It seems that every time the New Year comes around, there seems to be an influx of dieting tips and weight loss strategies that everyone is trying in order to finally get rid of the unwanted pounds. Normally these methods are unorthodox strategies that are normally, well, ineffective. However, it seems that a couple of times a year, whether it’s for “Dry January” or “Stoptober”, the challenge of eliminating alcohol intake for better health and well-being is becoming increasingly popular. We set our private clients the challenge of alcohol abstinence to see first-hand the benefits going tee total. Here’s 7 things that happen when you stop drinking for a month…
1. Morning workouts became easier
Let’s be honest, who likes early morning training sessions? If your workout schedule means you’ve been burdened with early morning workouts, you’ve probably experienced the struggle in rolling out of bed and getting your body into gear. You may have even tried some methods to make waking up easier to make the process that much easier. Sound familiar? You’d be in the same boat as many of our private personal training clients who suffered these all too familiar circumstances. However, one thing became immediately apparent when our clients quit the booze – early morning workouts became significantly less torturous. When questioned as to why they thought this was occurring, all of our clients provided the same answer – they were sleeping much much better. It seemed that a common trend was an ability to fall asleep earlier and without waking up various times. The science would conclude this would be so because of the reduction of alpha wave patterns in your brain – something that happens when you drink before bed.
2. You’ll lose more weight
Not everyone wants to lose weight and that’s absolutely fine. However, if you’ve been trying to shift an extra couple of pounds then deciding to avoid alcohol could be the lifestyle change that makes it a reality. Most people are ignorant to the sheer amount of calories actually within alcohol, let alone the health implications that are associated with excess drinking. We often refer to the calories within alcohol as “empty” calories because they have no nutritional value. Even just moderate amounts of alcohol can make losing weight significantly more difficult and the research strongly supports the reason: you eat more when you drink. Researchers noted in one study that women who drink the equivalent of 2 alcoholic beverages consumed an extra 300 calories per day which piggybacks a separate study that found when people drink, they ate 30% more food. Remember, this extra calorie consumption isn’t even accounting for the calories of the actual alcohol, just the extra food you’ll binge on.
So what does this mean? Well, when we assessed our clients after a month of drinking abstinence, half of them told us that they had lost more weight than than prior month, even though their exercise and eating habits were the same, this was solely down to cutting out alcohol. They also felt less likely to overindulge on fatty and sugary foods.
3. Your liver will like you again
Arguably, the most important health benefit that will occur when you cut out the booze. What’s been made apparent in various studies that have looked at the effects of alcohol abstinence and the effects it has on the liver is that the benefits can be almost immediate. One study by New Scientist along with a liver specialist at the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London found that liver fat dropped by as much as 20% in those who gave up alcohol. Liver fat is detrimental to your liver and can often be an indicator of obesity. It doesn’t stop there, the studies also highlighted an improvement in blood glucose levels which are directly associated with your diabetes risk. What does all this actually mean? That even just a small reduction in alcohol can immensely benefit you and your body – almost instantly.
4. Your social life will improve
This one may seem counter-intuitive at first right? Surely opening yourself up to alcohol gives you more opportunities in which to become more social? Take a quick look at your social life at the moment, you’ll probably notice that many gatherings and events take place around alcohol. Whether it’s celebrating a mate’s birthday, relaxing with a few beers to watch the football or heading out for Friday night drinks. Our clients’ month of sobriety shook things up a little because the default social options were no longer available. Of course, the normal alternatives are there: hang out with a glass of water instead but what we noticed was something even we didn’t anticipate. Our clients were having to look for different means to hang out with their friends, ones that weren’t based around a gin and tonic. Clients would invite friends over for film nights with their children or for Sunday morning bike rides. Admittedly, these may seem a little unconventional but it made one thing clear: cutting alcohol won’t kill your social life, it may actually improve it as you look for new and interesting ways to bond with your pals without booze. Plus you never know – you may just act as an example and role model to your friends and get them making the same healthy lifestyle choices you’re making.
5. You won’t be as lazy
6. Your skin will look better
This one may seem trivial but improved appearance of skin is something that most people strive for and alcohol (or less of) could be the answer. Smoother, less dry skin are typical with reduced alcohol consumption as alcohol can lower your skin’s antioxidant levels, which decreases your risk of damage from UV light, inflammation and potentially premature ageing.
7. You’ll save more
Let’s face it, drinking is expensive and the prices can quickly sneak up on you. At the time, a bottle of beer or wine doesn’t seem like much, but the numbers can quickly add up. However, one thing is for sure, cutting back on alcohol will certainly bump up your monthly pay check giving you the freedom to invest the savings into things that will further extend your healthy lifestyle. Maybe use the money you’ve saved to pay for that gym membership you’ve been meaning to take out or pay for our bespoke online personal training service!