Or, ShApril Weeks 3 & 4
Well another ShApril has come and gone, and rather quickly! This was a ShApril I had anxiety going into. I experienced changes I wasn't ready to admit to myself. And mostly, it gave me my high school body and energy back.
Like I've said I decided to do a dry month for ShApril 2016. My last drink was on my flight back from India and Nepal on March 28th. Thirty-four days without alcohol is definitely a record for me since I was about nineteen. I've already spoken about the changes in the first two weeks without booze: mostly sleep quality and energy levels.
The second fortnight without booze reminds me of when I went vegetarian in January 2014 - I feel lighter in my body, more energized from the moment I get up. Easier to multi-task and productivity through the roof. What I didn't anticipate was that I would regress so hard to my high-school-era energy levels, body measurements and weight. Is the correct term regress? Or is that my true body balance, and have I just been hindering it for the past six years? (Note: Weight and measurements were not a motivation this ShApril).
I used to talk about everything I did in high school and wonder how the heck I did it. Grade eleven is a good example: 12 band rehearsals a week, 9 courses in school, a busy social life (including weekend partying), trips and volunteering, and then a summer of house-painting, renovation, gigs, festivals and more partying. Many days a week I would wake up before 6am to get to band rehearsal or drive to pick up my crew and paint a house. And I had boundless energy to stay up late socializing, journaling, watching TV, anything. As an adult I've wondered how I ever EVER had all the energy to maintain that schedule. Well...
I wasn't drinking.
I'l admit it here and now on the internet, I've been drinking two or more drinks a night. I wasn't willing to stop and examine that because [I thought] it made me feel good. I actually had ANXIETY to not drink for month.
Here's the list, people. Sobriety for 34 days:
Actual restful sleep. Every night.
Quick wakefulness in the morning (no alarm clock to wake up)
Less caffeine needed in the morning and at 3pm "crash time"
Better hydrated skin and body
Weight loss: 10lbs*
Inches: 2" off my waist, 2-3" off my hips*
*We don't own a scale. However my normal weight since puberty has been a 5lb range.The two times I have lost weight have been cutting out meat (5 lbs and so many inches!) and now booze (10 lbs and 2-3"). That's right - I lost more weight cutting out booze than meat! Holy crap!
Like I said. I feel seventeen.
Except now, as my mom pointed out, I'm busier than I was in high school because I also maintain a home, adult relationships and my marriage. Not drinking has not affected any of my friendships or daily/weekly activities. I am so glad I did this and learned so much about how much alcohol can affect my (small) body.
Makeup-free has not been as life changing as booze-free. It's been nearly two months of no makeup and the biggest changes I notice are in the softness and hydration of my skin. Overall it looks more and more even every week. I was excited to put some eye makeup on on May 1st, but the next day I went to work without putting anything on and I didn't even notice.
Makeup always has been an accessory, not a necessity. ShApril has reinforced that! And also inspired me to clean out my makeup vanity and reorganize.
Hubby the Omnivore: No Alcohol & Cooking More
"I feel good and I'm in no rush to go back to drinking as much as I was. I have a lot more energy and focus. I don't feel like I have as many affects as Amelia. I feel like I've lost some inches and maybe some weight...(again we don't own a scale). There must be something to be said for not consuming all the alcohol that your body metabolizes into sugar. Definitely sleeping better. And the sleep is more resultful for sure. I used to wake up a lot in the middle in the night, and I haven't found myself doing that. If I do wake up then I'm right back to sleep.
I tried to cook more this month, and I did. Not having alcohol made me feel like I had more time and focus to cook. And allowed me to go back and focus on whatever else I was doing afterwards. Last ShApril was "Ok, I don't need to do that again". It helped me realize how to eat non-processed foods and how to cut back on them. But this ShApril was "Alright I could do this again! And I do want to cut back on alcohol significantly.
I did have some cravings during ShApril (oh a scotch would be so good right now!) or at a gig, to have a drink with everybody. The cravings were more situational - not feeling restricted in a situation (like drinking wine for Passover). But I wasn't actually missing the alcohol".
So Now What?
We don't see ourselves cutting out alcohol forever. Especially our favourites - red wine and a good scotch. But right now the productivity I'm experiencing completely outweighs daily drinking! I'm interested to see the effects on our bodies as we reintroduce booze. (Hubby has had one drink: "It was nice to have a beer...I like beer. I had one. But again it didn't immediately make me want to have another one that day or the next day. I haven't been craving it at all").
Whatever your vice - alcohol, sugar, cigarettes, caffeine - I encourage you to cut it out for a month or two weeks or a day to see the effects on your body. If you're anything like me you will notice difference!