January is the month where many of us pack away our leftover wine and embark on a 31 day detox in the hopes of giving our battered livers a break.
This year, I was one of those people and as the clock struck midnight on January 1st, I had one last sip of my Prosecco and began my month-long sobriety.
Many studies suggest that putting the bottle down for the month doesn’t help long-term liver damage and most people go back to their regular drinking habits come February 1st, but my motivation for giving up booze wasn’t directly health related – not physical health at least.
– READ MORE: Is Giving Up Alcohol For A Month Actually Worth It? –
December is pretty heavy for most people, throw in a birthday and you’ve got a month-long party. For me, it was 31 days filled with many nights out and if I’m honest, by the time New Year’s Eve rolled around I was happy to replace a bottle of wine with a bottle of water.
I had grown unhappy with my relationship with alcohol. I had become dependent on it to fill my evenings and weekends and was ready to make a positive change. At first, I was skeptical that 1. I would be able to do it and 2. It would make any difference. But, as we enter February and my time is up, I wanted to reflect on everything that happened.
I think I lost weight
A lot of people find that giving up alcohol helps them lose weight more effectively than when they’re balancing diets with glasses of wine.
Personally, my weight fluctuates a lot, however, removing empty calories from my diet has definitely made a difference to my waistline
Although this wasn’t the motivation behind my decision, it’s made me look at alcohol in a different way. While I won’t refuse a celebratory Prosecco from fear of a few empty calories, I will definitely be more cautious of when I’m drinking unnecessarily.
I became more productive
Shockingly, an absent hangover can do wonders for your to-do list. Where my weekends used to be spent drinking in the evening and in bed all morning, I started going to bed earlier and waking up before 10 am.
With extra energy and time, I was able to get a lot more done and my goals for January were more achievable once I realized that I was using lack of time as an excuse rather than making time.
– RELATED: How Alcohol Affects Your Fitness –
I ate less crap
It’s no secret that drinking alcohol leads you to more unhealthy choices – like ordering a 12 am Dominos even though you’ve had dinner. Once I stopped drinking, my cravings for fried food, late night crisps and midnight pizza disappeared.
Cutting out alcohol also meant I wasn’t dashing to the bar all the time so dinners were no longer spent eating out, ordering last minute takeaways or throwing a pizza in the oven (I like pizza, alright!).
I also became more mindful of cooking fresh, healthy food that would keep me full rather than carby enough to soak up the alcohol.
Overall, it was a real learning curve for me and I would recommend it to anyone who feels like they have a toxic relationship with alcohol. I definitely won’t be doing it forever, but I think moving forward, I will be more mindful of how much I drink.
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