Since June 1, I have been drinking 128 oz. of water a day, or 1 gallon.
You might ask why I might have chosen to do this as part of the LIFE Project.
For this particular month, I chose this as a month of “detox”- both mental and physical.
I looked inward in April, decluttered in May, and now I have done a month of detox in June, including abstaining from alcohol and caffeine, watching the news, getting adequate sleep, and continuing with the activities that I started in April for the LIFE Project. (As of this writing, there are 4 more days in the month of June; I won’t have any problem finishing out the month.)
I can tell you that I think everyone should do this at some point. I have noticed noticeable changes and differences in physical appearance, energy and more.
In order to pull off drinking that much water, a couple things had to happen: I pretty much gave up drinking any other liquid, with the exception of chaga (which is non-caffeinated) tea.
I also drank grape juice or orange juice in the mornings.
But, other than that, there just was not much room to fit other liquids in my diet.
But now, I want to go over the list of benefits that drinking so much water has had for me over the last month:
- increased energy
- better digestion
- increased clarity and thought
- more hydrated skin
- weight loss
- drinking water begets drinking more water
- no headaches, down from several a month
- whiter teeth
- better concentration
- eating less of other foods, to make the water fit
I’m not exactly sure what caused all the gains and energy that I felt, exactly.
Instead of drinking matcha tea each morning, I began to drink chaga tea, which did not have any caffeine.
I still continued to walk 10,000 steps per day, which, I think, also gives you energy. But still, even after two months of walking over 4 miles per day, adding in the water was the biggest variable – and caused the most noticeable changes.
Y’all, there were times I felt like Tigger from “Winnie the Pooh.” If I’d had an imaginary tail, I would have used that as an annexed spring and bounced all over the place.
I felt ALIVE!
I mean, I already feel alive, but…it was like I felt younger and ready to go.
This didn’t happen until about a couple weeks in, but it was awesome.
When I first started, I felt really bloated and full when I was drinking all this water.
But, the feeling wouldn’t last that long before my body would just digest it, and I get on with my day.
As the month went on, that feeling pretty much went away altogether.
My body adjusted to all the extra hydration, and everything seemed to work more smoothly.
Without giving too much information, let’s just say that food moved through my body very nicely.
I liken it to when a car gets its belts, hoses and fluids changed and it seems to have a little more pep. I feel like that’s what happened to me.
Digestion overall, seemed more efficient.
I would often have to drink at least 8 to 16 ounces of water before each meal.
But that was actually a good thing.
It kept me from over eating, and it kept me from consuming too many extra calories. Not that that was a goal.
It was just that in order to fit all the water I needed to drink in during the course of the day, I learned that I had to space it out and one way to do that was to drink water before and after every meal.
To be sure, it was a little like having water for breakfast, lunch, dinner. And then dessert was also water.
That’s not a complaint. It’s more that it’s an observation of what I learned and how I had to adjust as I navigated drinking all of this water.
Skin and teeth
A couple weeks into drinking all this water, I looked in the mirror one morning and was a little surprised at the way my face looked.
It’s sort of looks like I had given myself some sort of facial. My skin looked tan and hydrated, and the tiny little wrinkles that I’ve noticed creeping up on my face were less noticeable.
My face also looked like it had a little more plumpness to it-if I may use that word.
But it was kind of fun to see.
I realize that’s my ego talking a little bit here, but it’s still fun to mention the little unexpected things that I didn’t know what would happen.
Interestingly, I received a couple comments over the course of the month from people noticing the subtle changes.
One person remarked that I seemed like I’d been in the sun a little more.
Yes, I have been outside walking and so yes, probably I do look a little more tanned.
But in reading up a little bit about others who have drank this much water in a month, they have also commented that others remarked that their skin seemed a little more color -as if they spent a little time in the sun.
I’m not sure why that would be, but it’s a fun little side effect from that.
Someone else asked about my beauty routine – my dental hygienist.
There I was, sitting in the chair, and the sweet woman asked about what products I use on my skin.
Y’all, if you know me at all, I’m no fan of makeup or other girly-girl things. It’s just not me.
