12 weeks done (well 12 and a half but who’s counting). This was my initial goal and I couldn’t be more proud with what I have achieved and the differences I have seen in that time.
I feel I need to quickly explain why I did this in case you don’t know me or have just started reading this blog. In a very small nutshell I felt that the amount of alcohol I was drinking was affecting my everyday life in many ways. There are many more factors which I do go on to explain.
I’m going to start with the stats from the app I have been using. When I downloaded this app it’s asked me how much you drink, how much it costs for your drink of choice etc. then works out the follow.
- 214 glasses of 150ml of white wine not consumed
- 378 units of alcohol not consumed (women are supposed to have 14 per week and I was averaging double that)
- $640 saved – although this figure is based on me buying wine in the house and doesn’t account for buying drinks out so this figure is much higher
- 25,833 calories saved
That last one, calories saved! I have to break this down. You’ll see from my goals of what I wanted to achieve that fat loss was not one of them. I didn’t want this to be about that I wanted it to be around overall health however if I did lose a bit then bonus!
There is 7700 calories in 1kg of fat. So to lose 1kg of fat then you will need to consume 7700 calories less that your body burns per week. Same thing applies to gaining fat but you’ll need to eat 7700 more than you burn per week to gain 1kg. So according to my figures I should have lost 3.35kg of fat. I didn’t. However I did lose 2kg, yey! So where did the other 1.35kg go (10,395 calories)? I ate them! Yes that’s right. You stop drinking and you get all these extra calories to eat and you still lose a little bit of fat. On the flip side if I drank all those 25,833 calories I could have gained 3.35kg!
Looking at the other figures just makes me think WOW how many hangovers did I save myself from. The thought of a hangover still makes me feel queasy!
From my very first post I listed the pros of quitting drinking and what I wanted to gain for this. I am going to cherry pick the ones I think are worth mentioning otherwise this could go forever.
- Did I mention no more hangovers?
I don’t know if I suffer worse than others with this but I’ve had hangovers so bad that I would rather endure labour again. Hangovers are not just one day when you are over 30, they last 3 days and they don’t mix well with kids. Happy to never have one again!
- Save money
I think I have saved a grand easy if you take in consideration taxis, the cost of drinks a night out, food on the way home.
- Overall optimal health
100% this has been achieved. This is because I am making better food choices (no more Sunday carb hangover binges and Monday bloat) better motivation therefore being more active, I have more time to organise my life therefore my anxiety is so much better, my relationships are better, I mean I could go on and on.
- A better role model for my daughter
This is a big one for me and I’m going to tell you quite a humiliating story. I once went out for a bottomless brunch. I go so hammered. My husband and daughter came to meet me to take me home. I was walking down the street in a zigzag paralytic state and my then 6 year old daughter said mummy why you acting and walking like that I don’t like it. She got really upset seeing her mummy in such a state. I was in complete denial about how drunk I was but it struck a chord in me, even that drunk I remember her little face. I’d like to say it’s the last time that happened but it wasn’t, maybe a few more after that. This story will get judgment from people, I know it will but I can’t take it back. I asked my daughter this morning on the way to school if she likes mummy not drinking, she said yes. I asked her why and she said because you are happier (cute) She’s 8 and my biggest fan, she idolises me and I want that to continue.
- Stronger immune system
No illness, no feeling ill. Before this I had 3 colds 1 month. I had an operation about 4 weeks in and I went under general anaesthetic. I recovered from that op so quickly I was back in the gym after 10 days. I’m not saying it’s because I wasn’t drinking but being healthier over I reckon helped.
- Strength gains
I love my strength training and before this 12 weeks I was plateauing for ages with no real gains. As I had the op at 4 weeks then I had 2 weeks off the gym I would say my gym progress has been in the last 6 weeks. Here is my progress.
Deadlift – lifting 15kg heavier
Squat – 10kg heavier
I can now do 3 pull ups (not easily though ha)
Barbell hip thrust – 40kg heavier
I run 1-2 per week and I have knocked 37 seconds per km off my time
I had a Dexa scan before and after. I lost 3% body fat.
I genuinely feel stronger, fitter than I have ever been
- No more dependency
I thought how the hell am I going to get through a Sunday without my bottle of wine? What will I do when I’ve had a shit day at work? What is going to calm me down? It make me feel better. Turns out that all of this was relatively easy after about week 6. Habits break, it’s different for everyone but I think they say after about 7 weeks. At the 12 weeks stage I can honestly say that I don’t even think about turning to the wine.
