Quitting Alcohol For A Month – I DID IT

First and foremost, I’d like to give BIG THANKS to all of you who came along with me for the past four weeks – supporting me, checking in and sharing your own stories.

I used it all as a crutch as I walked on this path with urges in the shadows.

I know it sounds cliche but this was one of the best things I think I’ve done for my body. And it’s not all in my mind. Here’s an interesting article about the benefits a body gets from going a month without alcohol… pretty dang cool if you ask me, not to mention the other benefits you get as well, like saving money and time.

But it’s not easy. (Like most things worthwhile.) For me, the hardest part was actually starting. The beginning felt really long but by the third week in, my brain began to think differently and that’s when it got really good. Not gonna lie, though. Temptations were a big part of the process so if I can offer any advice it’s to prepare for those with a strong network of support, a fierce mind-over-matter-determination, and a willingness to see your ugly side so you can do something about it.

But what I think can really help anyone considering going dry a month (or more) is if I be incredibly honest about my experience, so here goes. I’m going to do it as a pro/con list. ***Fair warning though, I’m not going to hold back…

PROS

I lost 5.5 pounds, as the scale tells me so consistently.
My sleep has NEVER been better; and by that, I mean I don’t wake as much, it’s more restful and mornings feel way more vibrant.
I pee A LOT less.
I spend more time with my husband doing active activities. Rather than go to a happy hour, we opt for a bike ride.
Mental clarity is way sharper.
My skin is glowing, according to my husband.
My face doesn’t look bloated, according to several people.
My allergies got better. Not sure how, but they did.
According to my app Dry Days (thanks for the recommend Judy!) I have saved almost $250 dollars. (!!!)

CONS

A few days in, you get bloated. Like, really bloated.
Agitation is the name of the game. You will have to allow yourself to feel it.
Sadly, your bowels get way out of whack. Constipation city for the first few weeks.
Depression hits on weekends (and randomly at 2 in the afternoon on a Tuesday.) I binged TV shows that held my interest and made me laugh (Schitt’s Creek & The Golden Girls) and read a shit ton of books. (4 just this month!)
I felt A LOT less social.

That’s pretty much what I’ve come up with. If anymore pop into my head, I will add. But as always, thank YOU for joining me and I’d love to hear about any of your experiences :)

Quitting Alcohol For A Month – Day 24!

If there was a time I was going to cave, it was this past weekend.

Heat wave, Labor Day weekend, pandemic and the anniversary of meeting my husband eight years ago, Sept 3.

But I didn’t.

I stood strong and channeled more self-control than I think I ever have before.

People were drinking everywhere… and my favorite thing to do in a heat wave is enjoy a cold glass of sauvignon blanc with a good book by the Pacific Ocean. I had the book, in fact was finishing it, and the ocean, but I needed to teach myself the wine was not necessary, just a compliment.

And I did.

But what I’m most proud of is the fact I didn’t let the no-booze change my plans. My hubby and I went on a bike ride along the coast and even stopped at a boardwalk bar for snacks. I tried a Heineken 00 – no alcohol beer – and it was quite good!

So, here I am. On week four and feeling good. Down five pounds and my sleep has gotten so much better. I’m sleeping through the night without waking up multiple times and I also don’t feel bloated, like I would after a night of drinks.

Next week, my month dry will be over.

24 days in and it doesn’t seem as long as it had when I started. And while I’m not going to be sober, I know I have changed. My thought process for wine is different and my body is loving the results of being alcohol free.

Thank you for coming along with me. Stay tuned for next week, when I list everything, all the good and the bad, to expect from a month dry, as according to my time doing it.

Quitting Alcohol For A Month – Day 16

I really want a glass of wine, but I’m not gonna do it.

That’s been something I’ve been dealing with lately and this whole going dry thing has really put my self-discipline to the test.

There are so many lovely moments to have a glass of vino, from enjoying it with hearty pasta dishes to sipping a glass by the roar of the Pacific Ocean, from relaxing with a drink after a long day to toasting alongside others after a hard week comes to a close.

But what I’ve realized is that those things don’t NEED wine. Wine just compliments them.

So, I’m resetting my brain essentially to see alcohol for what it is – a most delicious treat that needs to be handled delicately.

Even if one isn’t addicted, it’s very easy to abuse drinking. And the pandemic had made it far too easy for me to indulge…

So, this is where I’m at.

Day 16 dry and feeling pretty damn good… despite the urges.

Thanks for coming along with me!

Quitting Alcohol For A Month – Day 9

Thanks for joining me again, on my month of going dry.

Not gonna lie, it is hard AF. Harder than it should be, yes, but doing it during the pandemic, well, I’m thinking it makes it extra hard.

