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Let’s talk about alcohol.

When I lost all my weight in my 20s, drinking was one of the things I gave up. There were many things I added into my daily life. Eating out and drinking were the two things I gave up though. Both were incredibly important in my journey and were temporary. I gave myself some guidelines, let’s face it, I am a rule girl. I gave myself hard fast rules to follow for 12 weeks. In 11 weeks, I lost 33 pounds and was able to decide where to introduce moderation back into my life.

I used to feel like I was admitting to being an alcoholic when I said I gave up drinking.

I did not drink to the point of blacking out. I did not drink at home. I was a bartender who took shots people bought me at work, sampled drinks on occasion, and would enjoy a couple of drinks after work with co-workers. When people come to me today and I encourage them to temporarily stop drinking, I always offer myself as the bad guy. Tell other people that I told you that you couldn’t go for a month without drinking. Or tell people that I challenged you to a dry month.

Why? Because I found myself giving up drinking in a closet. When people bought me shots at work, I’d do water for vodka and coke for jack. Back then, bombs were a big thing. I’d do cherry sprite and redbull, instead of UV Cherry bombs. After work, I’d order water so I had something in my hand. I found that if I was drinking something, people didn’t question what I was drinking

When I declined a shot or didn’t buy a drink at a bar, I got so many questions and resistance. Often, when people give you a hard time about a healthier choice you are making, it is a bigger reflection of them than you. How is that? As you embark on making healthier choices, some people are envious that you are able to make those choices. They feel they lack the willpower. Other times, they fear that you will become “too good” for them and move on to other social groups.

As I have written before (NO FOOD IS INHERENTLY BAD LINK HERE), and the same goes for alcohol. Even when I gave up drinking, it was not for good. If you are predispositioned to addiction, you may decide to avoid alcohol at all times. If you have an allergy to alcohol, you may choose to not drink. Maybe you have a weak liver already, and it is encouraged to limit things that would damage your liver further.

Mommy wine culture is a thing these days, and I see how many people drink for unhealthy reasons. As you are on a self-improvement journey, maybe giving up all alcohol is important to you. Your choice to drink or not drink should never be questioned, and it won’t make you more or less healthy.

Benefits of going “dry”

There are some reasons that giving up alcohol for the short term may be better for your health and weight loss than you realize. Many people feel they sleep better after a nightcap. In actuality, research has found that while we feel we slept hard, our sleep quality is poorer after drinking. Drinking lowers your inhibitions, which often leads to drinking more than you intended and eating foods you may have skipped otherwise.

This article is from 2014, and specifically references binge drinking. The information is still valid though. When you drink today, you consume more calories not only while you are drinking but the entire next day as well. I was looking for what I remembered reading, that you consume an average of 500 extra calories the day after drinking. This says 6300 calories over the next 24 hours. Which is: you factor what you eat while drinking, the calories from your drinks, the 2000 recommended calories a day, and add the extra 500 calories the next day, you can easily get to 6300. There are 3500 calories in a pound, which means 6300 in a day will have you gain a pound in a day, after you account for your daily expenditure needs.

Is this enough to make you consider a drinking pause?

I promise, it really will do more good for you and your body than any amount of fun you think you might be missing out on.