After an exceptionally boozy December celebrating Making Moves first year in business, I decided with a friend (over a
After an exceptionally boozy December celebrating Making Moves first year in business, I decided with a friend (over a beer funnily!) to embark on a challenge of 100 days no drinking. Yes that’s right…no alcoholic drink could pass my lips (not even in food) for over three months. What was I thinking??
As a keen long distance runner, the original reason behind taking up such a challenge, lay in my frustrations at not being able to reduce my times at both half marathon and marathon distance.
Due to the commitments of running my own business, there was little leftover time to increase the hours on the road. Instead, a friend recommended that I make the time I have to train as beneficial as possible, whilst also making sure I watch what I eat and regrettably reduce my alcohol intake.
What made this even harder is that I love a drink. The sweet taste of a cold beer on a warm day or a nice glass (or bottle) of red wine with my girlfriend cannot be beaten.
That is until the next morning, where my mouth would replicate the texture of a sandpaper omelette. The only cure being to lie on the sofa, mumble a request for water and then order more unhealthy food to make me feel just that little bit better about myself. Running was out of the question, but even if I did manage to lace up the trainers, the time spent would be wasted on trying to train an unhealthy and already damaged body.
And so the 100 day challenge began! My running times started to improve, I was definitely more alert and my quality of sleep improved dramatically. I also started to easily train at 6am every morning, giving me the full day to concentrate on work related activities. The Christmas weight disappeared and I was feeling very chuffed with myself!
However, one thing that did become very clear was the disappearance of my social life. I definitely spent more time on my own, either running or working into the early hours with all the energy I had accumulated.
This was also emphasised by people’s reaction to my challenge. Two phone calls which immediately stand out:-
Phone call with Friend 1 in February:-
Phone call with Friend 2:-
I mean seriously? Am I that boring? Do my friends only want to meet me when I am drinking. Is my chat that bad? I had officially become a loner!
I did make an effort to still go out and socialise, but after three ginger ales and another lime and soda, there is only so much you can take or understand of friends, whose 8th alcoholic drink of the night has left them slurry and very loud!
Work was also hard. The networking side of business in the UK is normally either at breakfast or after work. With breakfast time spent pounding the pavement, then after work became the easiest option. Again the questions came…how come your not drinking?, are you sick?…This only led to me feeling even more socially awkward.
So, would I do this challenge again? The simple answer is no. However, the experiment has taught me that I can socialise without alcohol and I don’t have to drink at every single birthday, wedding and event I go to. Nor do I have to drink until I cannot drink anymore. A slow G&T is enjoyable. A sixth G&T will only incur a headache!
The word ‘moderation’ is often associated with alcohol consumption and it is true. I also do believe our perception of alcohol in the UK is slowly changing and people are starting to live more healthy lifestyles. As a nation though, we do like a drink and I don’t think that will ever change entirely. I would be kidding myself if I told you I would never have another hangover. My experiment has however taught me that there is a time and place for the booze and if you do want to go for a coffee instead, that is fine with me.