I quit drinking for two months this fall after a very booze-soaked summer. Here’s what I noticed.
We all know that good things happen to your body when you cut the alcohol, but for me these benefits didn’t feel concrete enough. I like unwinding from a long day with a glass of wine and ordering a few beers when I’m seeing my favorite band play. I didn’t see a need to change my glass (or two)-of-wine-a-day habit until last fall.
Over the summer, my husband and I went to a week-long music festival, and after a week of heavy drinking, I felt like my body needed some time to bounce back. I didn’t get back to town and say, “I’m going to quit drinking for two months!” It actually began as just a week off, and I kept going, because I felt so good.
4 Things that Happened when I Quit Drinking
1. I saved money.
This seems obvious, but some of the savings still surprised me. When you quit drinking, you know that you’re going to save money by not buying alcohol. What you may not consider is that it will save money on cabs and Lyft rides when you’re going out, because you can volunteer to be the designated driver.
2. I lost some weight.
Alcohol contains a lot of calories. If you’re drinking one glass of red wine a day, for example, it adds up to almost 600 calories a week. That’s not a huge amount of calories, but over a couple of months, it meant that I lost some weight without consciously changing anything else about my diet or exercise habits.
Alcohol can also cause people to make poor food choices, so while I wasn’t trying to eat healthier, there’s a pretty good chance that better decision-making about evenings snacks could have played into that weight loss.
3. I woke up feeling spry.
Alcohol is dehydrating, and I didn’t realize how much that was impacting my mornings. Not only was I skipping that moisture-sapping glass of wine, I was hydrating even more, because I replaced it with seltzer, tea or some other non-alcoholic “special drink“. That hydration double-whammy did wonders for my wake-ups.
Even one or two drinks in the evenings also impacts the quality of your sleep. A drink near bedtime may help you fall asleep, but once you’re snoozing, it messes with your REM sleep. Without that evening drink or two, I was sleeping more deeply, and that certainly helped in the wake-up department.
4. I got more productive.
I’m a work-at-home mom, so I do the bulk of my freelance work in the mornings, while my son is at daycare, and then finish things up in the evenings, after he’s in bed.
Being more hydrated and sleeping better meant waking up feeling energetic and ready to get right down to the nitty gritty. I churned out a lot more work during those precious morning hours. And skipping that glass of wine in the evenings meant that I was getting more done after my kid was asleep.
At this point, I still have an occasional drink on special occasions, but I am loving the benefits of cutting way, way back on alcohol.
Related at Care2:
- 10 Things that Happen to Your Body when You Give Up Booze
- 11 Ways to Reduce Stress in 5 Minutes or Less
- How to Have a Dry January
Images via Thinkstock.