Illustration for article titled Why You Should Make Drinking More Water a Habit, Not an ObsessionIllustration: solar22 (Shutterstock)

Well i did it. I drank a lot of water every day for a few weeks in March – a gallon a day, or as close as possible, without living in the bathroom permanently – but I’m not sure if I’m busy showing it.

I was hoping that lifting my half gallon water container up to my mouth would keep me tearing. Without that, I was at least hoping to end my experiment with super clear, hydrated skin. Unfortunately, my constantly dry skin doesn’t feel any less dry – if so, it’s not significant enough to make me drink that much water forever.

One tangible benefit of drinking a ridiculous amount of water every day is that it definitely makes me less hungry. I’m a perpetual breakfast skipper, more because I’m not a great morning person than any aversion to delicious breakfast foods. However, every now and then I definitely get morning pain – but not so much when I’ve already had two glasses of water to start my day. Water isn’t as good (or as fun) as a sweet cup of cold brew, but it’s better than nothing.

As for any other health benefit allegedly obtained from consuming lots of water? I am not ready to say that they are a thing. I’m just an experimental sample of one, and maybe after a couple of weeks of slamming water your skin will go from Aquaman as from Dune. Not mine – nor did it do much for the pandemic acne I acquired.

Illustration for article titled Why You Should Make Drinking More Water a Habit, Not an Obsession

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I lost it. Not conclusive. I’m basically the same place as three weeks ago. Maybe that’ll go down a bit as that gallon per day drops back to a more reasonable amount and I (presumably) stop holding back that much fluid. But I don’t feel like improving my water feature and suddenly gave myself a clear path to a more comfortable figure. It’s just water; It’s not a miracle cure.

As I said last weekThe greatest gain the water challenge brought me was keeping my health habits at the forefront of my mind. I haven’t had a soda all month – and I’m not even going to share what my old habits were there. I will continue this as long as possible. At the very least, I’ll be reducing my soda consumption to “sometimes groceries” instead of making it the standard option for every lunch break.

I am also thinking more about healthy eating in general. I go for delicious, simple proteins mixed with greens instead of foods that are super fat, fried, or filled with tons of carbohydrates. Water isn’t the only source of my newfound healthy eating habits, but this challenge definitely got me into the mindset to recalibrate.

In all honesty, I’m relieved that I no longer have to worry about my water intake. It’s like exercising: forcing yourself to stick to a static schedule is great when you need to start (or start over) a habit, but when you’re the type of person who pushes yourself to Sticking to your M / F / F fitness plan, no matter what, you may be doing yourself a disservice in the long run.

Take this Wednesday off. Go back and do an easy day on Saturday. Do only two days this week. Who cares? Forcing yourself to do something when you don’t want to do it has its downsides. Most importantly, this includes the likelihood that you will associate unhappy, uncomfortable feelings with this activity. While some people may be able to stick with this lifestyle for some time, others (myself included) are likely to give up an activity that feels more like an awkward commitment than something that is fun, exciting, and good.

Illustration for article titled Why You Should Make Drinking More Water a Habit, Not an Obsession

It’s safe to say that if I forced myself to achieve a daily water goal, I would probably drink less water at some point. I would give up and go back to my old, unhealthy ways or not think about it much at all. By moderating my intake – my habits, really – I feel like I am making a more strategic decision that will help me make long-term, positive change.

And that is my other great insight from this water challenge: Do not force it, even if “it” is theoretically something healthy. Force them to get used to a new lifestyle choice a little, but then be more sensible in the future. Chances are better that you will stick with it. If nothing else, you will have to pee much less often.