I have to tell you that I was taken aback at that comment – never have I ever been asked such a thing.
I mean, I’m the girl that will chop wood on a warm summer day if I have to.
And I’ve had the same makeup in my little bag since 2012. I really should get rid of it; somehow it survived the decluttering. No, I don’t wear it, haha. In case you were wondering.
Now, give me a tube of chap stick and I’ll tell you all about the virtues of natural ingredients on your lips.
In any case, I said that I don’t wash my face – ever.
I always rinse at night with water and put an avocado-based, locally-produced cream on my face so it doesn’t feel like a patch of pleather.
And that’s it.
She said something about how it seemed to look smooth.
Then she remarked that my teeth didn’t have the usual wine and tea stains. You know, because I gave those up.
Apparently, drinking gobs of water can un-stain your teeth. I hadn’t been back to the dentist since the December before, and I was fully expecting her to say what she usually does: I see stains on your team and I see some tartar.
This time, not only does she say that my teeth were whiter, but that I had less tartar in general.
It was like that moment from a Christmas Story when Ralphie was writing and dreaming about the Red Ryder he wanted for Christmas.
Last time I went, not only did she drone on about stains and tartar, she broke the news that I had a cavity.
I used to pride myself on having so few cavities…now I’m gaining acceptance into the multiple cavities club. That’s all right, though. I’m just glad my teeth are all still in my head.
Other than the water, I really haven’t been eating much differently.
If I may interject a quick comment here: I’m not trying to be vain. I just want to share what this month of detox has done for my oral health, my skin health and my overall well-being.
I had no idea what all would happen.
Drinking water begets drinking more water
I figured out early on that I was going to have to pace myself if I was going to meet the requirement of drinking 128 ounces of water each day. I went out and got a 48 ounce Nalgene bottle.
I figured if I drank the first 48 ounces before lunch, the next 48 ounces before dinner, and the last 32 ounces before bed, I would easily be able to fit in an entire gallon’s worth of water.
I found however, not immediately, that when I drink that much water eventually I would want to drink more water.
Sure, there were days where I felt like it was a task to try to fit all this water in.
But, gradually, over the course of the month I really came to enjoy the taste of plain tap water, and really preferred that to anything else.
As I said before, I would drink some chaga tea in the morning, but I would use water from my Nalgene bottle to make the tea so that I could keep track the ounces I was consuming.
Sometimes, I would also add in a glass of juice.
But, that was pretty much the extent of any other liquid that I would drink – mostly because it wouldn’t “fit” or because figuring out how many ounces of liquid relative to what I’d already drank was more of a pain than just continuing to drink water.
Interestingly, the more I drink water, the more I wanted to drink water. The more I drank the water, the more I would notice that I would crave just water and no other liquids.
During the course of a typical month, I personally experience perhaps 2-3 headaches.
I always chalked it up to hormones.
Or my glasses.
I have a pair that fit tightly on the bridge of my nose. Though I tried to get them fixed, it never quite seemed to work.
One of these days, I will get new glasses.
However, over the course of the month, I noticed that I did not get any headaches. This is a new thing for me.
I’d always heard since I was pretty young that a headache is usually one of the first signs of dehydration. Before this project, I always felt like I was drinking enough water to stave off dehydration.
Apparently not, however.
After this project is finished, since I already have this 48 ounce Nalgene bottle, I still want to strive to drink two of these bottles per day which will total 96 ounces.
I had no idea that I was so often dehydrated.
I had no idea that drinking so much water would completely eliminate this problem from my life – at least so far.
That is incentive enough to keep me drinking.
Another side effect of the water was noticing that I’d actually lost a little bit of weight.
I don’t own a scale, so I cannot say how much I have lost.
I just know that clothes are fitting more loosely and that I feel more slim.
(I figure if I keep active and eat right, I don’t need to worry about my exact weight. And, I’ve never been on a diet in my life, unless you consider “going vegetarian” a diet.)
I will say also that walking so much is also adding up, so that is part of it.
Since your body uses calories to process the water that you’re drinking, and water doesn’t have any, you are burning more calories just by hydrating yourself – without even trying that hard.
