsessively focused on at the moment.
A Few Issues
No new routine is without its negatives, and sadly, this one was no exception.
Water is Heavy
When I’m going to or from class, it’s easy to pop my water bottle in the side pouch of my backpack and call it a day, like so:
But when I’m headed to the park, or the mall with a friend, or all the other non-school things I do, I don’t really have room in my purse for a giant Camelbak. I can carry it around in one hand, but that limits my hands, and to be honest, water gets heavy after a while. If I were really serious, I’d probably get one of those climbing carabiners and clip my water bottle to my belt loop, but I’m not quite there yet.
Exactly What You’re Afraid Of
To be frank with you guys, I pretty much lived in the bathroom the first three days! I wasn’t used to drinking so much water, and I had a nasty habit of remembering “Oh, Megan, you’re supposed to be drinking a gallon a day!” and chugging an entire water bottle at once. Learn from my mistakes. Do not do this. After a few days of getting used to drinking this much, and establishing better habits, I found I hardly noticed needing to use the restroom more – you really do get used to it.
How I Did It
As you may have noticed, I’m a huge fan of Camelbaks. There’s something very satisfying about biting the little spout. But there are lots of ways to get your needed water, and one of them will work for you.
I did a little math (gross), and figured out that I need five Camelbaks of water to make a gallon. It was less intimidating when I added a few glasses in there, too. It’s pretty easy to keep some water by you at all times, especially when you’re home. So I made a habit of filling up my glass before I sat down to study or surf the internet, and made a deal with myself to finish the glass within a certain timeframe. I also adopted a policy of drinking only water with meals.
I’m not the best at holding numbers in my head, so I used an app to track my water intake throughout the day. My app of choice is Plant Nanny, which tracks your water and uses it to grow little plants on your phone. It was the obvious choice for me, because I love plants and getting rewards for things I should probably do anyway. I had to adjust my weight and activity settings a lot to get my app goal to match up with my personal goal, but it was pretty easy. An app like Plant Nanny, or even keeping track in a planner or bullet journal, should help keep you responsible.
Will You Take the Challenge?
Like I’ve said, I kind of hate health fads and challenges. But this one has actually been really positive for me! As I keep on taking weeklong challenges, I’ll keep in mind that this one worked, and hopefully be able to find some more health fads that actually work. Has drinking a gallon of water a day revolutionized my life, absolved me of my sins, and made me the best person in the world? Of course not. But it’s nice, and it’s worth the effort – I’d recommend you give it a try.
Have you done this challenge or something similar? Would you consider it? And do you have any suggestions for other weeklong challenges?