I drank a gallon of water a day for a month — here’s what happened to my body
You’ve probably heard about the importance of staying hydrated, and drinking enough water has been touted as a solution to many health problems—from weight loss to getting rid of skin blemishes. But how much water should you drink per day and what happens to your body when you increase your water intake? To learn more and separate fact from fiction, I filled out my own the best bottle of water several times and drank a gallon of water every day for a month.
When it comes to how much water you should drink each day, the jury is out on both sides Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (opens in new tab) and Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) (opens in new tab) saying that you should drink to be thirsty. In this regard, FNB states as a goal, women should have about 2.7 liters a day, and men should drink about 3.7 liters of water. A gallon of water is 3.7 liters.
From speeding up your metabolism to brightening your skin and reducing headaches, drinking gallons of water is supposed to bring numerous health benefits. As I sipped water, I kept a close eye on all the changes, both in terms of my hunger level and my skin. Read on to find out what happened.
How much is a gallon of water?
As mentioned above, a gallon of water is 3,785 liters of water. I already drink a lot during the day, but for this challenge I made sure that this amount of water was just water, not coffee or herbal teas.
I drank a gallon of water a day for a month — here’s what happened
It turns out that gulping down more water wasn’t the magic cure – everything I’d hoped for. Here’s what I learned a month later.
1. It took me a lot to pee
This one isn’t that surprising, or pretty, but it turns out that drinking a gallon of water means you go to the bathroom a lot more. It’s really quite simple – the more liquid you drink, the more it comes out. However, science says this isn’t a bad thing – the more you pee, the more toxins you flush out of your body. It can also help your body break down food more easily, and studies (opens in new tab)found that drinking enough water can relieve constipation.
At the beginning of the month, I noticed that going to the toilet didn’t stop when I did and that I got up at night to pee. As someone who prioritizes eight hours of sleep a night, this wasn’t fun, so I started drinking my last water a few hours before bed to make sure I didn’t need that midnight pee.
2. I felt less hungry
Although I was a little bloated the first few days of the increased water intake, once I got the hang of it, I definitely noticed that I snacked less during the day. And there’s a simple reason for that – drinking water, especially before a meal, can help you feel full and therefore eat less.
Although I’m not trying to lose weight, studies (opens in new tab)they found that increasing your water intake can help with weight loss by speeding up your metabolism and preventing you from feeling as hungry. Of course, long-term weight loss comes from a healthy diet, exercise, and good sleep, so just sipping water isn’t enough, but if weight loss is your goal, adding more water to your day can’t hurt.
3. I haven’t noticed any improvement in my skin
I was hoping that after a month of drinking gallons of water a day I would be able to say I had glowing skin like the powder commercial, but alas, I still break out. Most of my blemishes occur around my jawline, which is often caused by hormonal fluctuations, however, and no amount of water will help with that.
The skin is made up of three different layers, and if the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, does not contain enough water, your skin can lose its elasticity. However, after a little digging, there doesn’t seem to be any research to prove that drinking more water has much of an effect on skin hydration. Instead, it appears to be what you put he your skin that makes a difference.
4. I still had hormonal headaches
According to research (opens in new tab), dehydration is a common cause of headaches and migraines, so I thought drinking a gallon of water a day would help get rid of mine. Although I didn’t have as many headaches as usual towards the end of the work day (something I always attributed to staring at my laptop too long), I still had headaches first thing, although according to my period tracker, this could be hormonal.
5. I had to balance my water consumption with my workouts
Water can help transport oxygen and glucose around your body, which in turn can give you more energy during exercise. Dehydration can also negatively affect your training performance – dehydration occurs when you lose only 2% of your body’s water content, however when you sweat, you can easily lose more than that when you exercise.
As a general rule, I always drink when I’m thirsty during training and running. While I didn’t notice any dramatic difference in my athletic performance, I did find that I had to measure my last drink at least 30 minutes before going out, or else I’d feel sluggish and get a side stitch. I imagine that too because I’ve been drinking a gallon of water a day, I haven’t been dehydrated at all for the past month, meaning I haven’t suffered any signs of dehydration during long runs and strength training.
I drank a gallon of water a day for a month — My Verdict
Other benefits of drinking gallons of water include a reduction in hangovers, less puffy under-eye circles, and better energy levels. I’ve only had a few glasses of wine in the past month, so I’ve stayed hangover-free and haven’t noticed much difference in the puffiness around my eyes. However, I felt more energetic and could concentrate better at work.
I also learned to like the taste of water. Before this month, I often opted for a drop of squash in my water bottle, but that felt like cheating for this challenge. After drinking gallons of the stuff, I found the easiest way to enjoy the water was to throw a few ice cubes in my insulated bottle, meaning the water stayed cold for several hours. I would also mix things up by adding a slice of cucumber here and there. (See our picks for the best water bottles.)
My verdict? After a month, the habit of having my water bottle next to me is well and truly established. While I won’t be monitoring my consumption levels as closely in the future, I will continue to sip water throughout the day. If you suffer from daily headaches, low energy and feel like you’re constantly on the graze, this might be a challenge to try – just don’t expect miracles when it comes to your skin.
It is understood that certain medical conditions may require limited water intake to avoid fluid overload. If you are on therapy, it is worth checking with your doctor before changing your fluid intake.
Looking for more workout inspiration? Read what happened when I did 10,000 steps a day for a month here. Plus, check out what happened when our fitness writer tried this exercise with dumbbellsand that Pilates training of abs and glutes.
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