As alcohol consumption rose throughout 2020 and home drinking (my norm) became everyone else’s norm I am pleased to say I bucked the trend.
It all started in January with my now regular detox. I’ve been a fan of Dry January for several years and in 2018 my Dry Jan ran until June before I cracked in Italy.
I had piled the pounds on in 2019 and so as my 60th birthday started to focus on my horizon I felt it was time to, once and for all, do something about it after a good effort a decade earlier.
Imagine my horror as I tipped the scales heavier than I had in 2012.
So, Dry Jan was going to be a good focusing point for the start of the diet and, of course, it’s good to have that annual break from the bevvie, isn’t it?
As expected, I successfully negotiated the month (few social distractions) and so ploughed on with the diet (and the dry bit towed along with it). February came and went without much incident and as March kicked off, well, it ALL kicked off. At that point I said to myself I’d stay dry until after the ‘lockdown’ that began on March 26th. By now I was three stone to the good.
I’d also decided to move to a veggie diet (not vegan) in January and I was feeling the benefit of that too.
And as the weight dropped my exercise increased. Mainly walking, but every day. It was having a compound effect.
Well, lockdown came and went, but we hadn’t seen off the virus, so I stuck with it. My birthday in May was negotiated with ease. The distractions of Glastonbury and PrimaveraSound in June were both dispensed with, as they were both cancelled, as was our summer holiday.
Six months in and it was feeling good. Now four and a half stone better off.
Summer turned to autumn. I was now fit and running half marathons and cycling anything up to 85 miles in a trip. The weight continued to fall, peaking at 6 and a half stone.
By now I was into the normal BMI zone and had shed 94 lbs.
I’ve put some on since then, (cheese) but no more than half a stone, so I’m in a good place in that respect.
Of course, not everyone respects your decision to go dry and that’s been a challenge. For some, it seems to be some sort of weakness; not drinking. I faced the same problem in 2018 when I went six months dry. But you just need to rise above the criticism and hold your nerve. You’ll overcome that insidious social pressure to conform. But it’s difficult and unneccessary.
The next hurdle was Christmas and New Year and that’s where I relented. I shared most of a bottle of whisky with Keir and Ria on Christmas Day and I had a smaller tipple on New Year’s Eve, but nothing else.
I enjoyed the whisky. But not THAT much. I didn’t enjoy the day after, AT ALL.
It’s now Jan 6th 2021 and I’m 1 year and 2 days into my self imposed drought.
I feel great, no hangovers, much more energy, better sleep, clearer thinking.
I’ve discovered great alcohol-free alternatives and enjoyed many social events without the need for a drink.
And so it’s Dry Jan #2. Bring it on.
I realise some people will not have had the same success in tackling the bevvie, but I’m happy to share my experience in more detail if you think I can be of any assistance/encouragement. Just get in touch.
Of course, my weight loss had very little to do with coming off the booze, although it helped initially. If you’d like a fuller report on what I’ve been up to you can read an older post I wrote here.
And if you want real professional help my daughter Amy is a hugely successful health and nutrition coach and you can get help from her here. I know many people who have benefitted from her thoughtful and bespoke training and encouragement. (Including me!)
You can do it. You just need to start.