I'm not sure where I heard about this "drinking a gallon of water a day" thing, but I thought, hey, I'll give it a try and see what happens. I'd heard it creates radiant skin, but I wanted to see if it would help curb my appetite and help with weight loss.
So I bought a gallon jug of water since it would be easiest to visualise my progress, and I got to work. I was used to drinking about a litre or so a day, give or take, so bumping it up to 3.5 litres was quite a difference.
I planned to do it for an entire month but quickly realised that drinking a gallon of water a day
sucks is no joke and changed my commitment to three weeks. It was much harder than I thought. For at least the first week, I would completely forget to drink water in the morning. After my 5:45 a.m. CrossFit workout, I'd drink about half a litre, and then another half at lunchtime, but by dinner, I'd realise I had way more left to drink. I ended up having to chug the rest in the last two hours before bed. This gave me stomach cramps and made me have to get up at least four times during the night. Setting reminders on my phone didn't help — I'd just ignore them. Drinking water became my job, and I wasn't enjoying it.
But I committed to the three weeks, and even though I found that drinking that much water a day didn't come naturally to me, I did experience some wonderful benefits. Here are the four things that happened to me after drinking a gallon of water a day for three weeks straight.
As you can see from the "before" photo, my skin wasn't great. I've battled with acne my whole life and found that dairy and sugar definitely aggravated it. This photo was taken with me two and a half years off dairy and eating sugar here and there (which explains the breakouts). But after three weeks of drinking so much water, I definitely noticed my skin clear up. While continuing to eat sweet treats every couple of days, the problem areas on my face stayed clear. Even through my period. This was pretty amazing and inspired me to stick with it.
As I shared in the past, I have issues with belly bloat, and eating sugar is the culprit. I can't have even a bite of chocolate or a spoonful of dairy-free ice cream without my stomach waging war. But when I got my hands on a new Ben & Jerry's flavour (oh hello there, Caramel Almond Brittle), I just had to eat a bowl. I was shocked that I felt fine. I drank a lot of water before and after, and I had no cramping and my belly looked flatter. I hadn't changed anything in my diet, just the extra water. I was floored. And this wasn't just a one-time thing. I experimented with cookies I baked and a chocolate bar — every time, drinking that much water each day helped prevent any digestive symptoms.
As I've talked about before, I'm doing intermittent fasting, specifically the 16:8 plan, where I stop eating around 7 or 8 p.m. and fast until 11 a.m. or 12 p.m. the next day. Experts say the obvious, to drink a lot of water to curb your appetite, and they're right! Drinking a lot of water in the morning while fasting definitely kept my hunger at bay, so much so that I'd often look at the clock and realise it was past the time I was supposed to start eating.
Drinking this much water also prevented me from overeating and made me realise that before I started this experiment, my cravings weren't actually hunger, but rather thirst. An hour after lunch, I'd often get hungry for something, but sipping down 300ml satiated my need for something in my belly. I'd also take a few gulps before dinner, sip on water throughout dinner, and drink a bunch more afterward, and this reduced my cravings for late-night snacks.
Is There a Toilet Here?
I thought I peed a lot before this experiment! If drinking water was my full-time job, hitting the ladies' room had me working overtime. Thanks to two pregnancies and a self-diagnosed bladder the size of a lemon, I was already peeing probably at least eight times during my waking hours. Once I started drinking 3.5 litres of water a day, that increased to at least 12 bathroom visits.
This was the worst side effect of drinking a gallon of water a day, but I mean, it was to be expected — what goes in must come out, right? It made it hard to leave the house because even if I peed right before I left, within five minutes, I felt like I'd have to pee again, and then 30 minutes later, I'd have to pee again! Peeing that much in a day is no fun.
On a related note, staying super hydrated also prevented any constipation whatsoever. I had no issues in that department, which made forcing myself to drink a gallon of water a day worth it.
Am I still drinking a gallon of water a day? Hell no! Personally, downing 3.5 litres a day just didn't come easy for me, but since I did love the benefits that came along with it, I am drinking more water than I was, aiming for 1.7 to 2.2 litres a day. And what's great is that I'm still reaping the benefits, minus the millions of bathroom breaks.