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What Happens If You Don't Drink Enough Water?

I Went From Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day to Almost Nothing by Accident — Here's What Happened

Photographer: Lexi LambrosNo Restrictions: Internal and editorial use approved. OK for Native and co-branded use.

Water is pretty much a magical elixir. It can clear up your skin, boost your metabolism, keep your energy levels high, and stave off bloating. Knowing that, a few months ago, after reading a million articles on why water is the answer to everything, I decided to dive into the "more is better" mindset and set my daily water goal to a gallon.

Every hour, I drank about 16 ounces of water. I struggled at the beginning and even got nauseous a bit, but I laboured on, convinced that the life-changing results I'd heard of were just around the corner and feeling proud of myself that I'd lived through yet another day of this new way of life. But going from not drinking much water to drinking a gallon wasn't sustainable for me.

Apparently "more is better" goes hand in hand with "all or nothing" for me, and fast-forward to a week later when life got busy and my gallon-a-day challenge vanished into the air. I found myself at level zero again, drinking absolutely no water and too busy to notice. As you can guess, this really isn't an ideal scenario and it taught me a lot about the importance of keeping a balanced intake of water in mind at all times. Here are the symptoms that made me realised I had slacked on hydration.

  • I felt like sh*t. Excuse the language, because there's literally no other way to put this. At the time, I didn't know that this was because I was dehydrated, but I generally felt terrible and I couldn't pinpoint why. I was confused and thought it was just stress, but only after a week did I realise that I was drinking almost no water.
  • Things in the bathroom got tough. Let's just say that everything didn't move quite as smoothly as it did before, and my bathroom trips were a lot more infrequent and longer. Enough said, moving on.
  • I couldn't sleep. This was by far the worst consequence I faced during this week. Gone were my peaceful nights of sleep. I would lay awake in bed for hours, wondering why I couldn't sleep and when I finally did, it was a restless slumber. I was woken up by a parched throat and couldn't go back to sleep. Torture, I tell you, absolute torture.
  • I was exhausted. You know how you feel at about 3:00 pm when there's no caffeine to keep you going? Yeah, that was me pretty much all the time. I felt completely drained through the day and was running on caffeine and no sleep.
  • I was moody. Suffice to say that I wasn't the best person to be around during this time. I was constantly snapping at everyone around me, irritable, and susceptible to several mood swings throughout the day.
  • I started breaking out. My precious clear skin was gone no matter how many over-the-counter treatments I tried. I started to break out somewhere along the third day of low water. I've almost never struggled with dry skin, but if the acne wasn't enough, my skin was also irritatingly dry. I also had severely chapped lips.
  • I was hangry. Without that gallon of water to fill me up, I was hungry all the time. I couldn't get to an hour after breakfast without reaching for something else, and those sugar cravings started to hit hard some time on the third day.

They say you don't know what you have until it's gone and I learned that first-hand. Needless to say, I am never, ever not paying attention to my water consumption. My water bottle is now a permanent fixture in my life, and here to stay.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lexi Lambros
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