July 1, 2024

The Results of Reducing My Alcohol Intake

Jumping on board with “Dry January” was something I decided in December. It was after coming back from a trip to Europe where I indulged in all things wine that I decided, starting in January, I was going to give it a rest for a solid month. Throughout the rest of December, I mentally prepared myself by giving positive affirmations as to why I wanted to start reducing my alcohol intake overall. What I didn’t know was how beneficial it would be to my entire life. It also gave me the chance to evaluate my relationship with alcohol. Culturally, alcohol is a big part of our lives where I live. Almost everything revolved around eating or drinking, so it’s a bit hard to avoid. If you’re with no will power, it’s torture. My promise to myself was to take away as much temptation as possible and just do this thing. I’m eternally grateful to myself that I did, and I’ll tell you all the benefits that came with this interruption of the habit of drinking.
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Deep Sleep

Better Sleep

As I continue to get more into my 40s, I noticed how I was blaming my hormones on poor sleep and agitation at night. When I began reducing my alcohol intake, that little blame game stopped me in my tracks. As soon as I stopped drinking, my sleep quality skyrocketed. It was like I was on the best medication, only it was completely natural. My hormones seemed to “calm down” I suppose, and I was sleeping like a rock. While I know I am entering perimenopause and all sorts of other fun things, I know now that if I just swap out the booze for a nice mocktail, my future self benefits greatly and I get the good sleep that my body needs. For me, that's about 8 hours each night. Dry January began with a bang. Or a good night's sleep.
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Not Even Close to What I Spent on Wine Each Month!

Save Money

Wine is my weakness. I don’t much care for beer, unless it’s a good German Hefeweizen, but a good glass or 3 of wine does me just right. However, drinking wine each day is expensive. My local wine shop was delighted by my drinking habit, but my bank account was not. Sure, it’s less expensive than going out for cocktails at a restaurant, but I also found myself consuming more at my own house. After all, I didn’t have to drive anywhere. Reducing my alcohol intake also reduced my expenses. That was a win all around, and it’s rare now that I’ll open a bottle of wine just for myself. The pressure to drink it all before it spoils is too great, and don’t need that kind of stress in my life. Mocktails for the win.
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You Don't Want to Crash into This!

Responsible Driver

Knowing you will always be able to pass a breath test is so comforting. Take it from me, who did get a DWI at age 21 or 22 for the whopping two beers I drank (I’m small, ok?), it’s nice to know that no matter what, I’m safe. And everyone else on the road is safe with me, too. Plus, the older I get, the more intolerant I am of how “those young kids do things nowadays.” Even though I was that kid, I’m not anymore. Age really does make you wiser, and driving responsibly is the only way to go at this stage of my life. So when I’m out and want my non-alcoholic beverage because reducing my alcohol intake is important to me, I don’t feel bad. There are more reasons than not to drive with zero alcohol in your blood.
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Hangovers Suck!

No More Wasted Hangover Days

Is there anything worse than a hangover day? Luckily I haven’t had one in years, but I have had mild and sluggish days. I can’t stand the thought of being incapacitated for an entire day because of a few alcoholic beverages I “had” to consume the day or night before. Recovery time when reducing my alcohol intake is zero, and I like that. My body wakes up at the same time no matter what I did the night before, so I figure I may as well make the best of it. Now that I have cut back so much, even one glass of wine or a beer makes me on the sluggish side, so I try to avoid that at all costs. It helps to have the drink earlier in the night so your body can metabolize it, which I learned from someone on Mel Robbins’ podcast. Tips and tricks, friends. That’s what it’s all about.
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Strawberry Mocktail

Lose Weight

Looking to lose a few pounds? Look no further than cutting out the booze. Reducing my alcohol intake lost me FOUR pounds. That was a total bonus, and something I had not even thought of when I stopped drinking. Now that it’s off and drink way less frequently, it hasn’t come back. I’m more at my optimal weight, and I feel great about myself. The same thing happened when I stopped drinking sodas. In that instance, I lost SIX pounds. It’s a little unnerving to think that there are that many calories in drinks, but the facts don’t lie. As I get older and my body’s metabolism decreases, this is a great hack for me, and one I will not take for granted. Reduce the booze and lose! Weight, that is!
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Friends Who Also Reduced Their Alcohol Intake!

Find Friends with Like Minds

Once I started being more vocal about reducing my alcohol intake, others started expressing interest in doing the same. Additionally, I found like-minded people who also either don’t drink or reduced their intake. That give you something to bond over, for better or worse. Alcohol seems to be such an important part of our lives, doesn’t it? It’s at brunches and dinners and celebrations. Everywhere you look, there it is. So when you find your (new) people, you can band together and eliminate alcohol from every single gathering. The pressure will be off, and you can actually get to know each other when you are…gasp…sober. You know what else that does? Helps you weed out friends you want to eliminate too. This could be a complete cleansing process for you. Buckle up.

Bye to the Fog

One somewhat scary thing for me when eliminating alcohol in January was that after two weeks, I had no more brain fog. What I didn’t know was that I had it in the first place. Brain fog is caused by several things, and for me it was likely poor sleep due to alcohol. Inflammation is also a potential result. And inflammation is the stuff that causes things like cancer. I wanted nothing to do with that, so it has been easy for me in these subsequent months to know that reducing my alcohol intake altogether is a good thing. Even having some drinks here and there, I do not experience the absolute fog that was on my brain for who knows how long. I’m not sure about you, but I’m glad I’m done with that.
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Energetic!!

More Energy

My energy levels have always been pretty good. I never feel this urge to nap during the day or get overly fatigued at any given point. However, after reducing my alcohol intake, my energy got even better. Coupled with the clearer head and brain, and my body was bursting with excitement and the energy to do more things in a day. I also knew that my improved sleep was helping with that piece. No more constant interruptions at night because I needed to guzzle water or take ibuprofen to avoid a hangover. Yuck. I absolutely love how much I can get done in a day. It’s like having a battery inside of you that keeps you going and then you recharge at night. Truly, this was a huge benefit to all I want to do in my life. I’m accomplishing so much more, and I love that for myself.
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I Think My Skin Looks Great! No Filter!

My Skin Looks Amazing

While I cannot credit the whole thing to reducing my alcohol intake, I know that it has helped with the quality of my skin. I've struggled with acne my whole life. Looking back at pictures, I hate how I always had a zit. In the past few years, I've really been trying to do natural things to make my skin look good. The reason I know it's natural is because I haven't changed much as far as topical. Because I've reduced alcohol intake, I'm more hydrated, which is beneficial to our skin. I've also chosen to eat healthier than ever, shopping mainly at our farmers market. And my real "secret" is the bee pollen that I take each morning in my smoothies. Oh, and I avoid the sun like it will eat me alive. With all of these things combine, my skin is rocking for a lady in her mid-40s.

Ditch the Booze for 30 Days

A few of my friends have expressed interest in gaining more clarity or motivation. The first thing I tell them is to stop drinking for 30 days. It really does a reset for you. Why would you want to consciously go back to consuming alcohol the way you did before when you now know how good it feels to be alcohol free? Take it from me, and by me I mean someone who has decided that reducing my alcohol intake was the right choice (and not eliminating completely), you want to know how this feels. I love encouraging people to explore this in their lives. We’re getting older, wiser, and our bodies are demanding more. If we want to live out a solid, quality life, this alcohol thing needs to be under control. I’m here to support. I’ve got you. Now let’s see what amazing things you can do after you make this happen for yourself.
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