The LD staff decided it was high time we all made health a priority. Enter Wellness Wednesdays, a series of weekly health challenges by LD writers (and editors!) where we commit to seven days of healthy habits and share the results with our readers. This week’s challenge: Drinking 10 cups of water a day.
This Week’s Participants: Mayura & Molly
According to Mayo Clinic, the average woman needs to drink about nine cups of water a day (2.2 liters), while the average man needs to drink about 13 cups of water a day (three liters). However, despite being (relatively) functional adults, there are days where we can’t even remember the last time we had a cup of water. So this week, we decided to challenge ourselves and see if we could go above and beyond and drink 10 glasses of water a day—or about enough water to finish our water bottles twice. Here’s our seven-day trial of trying to stay healthy and hydrated:
Mayura: I cheated. I didn’t drink 10 cups—I drank about seven. But even then, I felt like I had to go to bathroom every hour. As a teacher, this was a problem since I teach 90-minute periods at a time and there aren’t any real breaks or opportunities for me to run to the bathroom except during my off-period. I didn’t really see any other differences.
Molly: I’m a runner and cyclist, so I figured drinking 10 glasses of water per day would be a snap. A fake first Wellness Wednesday, I thought smugly. And then, Day 1 hit. I realized after waking up, going through my morning, and getting through my long-ish run that my total for the day was… two measly glasses of water. Yikes. I spent the rest of the day eschewing coffee and wine in favor of water, and while I felt a little like I was floating and had to get up once to pee in the middle of the night (TMI? Too bad) it was definitely an eye-opener for me to realize how little water I was drinking on the regular.
Mayura: I did drink the full 10 cups today. It was a struggle, and I ended up having to just chug the last three cups right before bed. Since I normally don’t drink much water (maybe two cups a day), I realized that 10 cups is actually A LOT. But I realized I didn’t need a second cup of coffee to get myself through the day like I normally do. I don’t know if that has anything to do with the water, but since staying hydrated is supposed to keep you awake and alert, perhaps drinking more will make me less dependent on coffee.
Molly: I prepped the night before by leaving a big glass of water on my nightstand so I wouldn’t get caught in the “2 p.m. and no water drunk” spot again, and chugged it immediately after waking up. One down, nine to go. But adding that first glass to the morning a) woke me up a bit better than just going straight for coffee (I know, madness!) and b) it felt like a nice healthy habit, so my day started with me feeling a little smug about the healthy me. Which did actually translate into a couple of better meal choices. The rest of the day was a bit of a struggle to drink another nine glasses but by the time I got to my last one while reading in bed, I was pretty freaking proud.
Mayura: Since yesterday was hard to drink 10 cups of regular water, I went to the grocery store and stocked up on some coconut water, some cucumbers, and some Crystal Light. Today I drank coconut water instead of regular water—it helped me drink more throughout the day and it tastes great. I didn’t have to pee as much as I did the past few days, which was nice, but I didn’t see any real results today.
Molly: Realized that herbal tea totally counts as water, right? This was a major turning point since Canada is, well, freaking cold right now. And as a coffee junkie, swapping my third cup of coffee for cinnamon spice tea was easier than swapping for ice water. I grabbed a couple of flavors—lemon ginger, cinnamon spice, and pumpkin spice (basically the same as cinnamon spice)—to ward off tea ennui, and getting to 10 big mugs of tea or glasses of water was a lot easier. Especially since our place was a little on the cold side today—thanks, Canada—so it was nice to not be bouncing off the walls from too much caffeine, and be hydrated at the same time.
Mayura: I used Crystal Light in my water bottle today—I ended up drinking more than 10 cups of water, and I drank most of the water before 2 p.m.! My skin is starting to feel softer and it looks less tired, and I’m definitely drinking less coffee now that I’ve been drinking more water. Adding flavor to the water encouraged me to drink water more often throughout the day.
Molly: We’re going to call this the day that sparkling water ruined my day. I wanted to mix it up and figured sipping from a glass bottle of Perrier would feel a lot cooler than yet another glass of still water. I forgot, though, that sparkling water actually tends to make my stomach pretty grumpy—something about the carbonation—so ended up with a grumbling stomach for a couple hours. Not ideal when giving a presentation that night! Ended with only eight out of ten because presentation nerves made me useless at drinking. Busy days make it a lot harder to drink that much, as it turns out!
Mayura: Today was so crazy at work that I only ended up drinking about three cups of water—and doing so hastily between class periods. On crazy days like this I normally get headaches or feel faint, but today I felt fine. Additionally, my skin felt soft and was glowing. While I definitely did not meet my goal of 10 cups today, the effects of being hydrated over the past few days is helping.
Molly: I had a longer workout today, and actually felt better heading into it with three glasses of water already in my system. I’m still not great at drinking on my runs—just a personal quirk—but afterwards, I made sure I downed a big glass, and that’s something I often neglect. It’s way too soon to make an official call, but sticking to this for the past few days seems like it’s had a beneficial impact on my skin, which has been getting drier as the winter gets colder. Maybe I’m just grasping for benefits, but I do think my skin is looking a bit better!
Mayura: I stuck to drinking coconut water today, which helped me recover after going out. However, while I drank 10 glasses of water, I probably should have drank more today since I didn’t get a good night’s sleep and I wasn’t as hydrated the day before.
Molly: Bootcamp workout class today meant it was easy to sneak in an extra two glasses during the class since there were drink breaks. I normally would grab a tiny sip, but this time, I figured I’d go for the whole thing to get more water out of the way. And I definitely felt less achey after class than I usually do. Hydration, who knew? (Actually, I knew. I wrote a book on it. But it’s easier to write than actually do.) I realized by the evening that it was getting less and less about counting each glass and more about just constantly having a glass of water or tea near me. Even after just a few days, my digestion was a lot better.
Mayura: Drinking 10 cups of water felt like more of an effort today. Over the first five days of this challenge I figured out ways to up my water intake during the workweek, but since today I wasn’t doing much and it’s the weekend I ended up just forgetting to drink water. It felt like a chore to drink water, even when I added Crystal Light.
Molly: The last day was actually a great test, since we were doing a pre-Christmas with the husband’s family before we left for Belgium for the holidays. That meant eggnog and wine were flowing by noon, but I had the last day of my goal to get through. Luckily, the family didn’t think I was being weird sticking to tea most of the day and only getting into the wine once we sat down to eat—and with the ten waters requirement, I definitely drank a lot less wine than normal. I swapped between water and wine all night, sipped tea with dessert, and went to bed not feeling at all tipsy. In all, major success.
Mayura: Overall, drinking 10 cups of water felt excessive compared to the little to no water I drink on a daily basis. However, drinking more water made me more alert, less dependent on caffeine, less prone to stress headaches, and made my skin look amazing. Doing this challenge forced me to practice a habit I should be doing already. While I do not know if I will be able to drink 10 cups of water every single day, at least now I got to see for myself how essential it is to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Molly: As an athletic type, I realized through this week that I am actually painfully under-hydrating most of the time, so for me, this was a great exercise in reminding myself to stay hydrated in and around exercise, and throughout the day. I definitely felt peppier even though water cut into my coffee drinking, and my digestion was better. I wish I could say my skin was already glowing and perfectly clear thanks to the last seven days, but alas, I think it’ll take a bit longer. But still—it’s a habit I think I’m going to stick to, though I definitely won’t be counting as carefully on a daily basis.
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