Just four short weeks ago, I told you about my plans for 2018, and more specifically my plans for January. Over this month, using the super useful Drinkaware app, I’ve set goals, logged every glass of wine (and every gin), noted every unit and every calorie, every drink-free day and lot of other associated stuff. And now, as we’re finally saying goodbye to January (or should I say good riddance?), there’s time to reflect upon how it’s gone, the lessons I’ve learned, the bits I’ll take with me into the rest of the year, and the bits I’ll leave behind. And so, in no particular order, here are my thoughts:
How’s your January going? If you read my healthy plan for 2018, you’ll know that I’m determined to be more healthy this month (and hopefully carrying on for the entire year), to foster a healthier respect for alcohol, break the habit of my after dinner glass or two of wine and eat a much healthier diet, with a lot less meat and sweet treats. How am I getting on? Well, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, but I think I’m on the right track. Read on for my thoughts so far on my Drinkaware month – an update on my mission to break bad habits and foster new, healthy ones.
How’s your January going? We’re just hoovering up the last of the Christmas goodies, but we’re also eating much more healthily (lots of healthy food inspo to come) and I’m back running again, so I feel I can forgive the odd Cadbury’s Hero (or three!). I mentioned in my plans for 2018 post that I’m really going to start concentrating on my health and wellbeing this year: looking after my body and my mind, and a big part of this for me is cutting down on my drinking, staying within the recommended guidelines and getting lots of alcohol free days. We’ve spend an enjoyable few days researching some healthier substitutes our usual drinks, and while lots are just hideously sweet and horrid, there are a few really good non-alcoholic alternatives:
So you’ll probably have seen that Erica and I have updated the positive life plan for 2018. I do hope you’ve decided to join in, whether throwing yourself in wholeheartedly, or just jotting down a few things that you want to change this year or some goals that you might have. It did make me smile that after promising myself a healthy, alcohol free New Year, my Dad went and tested me by popping his clogs on New Year’s Day. Many of you knew what he was like and will know that he’d have laughed heartily to himself about that. So, on to my plans for 2018, then.
So that’s it, Alcohol Awareness week is over, and I promised to tell you about how I got on with my challenge to stick to the recommended weekly guidelines: that’s 14 units a week, spread across the week, evenly over three or more days with a couple of alcohol free days. I continued to keep a track of my units with the help of the Drinkaware app, and alongside it, kept a diary of what I had to drink and the circumstances in which I was drinking. Here are a few things I learned:
So last week I told you a little about my relationship with alcohol, and my Drinkaware challenge during Alcohol Awareness Week to stick to the recommended weekly guidelines: that’s 14 units a week, spread across the week, evenly over three or more days with a couple of alcohol free days. Last week, I also kept an alcohol diary, with the help of the Drinkaware app (and the notes on my phone to record the actual circumstances). Here’s how I got on:
How’s your relationship with alcohol? I’d say that mine’s… complicated. When we were younger, I was always the one who would volunteer to drive. I’m naturally quite chatty and happy, and it didn’t occur to me that I needed to drink alcohol to have a good time, therefore I was generally the designated driver, and happy enough with it. Now, we don’t tend to go out much, so our drinking is done at home, and this has increased steadily over time. Add to this the fact that we really love our wine, to the point that I write about it and we even invest in it, and you’ll see why our alcohol consumption has steadily grown. Next week, 13th to 19th November is Alcohol Awareness Week, and I’ve been thinking a little bit about how (and why) I drink. It’s been an interesting time…
We had a such a lovely new year. Turtle, my gorgeous niece, made the most amazing cocktails, we had a scrummy dinner cooked by my very clever sister in law (the sweet potato and chorizo was a revelation), and then Sam, Charlie, Jackson and even, hilariously, my brother IJ and I had a mad dancing competition on the Wii. A fab time. It ended with champagne and cuddles with velvet nosed doggies on squishy sofas watching the New Year fireworks on the telly. I couldn’t have been happier.
Last year at this time I vowed to be completely alcohol free in January. I’ve got to be honest, it was tough, but I DID end January feeling amazing (and a whole 8lb lighter – without even trying!). I also said I’d never do it again (and I got a special edition bottle of Bombay Sapphire for Christmas – sob…), but here we are again after two back to back holidays during which I overindulged in both the food AND the booze, and then Christmas and its associated gluttony. And frankly, after my disgusting behaviour on Christmas Eve (there was singing. And I don’t even remember going to bed), I probably owe it to my liver to give it a holiday.
Sometimes an intervention needs to be take place for anyone whose drinking has got out of control before it’s too late.
Bring it on, then, 2013, I’m ready and raring to go!
So finally… FINALLY! alcohol-free January is over. It seemed like a really long month but I stuck to my guns and not a drop of alcohol, nor a single fattening thing passed my lips the entire time.
It was tough. That’s an understatement – it was really tough. For someone whose routine is to finish clearing up from dinner, then head straight to the fridge for a glass of wine before collapsing in front of the TV, it took some getting used to.
I found that half the battle was having something nice to sip, so the norm became diet tonic with loads of ice and a slice of lime. This really seemed to do the trick and I actually started to enjoy waking up with a clear head.
And then I went to the Gatwick Passenger Panel meeting and lovely Penny Haslam said ‘wow, you’re looking fantastic – your skin looks great’, which made me feel fab (especially coming from someone so gorgeous). Another side benefit was that I lost 8lb. In one month! Yes, okay, after December’s excesses I was always going to lose a few pounds, but the combination of not wanting to snack (a terrible side effect of drinking wine) and not eating cakes and biscuits really did me good.
Would I do it again? Honestly? Probably not. Especially in the light of a report released in January by the Commons Science and Technology Committee which says it’s much better for you to drink in moderation and make sure you have at least two days a week completely alcohol free than a blanket ban in January which can often mean you go back on it ‘large’ in February!
But it’s changed my attitude to drinking. My first day back ‘in the saddle’ as it were, English Dad and I had a couple of glasses of red wine each. Not an over-indulgence, you’d think, but the next day I woke feeling groggy and headachey… and I’m really beginning to believe that a glass of wine or two should be an occasional treat rather than an everyday occurrence. I love a gin and tonic occasionally, and this doesn’t seem to have such a bad effect on me, so maybe that should be my drink of choice…
A friend also told me that sometimes that initial craving for a drink can be because you’re thirsty too – so I’m forcing myself to grab a glass of water and sip that first, before jumping on the booze.
What about you? How much do you drink, and did you abstain in January?
Don’t forget to check out my friend notSupermum’s take on alcohol free January as well.
Do you have suspicions that a friend or a loved one is facing an alcohol problem? There are signs that someone is abusing alcohol that you will have to know about to be sure.
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