Deduct 3 points if you drink
2009 was the year I quit smoking. It was also the year I decided to purchase my first eBook fitness and diet program. Since quitting the fags and it being a year after having my second child, it seemed time to “get in shape”. I printed the 12-week plan and eagerly set about planning how to implement the program. Included was a daily checklist and points system that read something like this….
- I have performed my exercise for today – 4 points
- I ate 4-6 meals today – 1 point
- I drank 2 litres of water – 1 point
all good so far….
- I ate some healthy fats – 1 point
- I ate the correct portion sizes – 1 point
- I did not drink any alcohol today – 1 point (If you drank more than 2 standard drinks today, deduct 3 points)
That all seems fair enough, hang on…Wait…WHAT??
I did not drink any alcohol today – 1 point (If you drank more than 2 standard drinks today, deduct 3 points)
I felt like I must have misread something. She had to be kidding, right? I’d been on lots of diets, none of them ever told me not to drink! Not Slimming Magazine. Not Weight Watchers or any other of the mainstream diet plans out there. They all say try to limit your intake, due to the empty calories in the alcohol. Bugger that! There was no way I was not drinking. I drank less and meticulously counted calories and only did the weight training plan. I never used the stupid “anti-alcohol” points system.
Fast forward to 2013 and I decided to try out Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation. Here I hear it again, she says “alcohol is evil for weight loss, and who finds themselves at a kebab shop at 3am unless they’ve been drinking, right?”. Agreed, or the pizza joint, or eating anything in sight just to try and moderate the effects of the alcohol.
Alcohol calories are burned in preference to any other calories. Fat burning shuts down while your liver deals with getting the toxin (alcohol) out of your system. Essentially, removing the poison to save your life becomes your body’s priority.
I wouldn’t describe myself as an alcoholic or fall down drunk, nothing bad was happening particularly (aside from the usual stuff, saying the odd thing I wish I hadn’t, interrupted sleep, hangovers and so forth). I rarely threw up or went to bed with the room spinning, I seemed to know my limit and I could usually function the next day. I wasn’t doing anything unusual, I just drank like everyone else around me did (or so I thought), it didn’t seem like a big deal. I certainly wasn’t unique. Plus, there always seemed to be a really good reason to have a drink. A party, a win of some kind, something exciting to talk about, it’s sunny, it’s snowing, the view is nice, I’m in a good mood, a bad mood, or it’s an extra special occasion, oh it’s your dogs birthday? You ripper! here’s to the dog, cheers!
Losing weight while drinking was practically impossible
Now that I am older, I find it practically impossible to lose weight if I am drinking. Not just harder, PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. I found I would do well for a few days, “relax” with a drink on Friday, then make bad food choices, eat hangover food on Saturday (fried foods anyone? Always hot chips), feel rubbish all weekend and decide I would restart on, yep, Monday. After a while of repeating this vicious cycle, I started going a bit crazy. Eventually, I decided there was only one thing for it, I would have to give away the booze entirely. This sounded much simpler in my head than it was in practice.
In 2015 I was signed up to Hello Sunday Morning and found another blogger who talked about a 100 day challenge that she had taken part in and, once she stopped drinking for long enough, she found she didn’t want to drink anymore and hardly thought about it. The website she referred to is called Tired of Thinking About Drinking and is run by the very witty, clever and entertaining Belle. She certainly is a character. In her words, she says she tripped, fell and got sober. She intended to do 30 days and never thought she would end up being 4 plus years sober, be running a blog, write a book, be penpals with approx 2500 people and do coaching to help other people stop drinking like she had. She found she liked herself and her life more without drinking. I found this quite inspiring.
My 100 Day Challenge
At the time you had to join a waiting list for the 100 Day Challenge, which I did. A few weeks later, sometime in early 2015, I got an email from Belle saying she had a place for me and was looking forward to getting to know me (I have to laugh at this point as she had no idea what she was in for! or maybe the truth is that she did and it was me who didn’t know what I was in for 🙂 ).
Several false starts and a hundred emails later, I got a run of about 8 weeks, I drank again and hated it, stopped again and finally did my 100 days (Hallelujah!). I’ve had a couple of trip ups since then and eventually, I got a system in place that worked for me and I didn’t drink for well over 6 months, so basically I didn’t drink at all for the vast majority of 2016. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve dabbled with the booze again a couple of times, it always seems innocent enough, but I always found, that I love wine, but it really doesn’t like me and makes me feel dreadful, so I don’t drink at all these days, it doesn’t suit me.
If you are interested in doing the 100 Day Challenge, go to Tired of Thinking about Drinking 100 Day Challenge. 80% of what Belle offers is free, so there is something there for everyone, really.
But, if you have money then I highly recommend not going it alone and joining Belle’s Jumpstart class, why do things the hard way right? Get as much help as you can upfront and you get Belle as your penpal Tired of Thinking about Drinking Sober Jumpstart Class. And don’t be scared to speak to her, she really doesn’t bite!
N.B. The challenge isn’t a weight loss plan and in all honesty, if you’ve been regularly drinking more than you want to then it is more important to deal with that first. Do that and it will make everything else you want to do in life so much easier. Changing lifelong eating or drinking habits requires a lot of focus. If you try to do the challenge and one of my programs at the same time then it is probably going to be too much and you won’t succeed at either. Do the challenge first and come back to me, I’ll still be here. P.S. Eat your Veggies 🙂