This week something SPECTACULAR happened. For the first time since The Boy was born (almost eight years ago) I measured a 28-inch waist. This is huge, considering my waist was a 28 in high school. But what I had to do to get to that measurement is what I want to share with all of you.
I have been doing pretty good, but in order to continue to shrink my waist and at least feign an hourglass figure, I had to come to terms that I had to give up something I really enjoyed and gave me comfort: DRINKING. Now I’m not a heavy drinker, just one or two in the evening, but like, every night. And because I have a mild case of General Anxiety Disorder, the alcohol mellows me a bit and helps me shut my mind off from the whirring thoughts that keep me awake at night.
I was in denial for years about this. The Hubster tried to gently tell me–we both drink and he’s cool with it, but when I complained about why my waist couldn’t shrink he told me it’s because of the booze, and I just WOULD NOT HEAR IT. I had given up sugar. I have (mostly) given up caffiene. And Starbucks. And now I was expected to give up BEER?! VODKA?!! Malbec??? Then a really good friend of mine recently told me the same thing–give up the booze, get back your waist. I have this crazy rule that if more than one person tells me someting and the two (or more) don’t know each other, that probably means I should listen.
Why is drinking (or not) significant to weight loss? To put it simply, alcohol converts to vinegar in the body, which like sugar, is a cheap energy source and is used by the body first. Drinking also increases your appetite, so you end up getting a bunch of calories you don’t need from the liquid and the solids. Not great if you’re trying (like me) to not scare people off the beach when you wear your bikini.
Then this past Easter I decided to wholly give it a try…no drinking, cold turkey. And…it was hard. That beer at the end of the day gave me comfort. It relaxed me. It made me happy, or at least content. I missed it and I had fight the urge the first few days not to crack open the Blue Moon that was whispering my name right through the damn refrigerator. And it was in that moment, I was able to imagine what it might be like for women who use food for comfort and struggle to overcome those urges in order to get fit. For the first time I could really understand that it’s not just about putting down the fork, it’s about giving up a thing that gives us tremendous comfort, and for many, that’s hard thing to do.
It took giving up something that I truly enjoy to get a better understanding of what it’s like for some people to finally part ways with something, while unhealthy in copious amounts, gives comfort.
It’s Day 20 of my no-drinking fast and I have to say that I’m really feeling great. After the first week my sleep improved, and I’ve found other ways to calm my nerves and my mind. More exercise and 30 minutes of cardio, coupled with some melatonin at night seems to be doing the trick.