My great journey began, like most journeys do, with a divine message from Beyonce.
Or, more specifically, it began when I was listening to “Lemonade” on a plane ride home from Wisconsin after a solid week of drinking “Wisconsin-ably” with my family. A week of imbibing roughly 10,000 calories of beer a day – in addition to living off of cheese and not exercising – had taken its toll on me mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
It was in that moment that I knew I needed to make a change, so, I did what any self-respecting millennial woman would do under the same circumstance: look at 30-day health challenges on Pinterest.
The moment I learned that Beyonce drinks a gallon of water a day, I was sold. So began what the internet has dubbed “The Water Gallon Challenge.”
Thirty days later, I can confidently inform you that even though I am possibly as hydrated as Beyonce, I am no closer to being her.
I can say my skin appears to look marginally better, my hair’s a little softer (but I also changed shampoo because a different brand was on sale), I need less caffeine, hangovers became virtually non-existent and all of my articles on 9NEWS.com are perfect and devoid of typos.
Ok … part of that was a lie. But below, you’ll find some tidbits about my experience during the gallon challenge:
The bathroom became my second home
If you didn’t know I was drinking a ridiculous amount of water every day, you might have thought I either had severe gastrointestinal issues or a debilitating drug problem.
During a nine-hour workday, I would find myself going to the bathroom 15 times … at least. I was peeing so much my coworker whose desk is conveniently located near the ladies room was taking a tally. I’m 90-percent sure that 9NEWS’ water bill increased directly as a result of me.
Here's the GIF of the journey:
And when I wasn’t at work, I found myself believing Port-a-Potty’s I would have once avoided were some sort of palace. Thirty minute drives became a race against time … or more specifically, my bladder.
My gallon jug became a part of me
I majored in journalism. That means that calculating how many ounces are in my water bottles and then figuring out how many of those makes a gallon is far too taxing on me from a mathematical standpoint. So, I ended up just filling up a gallon jug of water and calling it good.
Did people laugh at me whenever I took a swig straight from my jug? Maybe. Did I look ridiculous walking into work and carrying that thing around? Probably. Did it fit in the refrigerator of my overpriced Denver micro-apartment? Hell no.
But, I do feel like my forearms are marginally stronger after this 30-day journey. And I still can’t tell you off of the top of my head how many ounces are in a gallon, which I consider a win.
On day 30, I also came up with the perfect hashtag for this challenge (other than #millennial): #juglife. You’re welcome.
I was suddenly able to function without coffee (and had more energy overall)
The gallon challenge coincided with my transition from a 1:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. shift to a 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift – which, to put it lightly, was a slight shock to my sleep schedule.
And this was possibly the biggest benefit of the gallon challenge: thanks to being super hydrated, I didn’t need to drink coffee. At all. I actually felt energized and awake right after I woke up – something that wasn’t the case when I was drinking less water.
In addition to helping me adjust to my new schedule, the gallon of water also made me feel a little bit more energetic when I went on runs in the evening. That's right internet: I'm publicly telling you I run sometimes.
As for my work performance? I sent my two managers an informal survey asking if I was noticeably better at my job during my quest to be more like Beyonce.
Here’s the response I received from one of them (the other claims to have "not gotten to the email"):
“No – you were too busy going to the bathroom to do your job. Kidding of course.”
I take that as a definite win.
I found myself snacking way less
Usually, me at work (and in life) consists of constant eating. But, thanks to the fact that a gallon of water was sloshing around my stomach, I was suddenly far less hungry – and actually found myself turning down free food.
Hangover? What hangover?!
I admit this is not the best reason to do the gallon challenge – in fact, Beyonce would probably frown on it -- it’s just a very useful benefit.
The first test of the gallon challenge’s hangover powers came when I attended a wedding with an open bar. Deciding to see what this thing was capable of, I drank four glasses of red wine before switching to Coors Light (which is basically water, right?).
I was convinced that when I woke up in the morning, I’d have an epic red wine headache. Instead … I just felt fine. I did need a few swigs of water to feel totally right, but that’s way less than the day of staying in bed and drinking Gatorade with an aura of self-loathing that it usually would have taken.
As the finale of my gallon challenge, I put it through the ultimate test: the Great American Beer Festival.
After finishing my 30th jug of water, I ventured to the Denver Convention Center, where I drank roughly a gallon of beer and did the sorts of things folks often do at GABF.
In addition to expanding my stomach to be able to handle the task of drinking $80 of beer, the gallon challenge also helped me hop out of bed in the morning and feel mostly fine.
Once again, this is not the reason to do a health challenge. At all.
It’s just an added benefit … even though I should’ve tried to eat $80 of kale instead.
I probably will not continue drinking a gallon of water every day just because it is a lot of water – and the constant bathroom breaks were getting a little annoying.
But, what the challenge did teach me is that I was probably not hydrated enough to begin with. I will admit that thanks to the challenge, my hair and skin feel a little bit better, and I now have a multi-million dollar modeling contract (by multi-million dollar modeling contract, I mean I get to retain my job at 9NEWS.com).
Could it be some sort of placebo effect? That’s possible, but I will say that Beyonce is probably onto something with her hydration strategy.
It certainly gives the album title “Lemonade” new meaning.
To read about how other people do the gallon challenge, check out this Pinterest search: http://bit.ly/2d7N45Q