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 bar food 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.
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? Heck, 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.
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.