But I’m not going to whine. Instead, I want to share some things, both positive and maybe not so much, that I’ve been learning on this journey….

Summer is the worst time to do it.
As a friend of mine said when I asked for guidance on my month of sobriety, “Well, first, I don’t do it in the summertime.” And she’s right. Hot weather practically begs for a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc and forget about BBQs… sparkling water just doesn’t cut it when refreshing cold beer bottles glisten in the rays.

I sleep better.
In all seriousness, my sleep has WAY improved. When I would drink, I would wake up during the night and also, trips to the bathroom were more plentiful. I find myself now sleeping restlessly through the night and waking up more refreshed and focused for the day.

Trips to the grocery store are cheaper.
It is truly surprising how much my receipts at the grocery store have diminished when I don’t add a couple bottles of wine or a six pack of beer to it. Alcohol is far from cheap so this was noticeable right away and my bank account is loving it!

I’ve lost three pounds.
Sure, it might have been water weight but still, the scale is consistently down a few pounds and I’ll take it!

I’m learning new habits.
Rather than head to the fridge for a glass of wine after a long day or with a good meal, I have begun to think outside my norm and get more creative. I pour sparkling water into a wine glass and it’s lovely. I drink way more water, period, and have begun to explore more alcohol-free drinks, such as Sleepytime ice tea for warm summer nights or adding fresh raspberries to my morning water.

And there’s more… stay tuned!

 

Going Dry – Come Along With Me!

I don’t know about you, but being home more has made me drink more.

And boy, do I love me some wine but while enjoying it is lovely, abusing it is not.

But damn, it’s sooooooo easy to have one glass and then, just keep going, right?

So, in these times, with moderation flying out the window, it’s at the point I need to reassess. And after a particularly alcohol-fueled birthday weekend, my husband and I decided we would give our livers a break and go dry.

For. A. Month.

For some, this may seem like no big deal. For me, it is a big deal.

I’m on Day 5 and feeling good but it’s Friday and the weekend is starting and I’m not gonna lie… it’s not going to be easy to go without that glass of wine on my patio with the book I’m reading, or sipping a Moscow mule at weekend happy hour with my hubby or enjoying a glass of bold red with Sunday pasta.

But, in order for me to reset so I can get back to moderation of having drinks at those times and not at, say, 3 on a Tuesday, I believe I need to go a month without any.

And that’s where I’m at.

Day 5 and going….

 

 

Gym Observations

Hi All!

Been a hot minute since I wrote about my weight loss journey. Still rocking the gym five to six days a week and though I am all about pizza and bread and wine still, I have employed moderation to maintain my weight, though still want to shed ten more pounds… (Don’t we all?)

Anywho, as someone who now goes to the gym more than she ever thought she would, I have a few observations about gyms and gym etiquette that I would love to share with my readers, so here goes!

7 Observations From A Gym-Goer

1. Sweat, while a natural body activity, is really disgusting when it’s left on shared equipment. Rule #1 – wipe up your sweat! Though most do, there are those who don’t and they give us germaphobes a run for our money.

2. Mirrors are helpful and hurtful. Yes, they help you eye your form and movement but damn if they are not a constant reminder of where you are versus where you want to be. So, I’ve begun to change the way I think of them to use them as motivation rather than a source of depression.

3. After making a gym visit part of my morning routine, it’s become more enjoyable. At first, I would go whenever I fit it in but I noticed that if I didn’t go before noon, chances were I wasn’t going to that day. For me, the gym is something I like, but not loved, and it takes a lot of energy, which I have most of in the morning. My husband, on the other hand, likes to go at the end of his day. It works for him. Point being, once you figure out what works best for you, the gym is less a nuisance in your day and more a part of it, at least from my experience.

4. I can take the grunters. I can take the full faces of makeup and perfume smells. I can even take the machine hoggers. But what I can’t stay quiet about are the gym-goers who watch stuff on their phones with the volume up. Come on! Of course, we all want to do it, but have some respect and either use ear plugs or simply don’t do it. No one should be forced to listen to your news program or children’s videos or the latest episode of the Kardashians (for the love of all that’s holy!)

5. Machines under the air conditioner are coveted and rightly so. They are the gems, at least for me whose body runs at 100 degrees at all times, and once you figure where these machines are, they will be the best thing to get you to stay at the gym and not leave mid-workout. Well, that and discipline, of course ;)

6. Women can be just as strong as men. I get that genetically, males and females have differences making it perhaps easier for men to gain strength, but let no one tell you men are inherently stronger. Just walk into a gym and you will see that is definitely not the case.

