Cheers to me as I celebrate 6 months of living an alcohol-free life. Upon reflection, I’m a bit shocked with how easy it’s been. I guess…I was ready. As I drank less and less, the gifts of an alcohol-free life were clear. And the benefits of this way of living continue to roll in with each month.
What Drinking Less Did (is doing) For Me
My goal here is not to make anyone feel guilty about their choices. In fact, I almost shy away from writing these sorts of posts because of that. There are an incredible number of people who have healthy relationships with alcohol. There are also an incredible number of people who could benefit from drinking less.
An alcohol-free life has offered me:
- More confidence and less anxiety
- Better sleep
- Zero heartburn at night
- Zero guilt about something I said or did at a party/social event
- The ability to SEE everything and be present to my life
- Improved cholesterol
- Improved digestion
- Less issues during running
- Increased energy
- A more positive mindset
- Improved relationships with my spouse and children
Effects of an alcohol-free life on your health
As a dietitian, I would be remiss if I left out alcohol’s impact on health. How much alcohol you drink (drinks/week) is on any health questionnaire you fill out. It’s on ours at McDaniel Nutrition, too. I used to lie on those. I didn’t want to admit that I was drinking something like 10-12 drinks a week. What would the doctor think? Well, guess what, I was never confronted. That’s too bad. In my opinion, all health professionals should ask more questions. Why would I spend time discussing anti-inflammatory food choices and neglect alcohol? Reducing alcohol intake could:
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve blood sugar control
- Support gut health
- Reduce fatty liver issues
- Improve sleep
- Improve energy
- Improve body composition
- Help you better absorb nutrients
- Decrease injuries
You could eat blueberries, yogurt, and kale everyday and not come close to improving your health as much as reducing alcohol intake could.
Our clients deserve to know what alcohol does to their body and mind. The alcohol industry has led us astray, and it’s time for health professionals to stand up and speak to the evidence on alcohol.
Fewer Drinks, Lots More Life
If you’re interested in drinking less or not at all, I’d love to share a few things that worked for me.
These tips are intended for those who don’t feel they have a serious drinking problem. Those with a serious drinking problem should seek professional support.
Be Pulled, Not Pushed To An Alcohol-Free Life
I’ve wanted to be alcohol-free for years. And, while I would often shame myself for failed attempts, the failed attempts were necessary. I needed to be ready. Habits will stick when you feel pulled to do something. It’s never fun to be pushed. Embrace the journey. You are in charge. You choose. And, if you have more drinks than you intended – so what. You’ll get it figured out. Be curious, kind, and compassionate to yourself the whole way.
Communicate With Those That Matter
My husband still drinks, but he’s supportive. It was very important that I share exactly what I was doing, and that he had my back. He takes the time to share what he’s noticed since I’ve stopped drinking. He’s noticed I’m more confident, less anxious, and I don’t make big messes in the kitchen like I did when I was hungover. Well, excuse me for trying to still feed my family even when I felt like crap. 😉
Find Subs for your Sips
The market of mocktails and alcohol-free wine, beer, and spirits is on fire. I’ve had delicious spicy margs, IPA beers, and wine that are 100% alcohol-free. Cherries on top they also come with less added sugar and nutrient-void calories. It’s also fun to drink one of these at any time of the day! I felt indulgent and fun having an alcohol-free marg doing a work-related zoom call on Cinco De Mayo. Try some of our favorite, refreshing summer drinks!
Sit With The Good
Our human tendencies are to focus on the negatives. An alcohol-free life offers so many fresh mornings, clear conversations, and improvements in health. Sit with the good! Take time to notice each day how wonderful you feel when you drink less. Pat yourself on the back. Research shows it works. Pausing to say – I feel great. I’m happy with myself.
For the full story on my alcohol-free journey, check out these two LOVE YOU MORE podcasts episodes: Our Complicated Relationship with Alcohol and Rethinking the Drink.
And, if you’re looking for a team of Registered Dietitians who will support you in ALL the areas of your life, you’ve come to the right place. I think I’m the only alcohol-free gal in the group, but each one of our down-to-earth dietitians can help you find the relationship you’re seeking. Cheers to us all on our own beautiful journeys.