I’m notoriously terrible at drinking enough water. It’s a mixture of pure laziness and not wanting to constantly fill up my water bottle, but also feeling bored by the bland flavor — especially that of room temperature water. I know everyone has their own preferences when it comes to water temperature, but room temperature water is one of the most vile-tasting things.
I usually start my morning off with a cup of black coffee with sugar or caffeinated tea, and that’s my breakfast.
I’ll, on average, have two or three cups of coffee a day during the workweek. I’ll also go back for tea multiple times throughout the day. Getting tea always feels like a nice treat, and it’s something I look forward to. With every trip to get tea, I’ll fill up my water bottle to convince myself that, coffee and tea aside, I’m still making a good decision. But then I only take a few sips of it.
This behavior of having large amounts of daily caffeine recently started to affect my health.
I was diagnosed with a UTI a few days ago. If you’ve never experienced a UTI, boy are you lucky. It’s some of the worst, most constant pain you can experience as a woman (yes, I’m saying worse than period cramps!). I am very prone to getting these.
I’m using this recent diagnosis as a motivator to help me give up all caffeinated and sugary drinks (i.e. juice, soda, alcohol, etc.).
My plan is to drink only water for the upcoming week. Keep in mind that all week, I’m taking an antibiotic two times a day, so the improvement of my symptoms will get better regardless of how much water I consume. I’m also testing out how this affects my skin, mood, and energy levels.
Day 1: The struggle and withdrawal is REAL.
My morning ritual of a walk to the kitchen at work with my coffee cup in hand is no more.
I begrudgingly fill up my water bottle and head back to my desk with tired eyes. It’s only 30 minutes into the work day and I cannot focus for the life of me. Why on earth did I start this challenge on a TUESDAY and not over the weekend? I spend the rest of the day exhausted and walking around feeling like I’m in a fog. Luckily, I avoided horrible caffeine withdrawal headaches because of the ibuprofen that was helping me get through my period cramps.
I’m taking more trips to the bathroom than the kitchen now. I noticed that I’m eating more snacks throughout the day.
I think this is to compensate for not drinking tea in the afternoons.
I had a Sara Bareilles concert to go to that night. Starting this challenge today was a BIG mistake. I asked the bartender for a cup of water. My nausea kicked in from my anxiety and medication, and I desperately wished I could sip on a ginger ale or Sprite.
Day 2: I miss the taste of things.
My exhaustion isn’t as bad today. I’m surprised I’ve had no headaches… yet. I wish I could taste something other than water, though. I’m thinking I’ll add some fresh fruit to my water bottle tomorrow, to add a small amount of natural flavoring.
Instagram served me an ad for tea because they KNOW. THEY CAN HEAR ME COMPLAIN.
I desperately miss the taste of tea and coffee. I’m sitting here at my desk, unable to focus on my work, trying to remember my favorite drink flavors and what it felt like to taste them.
I’m not trying to be dramatic or anything, but my life honestly feels empty without coffee and tea.
Day 3: I’m getting used to my new routine, or so I thought.
I woke up feeling more energized, but that could be because I fell asleep before 10:30 p.m. the night before (#grandma). I was actually excited to drink some cold water. The air has been very arid here in L.A. and I woke up with a dry throat and nose.
The days drag on much slower now.
I’m still snacking to fill the void I’m feeling. My level of focus and motivation have not improved. If anything, I think they’ve gotten worse
In the past, my version of “snacking” was drinking tea and coffee, or other sugary drinks.
Now that I’m not doing so, I’m actually eating a lot more throughout the day. I’m going to be very honest — this is starting to trigger my past eating disorder thoughts.
Day 4: I truly picked the worst week to do this cleanse.
I’m getting used to expecting that I’ll only drink water when I wake up in the morning. I’m actually starting to welcome it. I get through the day just fine. My level of focus is slightly better than when I started a few days ago.
The heater is broken in the office and it is beyond freezing, so I’ve resorted to drinking plain hot water to warm me up.
Work threw a particularly exciting Happy Hour party after hours and everyone was drinking. I sheepishly walked up to the bartender and asked for a cup of ice to fill up at the water fountain.
I’m not a big alcohol drinker, but I would have at least liked to drink some Sprite.
Day 5: I finally have a caffeine headache.
I slept in so late today and it was beautiful. On the weekends, I normally don’t sleep past 8-8:30 a.m., thanks to two screaming cats who act like they haven’t just been feed 8 hours ago.
I assumed that since I’m five days into this cleanse, I’m past the point where I’ll get a caffeine headache.
But alas, I was wrong. Fortunately, it wasn’t as horrible as it usually is every Saturday. It will normally last the entire day, no matter how much Excedrin I take. The new coffee maker I bought two weeks ago is mocking me from the kitchen counter.
Day 6: I remembered that gum exists.
WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS SOONER?!
Instead of constantly snacking throughout the day on junk food, I could have kept my mouth busy by chomping down on 10 sticks of gum. I’m glad I rediscovered this treat on day 6 of my 7-day cleanse. *facepalm*
Day 7: Tomorrow, I’m a free woman!
By the end of this cleanse, I craved water more over my usual drinks of choice.
I get through my day normally, just excited that I can start tomorrow morning off with a cup of tea. Around 11 p.m., my friend treated me to a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino from the grocery store, and since I TECHNICALLY started this challenge in the evening last Monday, I allowed myself to chug that drink in five minutes.
Having not had much dairy throughout the week, along with any coffee drinks, my stomach fully regretted that decision six minutes later.
The overall result:
My goal during this past week was to help cure my UTI, and to cleanse my system of caffeine and other acidic drinks by only drinking water. I was also curious to see how this affected my skin, mood, and energy levels.
With the added help of antibiotics, my UTI symptoms have cleared up.
In the past, with UTIs, I would take the antibiotics but still continue to drink caffeinated products.
I felt better using the restroom this week because I knew that only water was in my system, flushing out all the bacteria that caused my infection.
I stopped my skin care routine this week because I wanted to see if drinking only water would improve the dryness of my skin and my overall complexion.
However, my skin still stayed very dry this week and I didn’t notice any difference in my complexion. I have a fairly uneven skin tone with underlying redness, and my skin still felt dull after this past week.
I do think this is because I was not drinking enough water to supplement all the other liquids I would normally drink. I was most likely still dehydrated.
I don’t weigh myself on a scale anymore after years of dealing with an eating disorder. If I go to the doctor, I still step backward on the scale so I don’t see the number. It’s not something anyone should care about. I didn’t want to measure how many pounds I lost or gained this past week. I observed how my clothes fit my body and how I felt, overall, with my energy and mood, and that’s all I cared about.
I struggled with my energy levels a lot this week, but I was starting to come around on Day 5 of my cleanse.
I’m sure if I continued for longer than seven days, I would feel more energized during the workweek. Maybe my next caffeine cleanse will be for an entire month.
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