Moderation is the key when it comes to alcohol consumption. Our No Alcohol Challenge is in no way a call to action for total sobriety – unless that is what you desire. We just want to check ourselves, and you as part of our ATPB fam, for the purpose of balance, wellness and longevity.
What does moderation look like? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans say that moderation means up to one alcoholic beverage a day for women and two for men. Both Tamu and I realized that we were teetering on the line between moderate and excessive drinking. So, it is time for us to take a break, regroup and give our bodies a rest.
The challenge of moderation presents itself the most in social situations. For many of us social butterflies, going to a bar and having that drink is a reward, but it does snot stop there. It most likely spirals into four to five drinks as we chat the night away with friends or colleagues. Or in my case, moderation is stripped away when I try to ease stress by checking out of a tense situation (for example, my screaming toddler). Yes, those few glasses of wine help me tune out what is going around me, but is that what I really want? Drinking to forget or relieve the stress means you are not living in the NOW; not dealing with the issues that are causing you anxiety, emotional discomfort or worry. You can be stressed because you hate your job, are not happy in a relationship and for a plethora of other reasons, but burying those thoughts in numerous glasses of wine means you are just putting all that stuff on the back burner. The dilemma is that treating our proverbial sorrows with alcohol may feel good at the moment, but frequent and excessive amounts can wreak havoc on our physical and mental being in the long run.
You are probably thinking what is 30 days of no alcohol really going to change? For the most part, research shows that people sleep better, have increased energy and experience weight loss.
Studies have shown that alcohol can interfere with the your body’s sleep, leading to insomnia. Drinking can prevent you from regulating sleepiness and wakefulness. I know what you are thinking, after a long night out drinking once you hit the bed, lights out and you fall into a deep sleep right away. It may make it easy to fall asleep, but you spend less time in deep sleep and more time in the less restful REM (Rapid Eye Movement). In REM, it is easier for you to wake up, meaning that you may wake up often after falling into your deep sleep. So after a few drinks, you’ll probably crash once your pretty head hits that pillow, but your sleep will be anything but restful.
Prior to starting the challenge, Tamu lamented of stomach discomfort after a work trip where she indulged in her favorite white wine. Alcohol is an irritant to your stomach, which increases the production of acid. The increase of acid leads to inflammation of the stomach lining (aka gastritis). Inflammation in the stomach may lead to serious stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea. Many of us who drink frequently often suffer from various digestive issues, maybe it’s time to acknowledge alcohol’s role in our malaise. A no alcohol challenge can help identify if irritation from alcohol is a play.
No need to explain that alcoholic beverages are full of calories, I know you have heard it all before. Also, not only are they full of calories, drinking on an empty stomach normally leads to binge eating and reaching for other empty calories. So, in addition to the liquid calories, you are taking on 100s more as you chomp on those delicious french fries at midnight. That is why, for the most part, people who partake in a dry month report weight loss and increased energy.
Another surprise benefit associated with a 30-day challenge is that some people decide to keep going after the challenge has ended, or even reduce their alcohol intake on a long term basis.
We are your biggest cheerleaders if you decide to join us on this 30-day no alcohol challenge. You have all the resources and strength to crush it and we are behind you every step of the way. Your reasons for wanting to reduce your alcohol consumption or even stop drinking are for you to know, and everyone’s path is different. Just remember that engaging in a challenge like this is a gift to yourself and a loving measure of self-care.