Sunday, January 8, 2023

I Drank a Gallon of Water a Day for a Week - Here’s What Happened


What follows is a work of fiction. All characters, situations, observations, and insinuations are fictitious, coincidental, or accidental. The characters were pulled out of thin air and have nothing in common with any human being who ever lived, nor any zombie or otherwise undead individual. Nothing that happens in this story ever happened to a real person, or ever will. In fact, this story is practically science fiction, except that it’s totally unscientific and doesn’t have spaceships or aliens or anything. That said, any similarity of any character to an actual space alien, past present or future, is (obviously) purely coincidental or conjectural.

I drank a gallon of water every day for a week – here’s what happened

I was casting about for a New Year’s Resolution but nothing was coming to mind. Last year I resolved to dance like nobody’s watching, and I even bought a new Bluetooth speaker, but I found the dancing made me sad, because I live alone and there was nobody to watch me. A one-man dance party doesn’t feel much like self improvement.

So this year I decided to try drinking a gallon of water a day. Supposedly hydration is really important, and after all, what have I got to lose? Because I’m in an apartment building, my water bill is the same no matter what I do.

I thought about buying one of those graduated gallon water bottles with motivational phrases on them—you know, starting at the top with “GOOD MORNING” then “HYDRATE YOURSELF” then “REMEMBER YOUR GOAL,” etc., down to “ALMOST FINISHED” and then finally “YOU DID IT” at the bottom—but then I’m like dang, that’s $25 I’d rather not spend. Plus, I know myself, and I respond better to the whip than the carrot, if you catch my drift. So I washed out an empty gallon milk jug and wrote on it with a sharpie:


I set everything out the night before, feeling pretty excited. I hadn’t felt such keen anticipation since I started charging my new Bluetooth speaker at about this time last year.

Day One

At 9am I filled my big jug and then poured about a pint of it into my teakettle. This is the hardest part since there’s some sloshing and trial-and-error involved but I think it’s the genius of my method. See, others who do this drink only out of their $25 graduated jug and drag it around with them, like wearing a badge of honor so everyone will ask about it and they can start taking credit for their awesome resolution in advance. That’s not for me, I don’t need to brag. Plus, I don’t need the ruggedness of the Motivational Bottle … I don’t worry about leaks since I’m mostly at home. When I go out I’ll fill some smaller, more reliable vessel from the main one and then return for refills.

Some say it’s bad to hydrate with coffee but if I gave that up, I’d be doing two New Year’s Resolutions and I don’t want to boil the ocean here. I’m trying to tackle something I can actually achieve, so as to be more compassionate with myself (my Resolution from two years ago that I’m still struggling to keep).

Well, things were going fine until about 11am, when I’d peed so many times I felt like I was wearing out the carpet between my armchair and the toilet. I was peeing so much it seemed like the bowl would be completely full by nightfall. I’m of the “if it’s yellow keep it mellow, if it’s brown wash it down” school, in terms of flushing, except “keep it mellow” never made sense—I mean, what’s non-mellow about flushing? So I think of it as “if it’s brown, flush it down, if it’s jaune leave it alone.” (I am considering putting that on a placard above the toilet, with a little translation of “jaune” from the French.)

Just to divert my mind from the constant awareness of my pestering bladder, I went to the park and sat at my favorite bench for a while, watching life go by, and then this man came up to me, sat down, and said, “Hey, are you one of the dads?” I was like, “No,” and he said, “So you just like sitting and watching kids on a playground?” and I just stared at him, like, isn’t that obvious? He went on to say, “Look, a couple of other parents and I have talked about this and we all agree, we’re gonna have to ask you to leave.” So I shot back, “I was leaving anyway, I have to pee!” I have to admit, it was nice to have a really good comeback for once.

In terms of the more tangible benefits of all this drinking, I have to say that by 9pm, I’d never felt so good. My skin seemed better, I felt stronger in my body, my posture was more erect … even my hair felt better. Totally worth all the peeing.

Day Two

My bladder woke me up from a dream in which I was touring this old Victorian mansion that they’d turned into a museum, and I had to pee (yes, even in my dream) and found this tiny little half-bathroom, but instead of a toilet it just had a little portal to pee into. Halfway through my business the whole room started to move, slowly lowering toward the ground floor, and I realized it wasn’t a bathroom, it was an elevator! Yikes! I was like, “When I reach the next floor, the door’s gonna open and I’d better be finished!” Then I woke up.

The drinking itself was still pretty easy today and I nailed the pour into my teakettle, first try. If anything the constant peeing was even worse, though, and beyond that, by lunchtime I started getting pretty bored of drinking plain water. I’d been warned by drink-a-gallon-a-day websites not to have any sugar, though, because it’d throw off my electrolytes. Then I realized hey, if I make Top Ramen soup and drink the broth, that’s two cups of water right there! So I did that.

Big mistake! OMG, all the salt in that ramen totally bloated me! I should have known! Salt is an electrolyte! I stood in the mirror looking in horror at my bloated (and unfortunately hairy) belly (though not hairy due to drinking water, I hasten to add). I looked kind of like ET. Out of habit, I also scrutinized my face in the mirror, and as I looked closer I realized hey, my eyebrows are looking good! I flicked them with my finger a few times and realized, wow, drinking all this water has totally cured my eyebrow dandruff! Bonus!

