Flawless skin, shiny hair, and strong nails are just some of the many benefits you might experience when drinking 1 gallon of water every day for two weeks. Right?Well, maybe, unless you’re me.
I chose to drink 1 gallon/ 3.785 liters of water every day for two weeks, just to see if I felt different, or if I experienced that regenerative feeling that people seem to experience when they sip on water all day.
I wanted to feel like a goddess. But instead, I went to the loo a lot more, I had to keep getting up to refill my (annoyingly) small water bottle, and my brain managed to work a little harder. I do drink throughout the day anyway so this challenge wasn’t too laborious, however, I set myself the rule that the 1 gallon of water had to be plain water; not herbal teas or coffees or water with cordial.
So, it was an additional gallon of water on top of the two-a-day coffee and three-a-day herbal tea habit.
A whole gallon of water isn’t exactly appealing on its own.
There are, of course, many ways you can make your plain water a little more exciting. Adding sliced fresh fruit is one such option such as citrus fruit fruits and cucumber. This not only makes your water taste a little bit nicer but it also gives you an extra kick of nutrients too. Another way to make your water a little more fun is to drink it from a fun bottle. A number of the best water bottles for the gym track exactly how much you’ve drunk.
In the UK, the NHS advises people to drink between six to eight glasses of water a day, which includes low-fat milk and sugar-free drinks.
In fact, around 60% of our body is water, so we need to keep fluid levels topped up.
I was prepared to be uber hydrated with my 1 gallon a day for two weeks challenge. Although I didn’t notice any outright benefits in the way I looked, I did notice some other changes. Interesting ones at that. Here’s what I experienced when I took on my water challenge.
FYI, I do go into a fair bit of detail in this piece. If bodily functions cause you to squirm, well, maybe skip to the end…
1. I peed... ALL. THE. TIME
Self-explanatory really. The more fluid that goes in, the more fluid that comes out. My wee (I did warn you that this article would delve deep…) was always a pale yellow color which experts say is the color wee that a hydrated human should possess.
If your urine is more straw-colored, grab a glass of water pronto. Of course, there are other reasons why your urine can be a different color. If you supplement with B vitamins, for example, this can cause wee to appear a little more ‘neon yellow’ than usual.
I also, erm, pooed a lot
Sorry to be a bit TMI, but we all (should!) know that hydration and fluid is vital to ensure bowel movements, alongside a good diet of course.
Research backs this up too, with a study finding that when patients suffering from constipation were placed on a higher fiber diet, those who also drank more fluid, had a greater stool frequency.
So naturally, drinking a gallon of water was going to play a big part in helping to keep my digestion ‘active’, shall we say as I already do eat a fair bit of fiber.
When I did this challenge, I was actually in Australia visiting family. If you’re anything like me, travel wreaks havoc on your digestive system and can leave you blocked up for days. It’s something that’s plagued every holiday I’ve been on at least for the first few days, before my digestion eventually settles and finds its rhythm. So, this epic amount of water really helped to avoid the bouts of travel constipation.
In fact, I’ll definitely drink this and more, every time I travel, going forward. It’s a game changer for the old bowels.
2. My skin stayed the same
How many times have you heard the whole ‘drink more water for clearer skin’ fandango?
Yeah, well, it made no difference to me. I do usually drink a fair bit of water anyway so perhaps for me, a gallon of water really wasn’t going to make much difference, but my skin pretty much stayed the same. I really cannot get rid of the two pesky red pimples currently taking over my right cheek and the dry patches on my temples continue to be..well…dry.
Despite my findings, one study did find that higher water intake may positively impact normal skin physiology. This particular piece of research was done over a month, so maybe I should have stuck it out for another two weeks.
3. I snacked less
As much as I try to avoid snacking, it’s inevitable some days, especially if I’m working from home and my 3pm sweet tooth kicks in. I react as though I’ve never been fed, inhaling anything and everything in sight.
However, during my two-week water challenge, I did notice that I was less snack prone. Could the whole ‘water stops you snacking’ thing actually be true? Well, there is actually research to back it up.
One study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition Research found that drinking water before a meal actually leads to less food being consumed. Of course, there will be times when your body does actually need food so don’t assume that you can just get by on water all day.
4. I was less foggy-headed
Whether morning, afternoon, or night, I noticed a huge increase in my productivity. I was getting more work done in a shorter space of time and finding that I could apply myself far more. I felt like superwoman, focusing on work and ticking things off the long to-do list.
Well, it’s kinda stating the obvious seeing as our body is mostly made of water, but our brain does function better when we maintain healthy hydration levels. Research has found that a lack of water doesn’t just have a negative impact on our physical performance, but also on our cognitive performance. Even mild dehydration, for example, a loss of 1 to 2% of body water - can have an impact on how our brains work, with attentiveness, memory, and critical thinking skills being challenged.
Put simply, this was a great way to boost my productivity, keep my bowels…flowing…and help to reduce my snack intake.
After a few days of actually tracking my water intake, I quickly got into the habit of just continually having a glass of water next to me, or a bottle in my handbag. So, I never fell short of my hefty gallon of water.
Although I didn’t experience the glowing skin and glossy hair dream that I was hoping for, these could have become more prevalent had I continued the challenge. So, I won’t write these off just yet.
If you’re someone who knows for a fact that they don’t drink enough H2O, or perhaps you just fancy a little boost, then I’d definitely recommend you take on the gallon of water every day for two weeks challenge. It could just be the mini reset you need.
Want to hear more about challenges you can take on? Find out what happened when we walked for 90 minutes every morning.
Lucy is a freelance journalist specializing in health, fitness and lifestyle. She was previously the Health and Fitness Editor across various women's magazines, including Woman&Home, Woman and Woman’s Own as well as Editor of Feel Good You. She has also previously written for titles including Now, Look, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Red and The Sun.
She lives and breathes all things fitness; working out every morning with a mix of running, weights, boxing and long walks. Lucy is a Level 3 personal trainer and teaches classes at various London studios. Plus, she's pre- and post-natal trained and helps new mums get back into fitness after the birth of their baby. Lucy claims that good sleep, plenty of food and a healthy gut (seriously, it's an obsession) are the key to maintaining energy and exercising efficiently. Saying this, she's partial to many classes of champagne and tequila on the rocks whilst out with her friends.
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