7. I am typically the only one wearing flip flops. I know it’s more dangerous but I don’t use free weights so is it really? the crew at my gym let me slide and I feel more comfortable. (For those who don’t know, I wear flip flops 365 days out of the year, whenever and wherever I possibly can. I even bought a “fancy” pair…)

Do you have any of your own gym observations? Please share!

And stay tuned, the holidays are approaching and I’m going to try to do the impossible – continue to lose weight and be healthy…

 

 

 

 

Losing 20 pounds – post 15

hey all! I am due for a scale check but I’ve decided to forgo it at this point for several reasons…

The main one being I don’t want to lose focus on the progress I’ve made by paying attention to a number.

Right now, my life is moving fast. My insanely amazing readers are handing in their notes on my book – these are people who care so much about me they’ve taken time out of their life (we’re talking parents, full time jobs) to read my book and offer constructive criticism before I submit to agents – so I am really busy working a day job as I prep for my book published, all the while trying to get my body back in shape.

Point being – I need to stay focused.

Here’s the thing. I eat sandwiches a lot (LOVE THEM in fact) and I’m Italian so pasta and bread are just part of my weekly routine and I am not going to budge on that. I love wine (though i’ve cut back, yay!) and I will pretty much need chocolate when it’s my time of the month if you don’t want me to bite your arm off.

See, I want to be able to eat these things and while I understand I need to do so in moderation, I will never be the person who has a slice of pizza once a month. No. That’s just not acceptable to me.

So… I’ve learned I need to work hard (I go to the gym 5-6 times a week, no shit, ask Don!) to be able to incorporate carbs into my diet on the regular, with moderation of course.

Now, you may be wondering… why no scale?

I am finally feeling the effects of working hard to get my body in shape that I don’t want to disturb my momentum.

My husband telling me the soft is gone and the tone is back means more than a number. The strength I feel when lifting a heavy box means more than a number. Pants fitting looser means more than a number.

And the way I feel about myself…

Yeah. That means a hell of a lot more than a number.

See, I was one of those people who weighed a solid 104 pounds till I was 33 and I ate whatever I wanted, with no concern for freshness, processed-ness and/or chemicals.

I was thin but unhealthy.

Then, I became overweight and unhealthy.

I’ve now realized neither are ideal.

So, what is?

Feeling good in my skin, happy with what I see in the mirror (not anyone else) and a healthy body.

The number on the scale doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t at the end of the day.

I will let you know if I’m back in the 130s next time I write but for now, I’m going to take pride in the fact that I shed unnecessary fat by working hard on my body and when I look in the mirror, I smile.

That’s the important part.

I smile.

As always, thanks for joining me!

 

 

 

Losing 20 pounds – post 14

Hi All!

I appreciate everyone who has kept me going by asking me about my health journey and keeping me accountable! I will now start to blog more as I seek an agent for my book  :)

But here’s where I’m at.

I’m averaging weight-loss of about one pound of week. Sigh.

It’s beyond frustrating BUT what Don, my ex-fitness trainer husband has told me – my body is transforming the fat it’s stored into muscles as I work out and exercise. So, I’ve been staying off the scale for now so I don’t get overly discouraged. I could boost things up by dropping all carbs, alcohol, etc… but no, I’m not at that point right now. I just need a little patience, moderation and healthier choices when it comes to my diet and not expect anything overnight. I am shedding weight and I have never felt stronger in my life. My thighs are tightening every day and when I sit, they no longer want to spread out!

But for now, I’ve been staying off the scale, but I am due for a weigh in next week and will keep you posted – good or bad!

Something I’ve noticed, however, that I want to write about today is the extra time it takes to prep my food. Drive thrus are a thing of my past (except for El Pollo Loco) and that leaves me little options when I leave work at 11pm.

But, it’s all about planning.

I have learned to make a bunch of chicken wings at the start of the week to bring with me to work to snack on before, during and after. Also, I keep them on hand for a quick protein boost. I’ve learned to cut up veggies so I can grab and go, leaving me no excuse not to have them rather than having a bag a of chips or even a high calorie protein bar. I’ve learned limiting wine is not only smart for losing weight but also for boosting my energy. I’ve learned my skin likes less carbs and my tummy appreciates green things that come from the earth. I’ve rediscovered my love for artichokes, Chinese broccoli, mushrooms and shredded lettuce. And I forgot how much I love steak salads and dill greek yogurt dressing. Also, I’ve fully embraced my love for chickpea flour and have substituted it whenever a recipe calls for flour of any kind. Sour cream has been replaced by greek yogurt and nuts are a better snack than processed crap, so I keep those on hand for when I feel snacky…

Do you have any healthy eating tips to share? I’d love to know!! Meal prep is half my battle of being healthy and losing weight.

