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After spending several years in social services, Nicole has finally followed her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. In addition to her work for The Hudsucker, Nicole is also a staff writer for Womanista. An avid comic book fan, BBQ aficionado, professional makeup artist and first-time mom, Nicole can be found exploring Kansas City rich history when she's not blogging about suburban life at Suburban Flamingo.

The Pretty Files: Gallon of Water Challenge

Image Credit Shutterstock

Image Credit Shutterstock

No doubt you have seen those articles on the internet about the amazing effects of drinking a gallon of water a day. Many of them include a before and after photograph of the person writing the article showing an astounding transformation in their appearance. I’ve been fascinated with these articles. Drink a gallon of water a day and end up looking fabulous? Sign me up! So in the tradition of me taking on various challenges I decided to try out the gallon of water a day challenge for July.

I set myself some guidelines for this little experiment. First, it had to be a minimum of six, eight ounce glasses of water for the first week. I realized that trying to cram a full gallon (which is 128 ounces) into my body may be a challenge and I didn’t want to drink too much water and literally poison myself. I figured I’d start slow with the “minimum” requirement while I got my usually dehydrated body up to speed. Second, I decided not to limit my intake of non-water beverages. I have a major coffee addiction going on and that was not changing any time soon. Third and finally I decided to count any carbonated or sparkling water I consumed. I’ve taken to drinking carbonated water as a way to cut my soda intake. With those three things in mind I carefully selected a water bottle, measured the ounces, and calculated how many I would need to drink each day. It was on.

I took a hard look at myself in the mirror the morning of the first day to really assess my skin. Every article I had read on the challenge spoke of major skin changes so I wanted to make sure that I fully understood my dark circles, dry skin, and other quirks. I also thought about how I actually felt, which was a mixture of thirsty and tired all the time. This was my baseline. I started my day off with coffee, then started downing water.

The first week was pretty easy once I got into my routine. I did have to use the restroom a lot more than normal, but I didn’t notices any drastic differences. My skin remained normal-looking, though by middle of the second week I noticed my makeup going on more smoothly. In the second week I bumped up to the full gallon. That’s where things got a little challenging. My body had more or less adjusted to using the bathroom far more frequently, but drinking that much water made me feel overly full and bloated a lot of the time. I actually felt a bit sick to my stomach a couple of times and while I didn’t eat as much or as frequently, I also didn’t lose any weight as I rounded into week three. I didn’t feel more energy either. I was not seeing those changes.

The changes I was seeing? By the end of week three my face had exploded into acne. I started breaking more than I did at the height of puberty and discovered that unlike puberty, adult acne doesn’t heal very quickly. I’m finishing the challenge today and just discovered two new pimples on my cheek. My dark circles hadn’t improved, my skin is still generally dry, and now I have an epic breakout. I also never want to drink a glass of water again, though I find myself craving water all of the time.

So what did I learn by drinking a gallon of water every day for a month? Not what I expected to learn. I guessed from the outset that I would discover that I was really dehydrated going into things, and I absolutely did. By my fifth glass of water on day one it was almost like I could feel my body sucking in the moisture and that was weird. What surprised me, though, was the things I noticed because I was so focused on my water. I realized that I drink upwards of six to eight cups of coffee every day. Two giant mugs at home, a pretty big latte on my way to work, often a couple of lattes at work, and an afternoon cup, too. That is a ton of coffee. I haven’t cut back at all, but I am far more aware. I’m also much more aware of my general bodily functions, as weird as that sounds.

Ultimately I feel like being hydrated is good, but I feel like it is a little unrealistic to expect dramatic changes in your body simply because you’re drinking a lot of water. As I write this (admittedly while sipping a glass of water) I’m only now starting to get some of those positive results. My skin is definitely glowing a bit these last few days, but in the beginning? Not so much. I think this is because I am finally hydrated. I started this challenge completely dehydrated so my body didn’t have a place for the improvement promised to happen in. Instead, my body had to get to normal before it could start improving. And to be fair? I think I could get the positive results I’m starting to see if I cut out some of the coffee and continued drinking six glasses of water a day. Which is exactly what I think I will do.

Have you done the water challenge? Are there other challenges you would like to see me do? Let me know in the comments below!

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One Comment on “The Pretty Files: Gallon of Water Challenge”

  1. Ky July 31, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    I have heard of the water challenge but don’t want to try it. I feel a gallon a day is too much for me, plus I hate getting up all the time to go to the bathroom! I just drink water slowly everyday. About 4-5 cups. I have completely cut out soda (but not coffee!) and that has really cleared up my face a lot.

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