My mother will be upset with me when she reads this, but I don’t drink water. Yeah yeah, I drink some, but my intake is typically less than one 16.9-ounce Poland Spring bottle per day. In the morning, I have an iced coffee or a Red Bull, and at night I’ll have wine or kombucha while watching “The Bachelor,” “Grey’s Anatomy” or, admittedly, “Jeopardy!” Somewhere in the middle of all that — usually with dinner — I’ll swig a bit of H2O. To be transparent, I just don't really care for it.
I am, without a doubt, dehydrated! But I’ve been this way for so long that it’s become normal for me. On the other hand, I have very dry skin, especially in the winter. I am so dry that my roommate asked me if I’d punched something because my knuckles split and bled. I would never! Doubly, I am a stranger to lotion. My bad. My lips are always chapped, I’m prone to breakouts, I have massive eye bags, my T-zone can sometimes get oily and my mouth constantly feels drier than the Sahara Desert. On top of that, I’m always tired, and (sorry, this is gross) my pee isn’t as clear as it should be. It looks more like apple juice than lemonade.
Knowing that hydration is hailed as the cure-all for ailments like such, I set out to do the most bro thing possible: drink a gallon container of water every day for a month. And let me tell you, drinking that much water is grueling when you’re accustomed to practically drinking none at all. Listen, don’t do this if you don’t have access to a bathroom at all times of the day, because the biggest challenge for me was getting up to pee every second of my life. That, of course, is an exaggeration, but I certainly had to drop what I was doing and walk a very long distance to the faraway bathroom in my office more than 10 times during each eight-hour work day.
For this experiment, I moseyed into Duane Reade and bought a literal gallon of water, which I refilled day after day. I felt like this would be better than using smaller bottles, because if I saw how much liquid was left in this jug, I would panic and force myself to drink it all before the day ended. It’s kind of like a game.
This was my method until one fateful day when I had finished only half before leaving work. Instead of carrying my gallon, I put it in my backpack and walked to the subway. I did not make any sudden moves or gallop violently down the stairs, but when I got down to the platform, it dawned on me: my back was soaked. In true “me” fashion, something had gone terribly wrong. The top of my jug had popped off and drowned everything in my bag: a frozen pizza, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and Rebecca Campbell’s book “Light Is the New Black,” which I had only read halfway through. Now I’ll never find my light. Thanks a lot, water.
In my flustered state, I got on the wrong train and eventually made it home with melted ice cream and frozen pizza that stuck together, so I had to make it into pizza lasagna sort of situation (see picture below). After that, I happily ditched the gallon and stuck to a reusable bottle. I’m now using an insulated one made by Tervis because I am high maintenance, I guess, and like my water ice cold.
There were days that I didn’t finish an entire gallon, but I’m proud of my efforts nonetheless. I was drinking enough for a baby mouse before, and I increased that intake by a lot. My mom, a registered nurse, told me the golden rule is to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces. I weigh 138 pounds, which means I would need to drink 69 fluid ounces per day to be adequately hydrated. There are 128 fluid ounces in a gallon of water, so that’s nearly twice the mom-recommended amount.
Of course, how much water each individual person should be drinking depends on activity level, where you live, your level of health, your frequency of urination and bowel movements, and how much you perspire. In my experience, I don’t think I could keep up with an entire gallon, but I’ve definitely upped my intake to at least half. As for the effect the water has had on my body, while nothing miraculous has happened, I can definitely feel the difference. My T-zone is less oily, I’m not as tired (but I still love naps) and my lips and mouth aren’t brutally dry. It was so annoying having a dry mouth! I am quenched!
One other major thing I noticed was that I haven’t been feeling as bloated, which means my jeans aren't cutting me in half when I sit. Great! I also feel like maybe my eye bags aren’t as bad and I haven’t had as many breakouts. Of course, they still show up here and there, but that’s life. And to be frank, it’s kind of cool when your pee is clear. I’m just lucky I didn’t experience the worst of what can happen to you if you don’t drink enough water.