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I Drank Nothing but Water for a Week & It Completely Changed My Energy Levels

You can’t live without water. It’s just a fact. If you’re anything like me, however, you also can’t live without coffee. Coffee is like a warm hug on a bad day, a pick-me-up when you’re beaten down. Between work, classes, extracurriculars and friends, coffee is an absolute necessity. However, I don’t exactly drink coffee the “healthy” way. I tend to use all of Starbucks’ Sugar in the Raw packets shamelessly. My family has even been known to say, “Hey, do you need some coffee with your sugar?”

Despite how not cool it is to judge someone’s coffee drinking habits, they kind of have a point. I do drink too much coffee, with probably way too much sugar. Meanwhile, I skip water for most of my day — which I know is not good for my body. So I decided to shake things up and swap out my usual cups of coffee (and every other kind of not-great-for-you beverage) and just drink water to re-set my body and see how I felt after. 

Photo by manu schwendener on Unsplash

Day 1: Monday

I’m a firm believer in getting the worst parts of anything over with fast, like ripping off a Band-Aid. Mondays are my metaphorical Band-Aids for going without coffee. I have a 9 a.m. class for two hours, another three-hour long class, and then work until two a.m. (I bartend, which involves keeping up my energy high throughout the night). I have not been able to survive a Monday this semester without coffee. I could already feel the dread when I woke up.

Oh no, a Monday without coffee…Is this even possible?… If I don’t make it, tell my parents I love them.

So began my Monday. Drinking water wasn’t bad. I love water, like most people. Drinking a lot of water is what got tricky. What first struck me was how I needed to pee all the time when I was chugging water throughout the day. I felt like my stomach couldn’t possibly hold any more water.  

I was doing okay until I arrived to work. Normally, I bring in one or two (told you I was obsessed!) large cups of coffee from a cute coffee shop down the street. Tonight, I skipped that step and went straight to work. I already had a headache from caffeine-withdrawal, and acting energetic at the bar became a real challenge. I stared at the cans of Red Bull in the fridge while they mocked me with all of their dangerous caffeine. Eons later, 1:30 a.m. came around. I was exhausted from work, but not hungry like I usually was. I guess the extra cups of water I had throughout my shift actually filled me up.

I went to bed with a smile on my face, knowing I’d never have to do another Monday without coffee.

Day 2: Tuesday

Waking up this morning for my 10 a.m. class seemed impossible. Somehow, I managed to get out of bed, though, and I went to the dining hall to grab some lemon-infused water before class. I decided that adding fruit to my water didn’t count as cheating in the experiment.

Today wasn’t as bad; although I did have to take a nap in between classes…then went to bed at 9 p.m. Coffee clearly was contributing to why I wasn’t sleeping enough!

Day 3: Wednesday

I don’t have class until mid-afternoon on Wednesdays, so I was able to sleep in. During my first water bottle of the day, I got myself to go to the gym and actually ate a healthy breakfast. All of this water had me feeling like a health nut. I actually think my skin looked brighter and clearer, too!

Since I was able to sleep in, I didn’t miss my beloved coffee so much. I felt awake and energetic all day, surprisingly. Who needs coffee anyway?

Day 4: Thursday

I might have been wrong about that whole “Who needs coffee anyway?” thing. Me. I need coffee. Thursday was as bad as Tuesday (I have the same class schedules both days). Today, I decided not to nap. Instead, I tried drinking ice water to wake me up. It kept me awake through my struggle not to nap, but there was no caffeine to keep me going. Plus, I was kind of grumpy after turning down the apple cider one of my professors brought in.

The upside to the day was how full water kept me. Water also kept me from eating while I’m bored, which was a major plus of the experiment.

Day 5: Friday

Water started to seem a little bland today, so I squeezed the juice from an orange wedge into my water bottle. Working made drinking a lot of water pretty easy, since I always had a soda gun (for water! I wasn’t cheating!), ice, and slices of fruit nearby. For once, I didn’t even get tired. At this point, the caffeine headaches were gone and I was beginning to really enjoy the experiment. Knowing that I could survive a long day without coffee felt pretty awesome.

Day 6: Saturday

Unsurprisingly, going out for a fun Saturday night didn’t seem as appealing to me if I could only drink water. I opted to stay in my dorm for a self “Netflix and Chill” session, minus my usual glass of wine. I got some homework done, napped and relaxed all night. Although this wasn’t my ideal Saturday night, it was definitely much needed. Drinking water all day didn’t faze me, as it had become a habit by that point in the week.

Day 7: Sunday

Waking up on that Sunday for work made me crave a coffee more than ever. One more day, I told myself as I tried to get through my homework minus-caffeine. I got most of it done, again with a nap during the day. Ice water sort of worked to keep me awake. I decided to end my experiment a few hours early, go to the coffee shop, and do some necessary, caffeine-fueled finals studying.

Drinking water definitely made me feel healthier, kept me full and made my skin glow more than ever. I don’t know about that whole “energized and active” thing that Pasternak swore by, but my coffee habits probably do make me ultimately feel more tired. I think I’ll stick to coffee a few times per week from now on while reaching for some water the rest of the days. It’s all about balance.

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Bridget Higgins

U Mass Amherst

Bridget is a senior Journalism major focusing on political journalism at UMass Amherst. She interned for the HC editorial team, writes columns for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, and occasionally gets a freelance article or two on sailing published by Ocean Navigator Magazine. When she isn't greeting random puppies on the street, she loves to cook for her friends, perpetuate her coffee addiction, and spend too much time crafting Tweets. She is also an avid fan of chocolate anything and unnecessary pillows. If you want to know more about Bridget, follow her on Instagram - @bridget_higgins - or Twitter - @bridgehiggins
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