All the afternoon water drinking eventually brought down the bloat, and after my final 9pm pint—nailed it!—I was ready for some yoga. I put in my video and (literally) went through the motions. I still can’t even come close to the Yogi Squat, but it’s only the second day of my new hydration regimen.

Day Three

I have hit my stride. The more I drink water now, the more I love it. In fact I doubled up on my 9am pint, drinking a whole quart, and it felt so good. I paid a price, though: I immediately had to pee, and then afterward, the sensation of water on my hands as I washed them made me have to pee again immediately, and for a second it looked like a vicious cycle I’d never break out of.

I went for a little hike and had to pee so bad halfway through. Alas, the outhouse at the trailhead was still at least thirty minutes away, which was like two pees worth, and there were so many hikers! I couldn’t find any privacy! I bushwhacked off-trail for a bit, and then my sneakers lost traction and I slid down into this ravine, and at the bottom I discovered—to my shock and horror—a dead body! It looked like some young adult hiker, halfway claimed by the earth. I scrambled up that slope so fast I couldn’t believe it. Surely my excellent hydration gave me wings. Problem was, just before reaching the trail again I slid on some leaves and tumbled all the way back down there. Then I looked more closely at the body and realized it was just an old shirt tangled around a fallen tree limb. Silly me.

Day Four

Another peeing dream woke me up and for a terrifying moment I thought I’d wet the bed. But I hadn’t … just a little leakage which is totally normal when you drink a gallon of water a day.

In addition to the better skin, relief from back pain, and higher energy, all of which I’d secretly hoped this hydration would give me, I got a big surprise: I got a job! My first in years! It’s selling tickets at the Events Center. The ticket window opens hours before the game and things start off really slow, so peeing wasn’t a problem at first—I’d just put the “BACK IN 5 MINUTES” sign out and go do my business. But once the rush started, no dice. I could not leave my post. It got worse and worse to where people were asking, “Are you okay!?” I guess my face was getting contorted. But then I realized I could just pee in this wastebasket without even getting out of my seat! Don’t worry, the wastebasket has a liner. All the wadded-up paper napkins in there dampen the sound down to almost nothing. I did have to sit pretty far forward in my chair to, well, eclipse everything, but nobody was the wiser.

Now, if you think I’m trying to connect the dots between drinking water and getting a job, I totally am. Those may seem unrelated but if I hadn’t been so hydrated, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to accept the offer.

The health benefits continue. I did an experiment: I looked in the mirror, located a zit, studied my face carefully to remember exactly where it was, drank a pint of water, and then looked again. Sure enough, the zit was gone! Water is like a miracle elixir!

Day Five

Other gallon-a-day blogs had warned me that I’d get bored of drinking water. Well, so far they’re wrong, but you know what is boring? All this peeing! It’s getting so old! Also, even though practice normally improves one’s prowess at practically anything, I seem to be getting worse at not spattering the rim. Either that, or I’m just more observant. I have to mop up the rim pretty much every time now. And my hands are starting to get a bit raw from all that washing, like with OCD people. The rest of my skin is positively glowing from all the water, but for some reason not my hands. I was reading on this one blog about smearing lotion on my hands and then putting on disposable rubber gloves, right before bed, so I’m considering that.

I showed up to work today but nobody was there. I searched everywhere and finally found my supervisor, and it turns out I misunderstood about the job: it’s not a daily thing, but only as needed, when they have a big game and somebody calls in sick. Oh well. I have a small passive income and it’s better to focus on my blogging anyway.

I fell asleep today and had one of those marathon naps where it’s hard to move afterward, so I missed one of my drinking sessions. I chugged a quart after that and was back on track.

Day Six

Not so much to report, actually. Drinking water, even a gallon a day, turns out to not actually be that complicated. One highlight: the hydration is helping my vision. If I really squint, I can read the kitchen clock from the kitchen nook table without my glasses.

Day Seven

This has gone so well, I woke up this morning thinking about continuing my gallon-a-day habit for the whole month, or more. This would give me a good blog topic while continuing to improve my health in umpteen different ways! But I’ve also been thinking a lot about the new Avatar movie, which is over three hours long. I really want to see it in the theater, and I’m sure the crowds have thinned out by now, but there’s no way I could make it through without getting up to pee at least six times. Who knows how many plot points I’d miss. And I’ve been looking forward to this movie for a long, long time.

And that got me thinking that, just like with last year’s dancing, achieving this Resolution is making me a little sad. Why, you may ask? Well, at some point I’ll have reaped all the health benefits, and then I’ll have nothing left to look forward to. So I think after I polish off my last pint tonight, I’ll call it quits, and keep the optimal hydration project in my back pocket for later. It’ll be like my ace-in-the-hole, my Plan B, the card up my sleeve. Next time I’m feeling really low, I’ll just start back up the gallon-a-day, and things will start to get real, real good again!


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