I’m lucky, I get it but not as bad as some. What I do know is that drinking makes this worse. I am so chilled at the moment and it’s such a busy time in my life I’d usually be pulling my hair out. Yet we drink because we think it makes us less anxious. I have had a huge knot in my shoulder that my husband has pointed out to me many times, I thought it was from doing weights. It’s completely gone!
- My skin
So many people have commented on my skin looking brighter, fresher and clearer. I don’t see it so much because I have to see it with no makeup on in the morning LOL but I’ll take it!
How many of us feel close to burn out? I’m not singling out mum’s (ok I am) but we are super busy. This is me. 5.30am up and do Yoga, get ready for work, get Hanna ready for school making sure she has everything she needs, walk to school, get bus and train to work, study on the way to work, 8am-5pm work with the gym at lunch time, travel home and study again, get home at 6.30pm, cook dinner, play, read sort Hanna out, put Hanna to bed, do lunches for next day, watch Netflix for 45 minutes, hide the friggin elf on the shelf, 9pm bed. It’s full on. On top of that you have to arrange your social life, book things, plan things. This is most certainly no different to any other parent out there. Sometimes you want to throw in towel, run away and never come back. Well somehow I have more time since I quit drinking, I am getting through the things I need to do easier, my concentration is slightly better and life isn’t really such a chore. I am doing the best I have ever done at work, I’m actually retaining some information from my studies and I’m organised as hell.
Okay enough boasting from me. It does sound like that doesn’t it but these are the changes that have genuinely happened. I feel like I have been let in to the world’s best kept secret.
So one more list, things that I have learnt.
- That I am still dizzy as hell with or without the booze, a true blond!
On my original list I put no more brain fog. LOL I still get this on the reg, maybe not in a Monday morning after a big weekend kind of way but in a I’m just a bit stupid kind of way, my husband will vouch for this.
- My sleep is average
One thing that many sober people say is that you get amazing sleeps. This one has skipped me completely. I sleep ok, I wake a lot and can be quite restless. I don’t have them horrible drunk sleeps anymore obviously and I feel well rested so that’s a positive.
- That Abstinence is the way for me
I can’t moderate so it’s one or the other at this stage. If I went back to drinking today I would down a whole bottle of wine and then again tomorrow. Unless I can somehow train my brain to think about it differently then for now abstinence is for me.
- That stopping drinking doesn’t solve all your problems
Shit still happens, I still have down days where I can’t be arsed, I still get spots each month, people still irritate me and piss me off, I have days at work where I just can’t be bothered. I had unrealistic expectations that it would all be perfect all the time.
- I’m a morning person
Before I had Hanna I would have said I was a night owl but as a new mum you kind of get thrown into having to be morning person. For the past 8 years I have got used to it and now it’s when I am at my best. My husband hates it because there is no stop button, he’s drinking his morning brew trying to wake up and I’m sweeping up around him at 6am, this happened just last week. I get up now and do 10 minutes of Yoga on my balcony every day, I’m planning my day my brain is super active. Even at the weekends I’m up at 5.30am.
- Comparison is the thief of joy (eye roll on the cheesy statement but it’s true)
I try really hard to not compare myself to anyone anymore. It makes me unhappy and there is no point.
- I’m a better driver
Weird one but I have been known to be a bad driver. I’ve had a few crashes in my time but not since being here in Australia. Since being here I have developed a fear of driving and avoided it where I could. Here is the reason. Have you ever drank so much the night before that you drive in the morning and everything is in slow motion and you know you shouldn’t be doing it but you do because you have to get somewhere? I once went to a festival (If you read this Donna you will remember) stopped drinking at 3am then got up at 8am to drive home. I was so tired and drunk that we had to stop for a MacDonald’s and a nap in the car park before I could carry on. It was the worst. I was a lot younger, maybe 28 but still old enough to know better. Anyway I now don’t have that day after feeling ever and feel so much more confident driving.
- I’m just really happy
This has to be the biggest take away and it’s what we all strive to be. One of my work friends said the other day, Emma’s usually singing and happy but since she stopped drinking she is even more so. I am sure that I am annoying but I can’t help it. This is how I feel now, I know that life can change very quickly so I am rolling with it.
- How amazing my husband, friends and family are
I wrote a whole blog on this so I won’t go on but the support my husband has shown me has made me love and respect him even more. If he had decided to not support me this would have been so much more difficult for me. Truly grateful.
Writing this post and seeing all the positive and zero negatives has cemented my decision to continue. I don’t want to put a time frame on it, I was going to commit to a year but it’s just too much pressure. I will keep going for as long as I am happy.