In early December, I read an article about a woman who drank 3 liters of water everyday for 30 days. She reported being aches and pains free, disappearing under eye circles, clear skin and uninterrupted sleep.
It sounded like she had found the fountain of youth. And I wanted in.
For years I have bemoaned the lack of sleep and aches and pains. (Nothing wrong with my skin, though. Smoother than a babies butt thank you very much. Seriously, I glow).
So I decided to go for it. No more coffee filled with 5-6 flavored creamers. No more fruity drinks or wine with dinner. Just water. A LOT of water. For 30 days. I happened to mention this challenge to some folks at work at our holiday luncheon. For some reason, some of them were really interested although not everyone was super excited. In fact, they were confused. I heard feedback like:
Ok, I can do it as long as I can have a cup of coffee…Uh, no
I will do it as long as I can have my Super Big Gulp of Diet Mountain Dew in the morning….Really? No.
What? No wine? No…no wine
Can I have Vodka since it looks like water? NO!
Anyway, after somewhat agreeing to the rules, our merry band started drinking 1 gallon of water January 1st and the results, experience and conversations were pretty amazing:
First, I cheated on January 1 — How embarrassing since I was the one to start this thing. I had been diagnosed with a sinus infection at the Minute Clinic on New Year’s Eve eve that then blossomed into an upper respiratory infection and I was sick, sick, sick. I broke down and had hot drink of apple cider vinegar in hot water with honey the first 2 days along with my water. I don’t regret it. I was seeking relief anywhere I could get it.
Second, my merry band had cheaters, too — tea, coffee, accidental orange juice, vodka, wine and orange juice made its way into some cups.
Three, I lost seven pounds in one week — I think it was a combination of cut calories from not drinking so much sugar laden drinks, being sick and my body no longer having to starve for water.
Four, the body rewards you for taking care of it — members of the merry band reported more hydrated skin and less achy muscles.
Five, my mom is a rock star– She drank 3 liters of water and nothing else for 30 days. And thanked me for including her in the merry band.
Six, I can do anything — I have a pretty aggressive sweet tooth and somewhat stressful life. It is easy to comfort myself with food and drink. Taking this Challenge showed me I can control myself and reset my habits and patterns.
Seven, good habits spill into other areas of life — Without the daily start of sugary flavored coffees in the morning, I no longer pined for cinnamon buns and Swiss Rolls and cookies throughout the day. I either went without or reached for my bananas and oranges.
Eight, humor goes a long way when dealing with change — One of our merry band really wanted a diet coke and was close to giving in. I sent her this picture I found on clip art:
Nine, children are always watching/children don’t allow for nuances — Mirror Image was always quick to point out my “cheats”. She disapproved of my Green Smoothies, hot Theraflu and probiotic drinks. She did not agree with my explanations that a green smoothie was basically a salad and the others were medicine. To her, I committed to water only and those were the only liquids allowed.
Ten, there are budgetary benefits to the challenge — I did not eat fast food, restaurant food or purchase any wine or cocktails during the Challenge. My Mint budgets allow for $150 each month for those 3 categories combined. That is now $150 saved.
Eleven, challenges are challenging — when working with a group on a shared goal, listening and adjusting are hugely important . There was a minor rebellion early in the Challenge and I was asked to give feedback since I was in charge (wait, how did THAT happen?!?!?). The issue? Hot tea. They wanted it and would drop out of the merry band without it. Personally, I didn’t see this as defeat but as a compromise to reach the overall goal of drinking more water. So let them drink tea! I did put the kibosh on coffee, however.
Twelve, role models make me better — there were 2 members of the merry band that drank all the water and only water for all 30 days. No cheating! Their enthusiasm and commitment really motivated me.
Thirteen, it is OK to be different– According to one member of the merry band, when she chose not to drink wine with her wine drinking friends at a lunch/brunch, they were really shocked and a bit wary. She was strangely happy. Like she had won a contest (she did!)
This has been a great experience and I have decided to continue in February. From a self control perspective, this has been the best experience I have had since the Whole 30 Challenge in 2014 which I used to help reset my sugar addiction. And I am convinced challenges come to make me strong.
I will go into how this challenge compares to money management and budgeting in a future post. For now, here is how much a 30 day water challenge could cost:
Aldi — 30 gallons of filtered water @ .79 each = $23.70
Walmart — 30 gallons of distilled water @ .78 each = $23.40
Walmart — 30 gallons of Nursery Water @ $1.00 each = $30
Dollar Tree — 30 gallons of Spring water @$1.00 each = $30
Poland Spring — 30 gallon of Spring Water @ $2.83 each = $84.90
Home/Office — 30 gallons of tap or fountain water = FREE
I chose FREE, of course but did buy a gallon of the Aldi water for my neti pot that I was prescribed to use during my sinus infection.