 

Losing 20 pounds – post 13

Phew! Okay… I need to get real.

First, I am back down to 140 after my crazy holiday weight period of 147.

But I need to tell you, my dear readers, that I have a new reason for my decrease in weight.

A couple weeks back, I had my yearly physical and my doctor informed me my blood-work showed I was a bit high in cholesterol and rather high in my glucose. She instructed me to make changes so as not to become diabetic in future years.

My doctor advised losing weight.

While I am on the low side of these numbers, it was still quite an eye-opening experience.

With age comes wisdom (hopefully) but also comes body decay (hopefully as little as possible.) We are mortal. Period.

However…

We continually grow in knowledge and power to guide our bodies and minds into living much longer than any generation before us.

It takes work though, if you want those years to be healthy ones.

Now, before I detail what I’ve done over the past two weeks to lose seven pounds safely, I want to address those who think talk of weight-loss is somehow body shaming, as though losing weight is a bad thing, as I’ve seen this idea take shape on social media lately…

I get that there are very real weight disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia, but with those aside, I fail to understand how losing weight equals shaming other’s bodies?

Yes, the media likes to show an unhealthy version of beauty, but go after them, not your proud friend who just lost twenty pounds and showed off their pride on a social media page.

Look, if you’re overweight and as healthy as can be, more power to you, but one’s body weight typically has to do with one’s health and becoming healthier is something to celebrate. And then on the more superficial side, if you’re happy with how your body looks, more power to you – but this goes for both weight loss and weight gain. It’s not a one-way street for those who cry #bodyshaming. If one wants to lose weight to feel and look better, according to their own standards, how is that any different than those proud of their extra weight and beautiful look?

Can’t we all agree it’s about health and being comfortable in our skin, whatever that means to us?

Okay…

So, yes. I took what my doctor said very seriously and I also want to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see. I want to be happy.

I do. For me.

I don’t care about what other’s think, as I believe my extremely personal and revealing blog posts demonstrate…

So, back to my weight-loss journey…

I’ve shed seven pounds in two weeks not by doing some insane boot camp or waking at four in the morning to put in hours in at the gym. No. Instead, I stopped going through drive-thru’s. I no longer drink wine on weekdays. I go to the gym for a minimum of thirty minutes four to five times a week. And I no longer keep chips, cookies or carb-loaded bread items in my house.

Those are my changes.

And I feel good about them.

Thank you for coming along for the ride with me. I believe weight loss is very personal and I enjoy sharing it with you.

Stay tuned… I will get down to 117 again :)

 

My First Mammogram

First off, I want to apologize – yes, again – for my delaying in posting on my blog. I truly appreciate you, dear readers, and want to explain that for the next six months, I might not be writing as much as normal here because I am editing my novel (while I wait tables and work on freelance writing assignments.) I then will be sending it out to agents and publishers so my time will be a little more limited but this is only a brief interruption. I will continue to post at least once or twice a month.

For those following my Diet Coke addiction, I have to admit I have fallen off the wagon and use this dark beverage for help with my weight loss journey. More to come…

And as for my weight loss journey, expect a new post next week. I’m figuring out my routine much more and will be sharing about it shortly. And yes, I am down a few pounds but lots more to go!

And now, for this post…

I had my first mammogram today. I turned 41 this year and my doctor told me it’s time I do it.

After waiting forty five minutes after my appointment time, I was finally called into a little dressing room area to undress to the waist and robe up.

And then more waiting.

Finally, I’m called – about an hour after my appointment time but I try to use this as training for patience (something I need continual work on.) Why do doctors set so close appointments? The majority of my doctor’s appointments keep me waiting well beyond the appointment time. When did this become acceptable??? But I digress…

My technician (I think that’s what she was…) was to the point. Friendly but distant. Definitely gave the vibe this is all routine for her.

But for me, it wasn’t. For the next ten minutes, my poor boobs were smooshed as they were x-ray’d. With all our technological progress, I don’t understand why this can’t be made a little easier on the chest??

Fortunately, the whole thing went by quickly but every time the tech told me not to breath for a x-ray (4 total), I suddenly became a person who couldn’t hold their breath longer than a second.  I realized it was because I use my breath when I feel stress or pain or uncomfortableness so having that taken away while I was clamped down was the hardest part for me.

The funniest part, though, was at the end, the tech drew closed the curtain so I could put my bra/top back on. Considering she had gotten to know my chest closer than my husband does, I couldn’t help but wonder if that was really necessary.

Overall, knowledge of my body’s health will by far make this whole visit worthwhile but if anyone can make this process more comfortable, please do!!!