Oh dear, could I imagine I’d be writing so many of these stories? I’m still not a patronizing “sobriety” author! Live your life however you want. If drinking in moderation makes you happy, fine! For many years, I did that — I enjoyed a few drinks at the end of the day. I don’t think I have any regrets.
I reduced my drinking in the past year and most recently stopped completely, so I’m sharing some takeaways. It feels like a great reset. No, I’ve not suddenly transformed my life and achieved grandiose things. Maybe I will later. It’s a reset. It’s a new journey with more productive daily time and uninterrupted clarity of mind.
This note is, though is not about the mind. It’s about the body.
I’m an avid runner, so I am skinny. It wasn’t always the case. In my late twenties and thirties, I put on a lot of weight. But in 2020, I lost twenty-five pounds — in that “pandemic” year, I started running a lot. I was consistent and ran with variety. I did intervals, for example. I became lighter, and running became easier. My nutrition became healthier (but I kept my evening drinks!). I ran even more. It was a virtuous circle.
Because I’ve stayed super consistent in my running for three years now, I’ve kept my much lower weight. But it’s still an effort. Often I think how much of a challenge it is for other people to avoid weight gain. On average, I run sixty to sixty-five miles a week. Sixty-five, week after week, for three years now! That’s a lot, and I still have to be careful about my nutrition. I’m always conscious of the risk of overeating.
Expectedly, since I stopped drinking several weeks ago, I dropped another couple of pounds. Two or three drinks every evening is easily several hundred calories. So, this benefit of not drinking is obvious. But I wanted to expand on the nuances. It’s just not the direct calories that are gone.
When I used to have my drinks, putting things in my mouth — drinks, food, or snacks — would continue late into the night. I’d have dinner and then continue my evening with a glass of wine. I’d grab a piece of cheese, and I’d grab another one. I’d get several sips of juice. When done with wine, I’d make myself a cup of tea. I try to avoid rich desserts, but with my tea, I’d have a small piece of something sweet to offset the salt from my snacks. The point is that because of alcohol, the process of stuffing my mouth and stomach with things would continue for hours.