I Actually Drank The Recommended Amount Of Water Daily — And It Pretty Much Changed Everything

I like to think I’m a relatively healthy person. I exercise regularly, eat healthy (most of the time), and understand the importance of living a balanced life. But I fall short when it comes to staying well-hydrated.

I have been known to go an entire day with just a coffee in the morning and an iced tea at lunch. By bedtime I’ve consumed no more than 20 to 24 ounces and am not only thirsty but often have a throbbing headache and worse, feel dizzy and foggy. To compare, the average person needs eight 8-ounces glasses of water a day (but if you exercise regularly or live in a warmer climate, you may need even more).

I get so busy during the day that I simply forget to drink. My skin is often dry, and I tend to have minor but frequent breakouts and regular muscle cramps and joint pain. Although I blame these things on age, as a certified health coach, I know enough about nutrition to know that all these symptoms can also be attributed to dehydration. Dehydration can also lead to frequent headaches and muscle cramps and/or joint pain, hunger, poor digestion, wrinkles, dry skin, and nausea. Meanwhile, the benefits of good hydration include enhanced metal clarity, slowing the aging process, improved digestion, relieving back and joint pain, elimination of toxins, and weight loss.

So I decided to challenge myself by drinking 72 ounces of water every day for 10 days. But before starting, I set two rules to help me succeed.

  • Rule No. 1: Start every morning with no less than 24 ounces of water (tea and coffee do not count).
  • Rule No. 2: Carry a water bottle at all times so I have no excuses.

Here’s what happened:

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Day 1:

Day one was tougher than expected. I actually was so full after lunch that I found it extremely difficult to keep up with my water consumption. I am quickly realizing that to drink 72 ounces of water, I need to substitute my lunchtime iced tea with water as it’s the perfect time to drink an additional 12 to 24 ounces of water.

Day 2:

I feel good about making my goal yesterday. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but I did it! My issue isn’t so much with being able to drink 72 ounces but more about feeling extremely full all day. I am eating the same amount of food (purely out of habit), but I’m noticing that I’m rarely hungry anymore. This could be good for the waistline!

Day 3:

I can’t eat the same quantity of food that I previously was eating. Not only do I fill up quicker, but I am also no longer ravenous before each meal. I have, however, become somewhat bored with drinking plain water. To keep motivated and keep my water intake high, I have been experimenting with infusing my water. My favorite recipe so far is a simple lemon, lime, and mint-infused water, but I have some other more exotic recipes that have been fun to create.

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Day 4:

I drank my 24 ounces of water this morning before leaving the house but forgot to bring my water bottle with me to work. Not having water on my desk or in the car really affected my water intake. We have small coffee cups in the break room, but the inconvenience of having to leave my desk really deterred me from filling up my glass. Catching back up was difficult. I’m not going to forget my water bottle tomorrow!

Day 5:

A few unexpected changes have taken place. First, I’m sleeping through the night. I’m usually so thirsty during the night that I wake up at least once or twice to take a sip of water off my nightstand. My mouth no longer feels like cardboard when I wake up, and I feel more refreshed—most likely from sleeping straight through the night.

A few unexpected changes have taken place. First, I’m sleeping through the night.

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Day 6:

Experimenting with different water flavors is really helping. Getting all 72 ounces of water down is no longer as big a challenge as it was earlier in the week. I woke up this morning and also noticed that my skin is clearer, I look more refreshed, and my skin is even dewy.

Day 7:

I didn’t weigh myself before I increased my water consumption, but I think I’ve lost a few pounds. My clothes fit better, and my stomach seems much less bloated.

Day 8:

I was in a rush this morning and almost ran out the door without finishing my 24 ounces. I realized right before getting into my car and ran back into the house and drank what was left of my 24 ounces. I guess the habit isn’t ingrained just yet, but it’s getting there.

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Day 9:

My afternoon headaches are gone! I don’t think I realized just how much being dehydrated was affecting me.

Day 10:

I’m feeling so good that I never want to go back to my dehydrated ways! Not only does my skin look better and my waistline feel slimmer, but I know that staying hydrated is also good for my overall health.

Want to increase your own hydration levels? Carry a water bottle with you at all times and sip often, infuse your water with fresh fruit or herbs to keep it interesting, set alarms or timers on your phone to ensure consumption, and drink 24 ounces first thing in the morning to start the day off right.

Ready to learn more about what anxiety, brain health, and your diet all have in common? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Dr. Mark Hyman.

Dawna Stone

Dawna Stone is the author of seven books, a business owner, certified health coach, motivational speaker, and creator of the 5-Day Detox and the 14-Day Clean-Eating Program. Dawna appears regularly on local and national television. She has appeared on the Today show, Martha, MSNBC, HSN, and morning news programs on NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox. Dawna is a highly sought-after speaker and has done speaking engagements for Chobani, Disney, American Heart Association, Mass Mutual, Wharton Business School, Women’s Entertainment Television, PGA Tour, Super Bowl Leadership Forum, Susan G. Komen, and many more.
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