I didn’t really think about this before starting – weight loss was not the goal, but having that happen was an unexpected surprise.
I mean, water is something we drink every day, so I didn’t think about how adding a little more in would affect anything.
When I let someone know that I was drinking a gallon of water a day for this project, the first thing they’d ask (or think) was, “how much time are you spending in the bathroom?”
Well…chuckles aside, it wasn’t that much more than before because I was already so active with walking.
Getting 10,000 steps over the course of an entire day could theoretically equate to 1 hour of walking at 4 mph, or 2 hours walking more slowly.
If you spread it out over the course of the day like I do, it means that you don’t ever sit for more than an hour at a time without going and walking for 10-20 minutes.
This always means that I’d need some water before and after and it was a great way to space out the water consumption and the steps. Which, yes, also meant spacing out bathroom visits.
Overall, I feel like drinking so much water has really helped with my overall sense of wellness and fitness.
I had to cut down on other foods and liquids to be able to drink all this water, but it has paid off.
I recommend doing this – at least for a little while. It really can show you just how important hydration is for your body.
What I missed
You know, I was glad when I was able to give up the caffeine from the tea and the glass of wine at dinner without noticing it that much.
I think it’s always good to do a little self check and make sure you don’t “need” any substance like those.
It was one of those moments where I thought, okay, good…
But there was something I missed a little bit: I never knew how much drinking wine was a social thing for me. (As a side note, me being an introvert, and having social anxiety for most of my life, you might understand that “social” can be a very interesting word for me.)
When we had family get-togethers, sitting out by the fire after grilling hamburgers (black bean burgers for me), folks had a glass of wine and others had beer.
I had my 48 ounce Nalgene bottle.
This project is making me notice little habits I have and little things that I hadn’t ever noticed before – that’s actually kind of neat.
I realize that I tend to drink more in these situations and whether that’s good or bad, it’s something that I notice I do.
I’ve missed being able to join in. However, from now on, I might also keep my Nalgene by my side. Like a little sidekick.
In noticing all this, I also thought about how I really appreciate running water and hydration.
I am very aware that folks in some other countries still have to walk miles for their water – and carry what they need for an entire day.
I’m also aware that many others face water shortages or have to drink dirty water.
My heart goes out to them. My heart also beats with much gratitude for what I have.
And that’s just it…I think all this mindfulness makes my heart pump compassion into my veins. I also want to fix it and make it so that everyone has running water.
The other parts of the LIFE Project
- Meditation continues to leave me in awe – the strokes of insight, the moments of calm in chaos, how connected I feel to everything, the way I’m wanting to try new things that I haven’t done before–
- I’ve been going to qigong classes (just a couple so far) and this last time, after doing a rubbing hands exercise, I felt my chi! It’s an incredible electric feeling! I feel like that’s also because of all the meditation I’m doing.
- The mantras and affirmations are changing my mindset. I feel like the world is my oyster, in connection with the divine. It’s changing my relationship with how I view the terms “abundance,”and “money,” and how I can help the world with my own gifts.
- Adequate sleep: I ended up pretty much going to bed like I usually do, about 10:30pm and getting up around 6am – about 7.5 hours. I didn’t quite average 8 hours, but I still felt quite rested and rarely felt the need to nap.
- The news: For the month, I just looked at headlines. It was good to get that mental detox from all the things going on in the world. Sometimes I feel like I have its burdens on my shoulders – and that’s when I know I need to practice a little self-care. I all but avoided the news, save for one story about our disabled brothers and sisters whose lives will be adversely affected should the ACHA pass in the house and senate in the US. It was incredibly moving seeing those folks demand that they keep Medicaid and it makes me think I need to get right out there and march with them, too.
- And, I’ll talk about this more in next week’s post, but now I can go public with this information: Friday was my last day of “officially working for someone else.” It’s been a busy last few days meeting up with folks who wanted to catch up, celebrating birthdays, decompressing, spending time at the lake, and spending time with family. I’m quite behind of comments and visiting other folks’ blogs, but I will make a point of getting around to folks.