First post on my new personal blog is a review of my GoSober challenge for MacMillan Cancer Research where I remained alcohol free for the entire month of October.
It was actually closer to 6 weeks due to starting earlier and finishing later. The main takeaways from the GoSober challenge, I felt -:
It was noticeable how much my heart rate dropped over the month with the improvements in the exercise and no drinking clearly having some impact.
It was a good experiment for the month and an added bonus to raise some money for charity. At times it felt quite surreal, especially so during evenings or weekends where I became fairly hermit-like. I found the increased focus and concentration was really beneficial at times and a pain in the butt in other ways! For example I found it took me longer to switch off in the evenings but eventually some meditation and relaxation techniques really helped in that respect.
I certainly bought and read a LOT more books and started to develop a regular daily exercise habit of yoga and/or Pilates as well as some Kettlebell swings for strength. The exercise habits became easier to stick to and the healthy eating just helped me feel better all round.
It also made me re-examine my relationship with alcohol and some of the triggers, which are touched on in the video below which I urge you to watch and then take the test on the Drink Aware website, to see if perhaps you should cut back a little on your own drinking.
Alcohol abuse is a big problem I feel and drinking to excess is deemed to be part of the ‘culture' in the UK, especially so in Scotland and I think quite a few people may be in denial that they even have a drink-related problem. I noted an ‘article‘ that listed University of Glasgow the 4th ‘drunkest' in the UK and topped all uni's in Scotland with a whopping average of 16.5 units consumed per week. I mean, the fact that the article was liked nearly 7500+ times on Facebook and that they actually have a league table for this in the first place, speaks volumes about the attitude towards booze by young people.
Alcohol also contributes towards obesity as a result of excessive consumption which can lead to poor dietary choices and is a bit of a vicious circle which is classically highlighted by the popularity of square sausage rolls or similar hangover ‘cures'. It's not helped by a plethora of junk food outlets seemingly rampant and I note that Krispy Kreme, with it's average 4 tea-spoons of sugar per doughnut, have opened up a store in Glasgow. That will be an article for another day though but for the record -:
I do think if people just reigned it all in a little, and took regular breaks from the booze), they would really see the benefits health-wise, but it does take a level of self-discipline and a willingness to change that not many individuals are willing to accept and commit to.
Glasgow has high levels of deprivation and is known for its poor health and health-related behaviours – Social and Public Health Science Unit
Getting back to the experiment and I actually felt so good after the Go Sober challenge that I have decided to record my progress in the Drink Aware mobile app through November and crucially December. I am not going to stop drinking completely, but rather just track my progress to see what it tells me about my current drinking habits under ‘normal' day to day living.
Alcohol can negatively alter blood sugar levels, putting heavy drinkers at increased risk of diabetes which is something I would be keen to avoid at all costs.
For now, I like to have at least 3 guidelines from my ‘experiments' to integrate more into my life on an ongoing basis and they are -:
Please feel free to leave any comments below, or get in touch via the Contact Page if you want to maintain privacy, as I'd love to hear from you. Have you been Sober for a while? Do you think you are consuming too much alcohol? What tactics have you tried to reduce your drinking? Is your diet worse when drinking regularly?
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