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I Drank Only Spring Water for 30 Days

Back in October, one of my best friends said to me: “Everyone thinks the adult drink is coffee, but really, it’s water.” This got me thinking.

Was I drinking enough water to care for my adult body properly, or was I depriving myself of something important? Were my choices regarding hydration eventually going to turn detrimental for me if I didn’t make a change? It was this curiosity (and slight concern) that made me decide to take the Cedar Springs Challenge, and drink only Cedar Springs spring water for 30 days.

My name is Brooke. I’m in my early twenties, female, and up until last autumn, my daily water intake was chaos. Sometimes I’d go until the afternoon without one single sip of water, because I had a morning coffee to quench (or rather, delay) my morning thirst. You know when you have to ask, “have I drank water today?” that you’re obviously not giving hydration the respect it deserves.

To start this challenge, I had to first find out my body’s daily water requirement. The way to calculate this is to divide your body weight by 2. The number you receive is the amount of water, in ounces, that you need every day. My body needs about 67 ounces of water every day, which meant that 8.5 cups was my daily goal. I decided that my beverage options would only be water and tea. If I chose tea, it could only be a maximum of a couple cups a day, and it had to be decaf. Since I was completely cutting out coffee, I wanted to see how I could fare without caffeine for an entire month. I also didn’t intentionally eat any healthier or exercise, as I wanted to attribute any noticeable changes directly to my increased water intake.

My challenge began on Friday, November 1st, and went until Saturday, November 30th. The first week and a half was very easy, but then things got harder. I realized that I was home a lot during those first ten days, which made it easy to focus on my goals and drink regularly. It was the days that I saw friends or had a heavy work day where my intended 8.5 glasses of water sometimes dropped down to about 6. It was hard for me to accept that I wasn’t always meeting the prerequisite of the challenge like I’d intended to. In reality, I was drinking way more water than I did before, but I also knew that I was capable of exceeding my goals. The balance between criticism and celebration was hard to find sometimes, and it took me until the very end to understand it better.

There were some moments during this experience that felt really funny to me. I’d committed to exclusively drinking Cedar Springs water because I truly believe it’s the best water we can drink, and I wanted to see if my body would reflect that belief. (Spoiler alert: it did). However, this meant that I had to bring my own water everywhere I went. Even out of town, for a twenty-four hour trip. I don’t own a container big enough to hold 2L of water, so my only option was to fill five different reusable water bottles to their rims, and shove them in my backpack. Never in my life did I think I’d ever pack more water than clothes, yet there I was.

I’d say one of the hardest things about this challenge was not being able to drink coffee. It took almost the entire month for me to stop craving it, which was weird. I wanted to drink something with flavour, but at the same time, I find Cedar Springs water very flavourful. It’s clean and light, it’s not metallic or plastic. It tastes healthy, so why was I craving something else?

I realized that, while the water really was satisfying, it takes time to change a habit—especially one as strong and addictive as coffee drinking. The funny part is that in December, when I finally started drinking coffee again, it wasn’t the sweet reunion I expected. I’d imagined there would be slow motion running and soft music playing, but really the taste was just fine, and I instantly recognized that hit of anxious jitters that come whenever I’m caffeinated.

This leads me to the changes I experienced in both my physical and mental health when spring water was my only drinking option. For starters, I’d say that I definitely had more energy. Lots of people debate on the fact that water can “pick you up” better than coffee, which I’d now say is true. Coffee might wake you, but water energizes you. When I was drinking 8.5 glasses of water a day, I had stamina. I was much more motivated, I didn’t feel an inner resistance when working, and I felt more positive. This could be because maintaining a healthy routine for ourselves makes us feel good, but I know it was mainly the fact that I was well-hydrated. My moods were better and I felt less overwhelmed.

This experience taught me that I wasn’t being ridiculous for naming this a “challenge”. However, there were some things that helped me a lot. These are the tips I recommend if you want to start prioritizing hydration.

1)Set a goal and be intentional. This was the hardest part for me, and still is, now that the challenge has ended. If you want to be regularly hydrated, you have to be intentional with how much you drink. It’s as simple as that.

2)Set alarms and pace yourself. Don’t do what I did and chug water at 11pm because you didn’t budget your time properly that day. This makes for some very sleep deprived nights because you have to wake up to use the bathroom. Make sure you drink consistently throughout the day!

3)Find a reusable bottle you like, and make it your BFF. Let it be a bottle that’s easy to hold so you can take it everywhere. It’s easier if it fits into a standard cup holder, that way when you drive, or go see a movie, your bottle doesn’t have to sit in your lap.

4)Be kind to yourself.

That balance I mentioned earlier, between criticism and celebration, does not only apply to the pursuit of hydration, but for all goals: health-related and beyond. On days when I only drank 6 or 7 glasses instead of 8.5, I felt discouraged about myself. This made me feel like I wasn’t capable of meeting my goal the next day. But on the other hand, on the days when I let myself be proud of what I was accomplishing, I felt much better. Every day is a fresh start. We need to be kind to ourselves for the progress we’re making, even if it doesn’t always look the way we hoped. If we can understand this, I think we’ll all have an easier time achieving all our health goals.

Health isn’t stagnant. It’s a pursuit. Participating in this challenge revealed to me just how amazing I can feel when my routines are their best, and that I am capable of balancing a healthy lifestyle as long as I am intentional about it. I highly recommend that if you’re interested in feeling better and living healthier, that you try this Cedar Springs Challenge for yourself. Spring water has so many incredible benefits, and it helped me in areas I didn’t even consciously realize I was struggling with.

I will continue to seek out healthy routines that work for me, but now hydration is an area where I don’t have to wonder anymore. I know what works for me, and being in control of even one part of my health is an extremely empowering feeling.