When I don’t drink enough water

What happens when I do not drink enough water?  There are several specific uncomfortable symptoms I get whenever I am dehydrated.

I’ve been drinking a lot of water for a long time now.  But there are still days where I forget, get too busy, or just simply don’t out of laziness.  It’s been almost five years since I first set a goal of a gallon of water a day. And to be honest, nothing life changing happened.  I live in a very hot climate so I have noticed a few benefits.  But I was definitely lead to believe that things would be a lot better.

If you’re not sure how much water to drink per day, and how you could ever consume an entire gallon, check out our post 5 Ways to Drink More Water.  When I first began my weight loss journey I really focused on my water intake.  I definitely noticed a few minor benefits at first.

Benefits of Drinking Enough Water

The first benefit was my lips and skin.  I live in Southern California, a notoriously hot, dry, and sunny place.  Sometimes the overexposure takes a serious toll on my skin.  But when I started drinking enough water, I pretty quickly noticed I needed less lotion and moisturizer.  
don't drink enough water
I also quickly realized that my lips were never chapped and I never needed any chap stick.  My lips were soft, moisturized and supple.  If you also live in a hot, dry area I highly recommend drinking as much water as you can.
Another great benefit to making sure I was drinking water were my lack of headaches and the complete elimination of hangovers.  I still occasionally get migraines (most likely due to stress), but I rarely if ever get headaches.  Now I realize how many of my previous headaches must have been due to dehydration.  
And, if you drink enough water, you do not get hungover if you drink alcohol.  I definitely like to enjoy wine, cocktails, and beer on a regular basis.  But frequently suffered from the foggy headache the following morning.  You can completely avoid this by making sure you drink a glass [or 8 ounces] of water for every alcoholic drink you have.  

But over all, I really didn’t notice any life-changing, mind-blowing results from drinking a gallon of water a day.  Surprisingly, the biggest change has been what happens when I don’t drink my usual amount of water in a day.  

At first I didn’t realize the connection, but I quickly realized that these random symptoms were on days I slacked on water.  So increasing your water intake is great, but check out what could happen if you stop: 

1. Digestion

I guess this is really what doesn’t happen, if I skip my water.  That’s right, my digestion is very regular when I drink a lot of water.  I rarely have heartburn, I poop everyday, and never have an upset stomach, pressure, or constipation.  

This is partly due to my diet and portion control, but I notice a significant difference when I am dehydrated.  If I do not drink enough water, my digestion is the first thing to suffer.  
Immediately, I start to bloat and get some kind of heartburn or indigestion.  And, once you’ve experienced regularity, you know right away when it is disrupted.  Having my digestion be smooth and predictable has really improved my life.  Many people suffer bathroom anxiety and have issues using public restrooms.  I used to experience this, but once I was able to predict and expect my habits it was a lot easier to accommodate them and ensure I was comfortable.  
If you do suffer from digestive distress, I highly recommend starting with your water intake.  Start drinking as much water as you can.  Drink a big glass of water right when you wake up, and follow every meal with another big glass.  You will noticed you are able to eat less and digest your food much faster.

2. Chapped Lips & Dry Skin

This is really the very first sign that I am dehydrated.  If my lips are chapped, I am absolutely not drinking enough water.  I also suffer from cold sores, and any time I let my lips get chapped I expose myself to an outbreak.  
In fact, I almost guarantee one.  So it has become my life’s purpose to never let my lips get chapped.  And my first line of defense is staying hydrated.
Notice if you frequently have chapped lips.  Obviously exposure to sun, wind, and cold regularly can contribute to damage and chapping of your lips.  

So it is important to use chap stick if you need protection from the elements.  But if you aren’t exposed regularly, you really shouldn’t need chap stick.  If your lips are chapped, drink more water.

I also start to notice my skin gets very dry and my wrinkles stand out more.  Consuming enough water ensures my skin is hydrated and plump with moisture.  Any time it is dry, the wrinkles and discoloration start to show.  I love how my skin feels when I am drinking enough water.

3. Headaches

I explained this earlier, but I definitely used to get frequent headaches.  Especially in high school, I would get headaches almost every afternoon.  At the time, my parents and doctors were concerned there was something wrong.  But nothing was every found.  Now that I look back on those times, I realize that I was incredibly dehydrated.

No matter how much my mom encouraged or nagged me, I rarely if ever, drank any water.  I wasn’t drinking sodas, but I really wasn’t drinking much of anything.  

Now that I have focused on my hydration for several years, I can immediately tell a dehydration headache.  It is so noticeable now, that I have felt what it is like to be hydrated.  If you are also experiencing inexplicable headaches, try drinking more water, it could be as simple as that.

4. Mood Regulation

This one definitely surprised me, and took a while to figure out.  But if I stay hydrated, I have so much more patience throughout the day.  
If I am dehydrated, I notice that I am more short-tempered, frustrated, and annoyed.  There is some research that supports this theory.  A recent study found that even mild dehydration effected mood regulation and cognitive function in young women, especially after exercise.  And this was moderate exercise.  Therefore, if you’re doing intense exercise or spending time in dry hot weather, you really need to be conscious of you water intake.  

5. Increased hunger

There is science to support that we can misunderstand a thirst signal and a hunger signal.  If you’re really thirsty, you may interpret it as a hunger pang, when in reality, just drinking water would satisfy you.  And there is something to be said about keeping your stomach full, especially when you’re in a calorie deficit.  
I noticed that when I wasn’t drinking as much water, it was harder to maintain a calorie deficit.  Sparkling water especially helps take up space in your stomach and can help you feel fuller.  But overall, water is definitely going to prevent you from over eating especially if you try to drink one glass before and after a meal.