Reason Why I Am Giving Up Alcohol

Disclaimer: I have no moral objections to others consuming alcohol. For as long as I can remember, I have been a regular consumer. As of late, I have had a change of heart concerning my own use. Now, I am considering giving it up altogether. Here’s why:

I told my wife I may have to stop drinking, including one of my favorites: wine. The first thing she said to me was that a glass of wine is supposed to help you sleep. Come to think of it, I have have never had any trouble passing out after drinking. It does help me fall asleep faster than usual, but sleep is the primary reason why I am making this decision to abstain. Of all the reasons to stop drinking alcohol, sleep is may be number one on the list.

Four notable days in a two week period:

Thursday, 8/9/2018. It is Thirsty Thursday at a nearby grocery store. It has become an after-work tradition to have a few half-off craft beers in the tap room located inside the store. It is usually a good time spent with co-workers blowing off a little steam. On this particular Thursday, I noticed something new. I woke up wondering why I slept so bad. Of course, I have had bad sleep in the past, but this one in particular stuck in my mind. It was the first time in a couple of weeks, that I had consumed alcohol.

Friday, 8/17/2018. It has been just over a week since my last beer. I am out to dinner with the family and have an Michelob Ultra. I don’t usually drink Ultra, but I am trying to be a good boy and limit my carbs. The next morning, after one beer, I feel it again. Horrible sleep for the first time in a week. What is going on? I am not a big drinker, but I do like to have an occasional drink. But two times in a row of drinking mixed with bad sleep has got me wondering.

Monday, 8/20/2018. After work, I have two glasses of wine with dinner. I love wine. I fall asleep quickly and wake up wondering what just happened. I feel like I have been up the whole night.

Wednesday, 8/22/2018. Today, I am experimenting. I am going to have one glass of wine with dinner. I want to see if this has the same effect. I really don’t want to stop drinking , but I have another bad night of sleep. Damn!

440a15aa-ef85-44e3-89c6-7d4e8a915e0f

Unfortunately, there is no sleep data for 8/17. I love how my Fitbit Charge 2 tracks my sleep, but on this night I was charging it.

Sleep is a precious commodity in my life. If I am lucky, I get about six hours of it a night. I am fine on six hours. I am fine on less as long as I hit one key metric. Deep sleep. Over an hour of deep sleep and I feel great the next day. Under an hour, and I struggle. When getting lower numbers of deep sleep in the past, I thought it was unfortunate stroke of luck. I never drew a correlation between deep sleep and alcohol consumption. Due to my work schedule in the month of August (which slowed down my normal consumption), I did not drink as much or as regularly. This small change allowed me to make this connection between deep sleep and alcohol.

I am in the process of reading Tony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant. In the early part of the book, Tony talks about associating behaviors you want to change with pain. What he was explaining made a lot of sense. I initially looked at his advice from a diet perspective. Eating the wrong foods often result in physical pain. Refined sugar, for example, can lead to joint pain. As I read from Awaken The Giant, a light came on in my mind. I never viewed moderate alcohol consumption as bad, but I did look at not sleeping well as painful. In fact, this was the most notable pain currently in my life. Once I drew the connection between sleep and alcohol, the thought of having even one drink became a painful idea. This is sad, because I like having the occasional drink. But as much as I enjoy the pleasure of drinking, I hate the pain of not sleeping.

We will all come to crossroads in our life where we will have to make a decision. Maybe it is not alcohol for you. Maybe it is another behavior or habit that is causing you pain. Is the pleasure of that habit worth the pain it causes later on? If it is something you actively want to change in your life, then the more pain you can associate with it, the greater chances you have of changing it. Using pain as a tool can get us closer to achieving our goals leading to a healthy body, soul, and spirit. Give it some thought, and maybe give it a try.

A Working Diet

Should being on a diet be miserable? Is it worth it even if the diet is going to get you your desired results? Should you go to bed every night feeling like you are starving?

Fad diets are tough. People jump on them for all sorts of reason. The ultimate being that they want to lose weight, and they want to lose it quickly. But the diets come and go, and when the fad is over the dieters often find themselves looking to jump onto the next trend. Most of the big diet companies, that are making tons of money from people wanting a quick fix, get you in with the idea that you can eat to satisfaction and still lose weight. What’s not to love about results with little or no sacrifice?

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you got. –James P. Lewis

If you are wanting to lose weight, take a moment and think about how you got to where you are today. There is little chance that you got where you are because of a bad day or week. We got to our present state over the course of months, possibly years. It was your repeated behaviors that put you in your present state. And if you are not happy with your present state, it will be a change to your repeated behaviors that will make the difference. The key is pretty simple: to make an improvement to your current body composition you have to exercise more and eat better. Your best chance of success may be a gradual improvement such as walking an extra 10 minutes a day or substituting something you consume on a regular basis for a healthier alternative. Incremental improvements can have a huge impact in the future.

But think about what is not going to work, such as shocking your body. Deciding to exercise more and then going out and punishing your body is not only dangerous, but it is not sustainable. You have to build up your body, and that takes time. The same with your diet. If you go from a daily 4500 calories of eating what you want to 1500 calories of healthy choices, your body is not going to respond well. What are the chances of you keeping up with your diet if you are miserable the whole time?

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. –Albert Einstein

Making changes to your repeated behaviors is going to net positive results. But at the same time, you are going to have to be flexible. If it is not working, change it. Become knowledgeable about the foods you are putting into your body. If your diet calls for certain types of fruit but your body reacts poorly to the sugar, don’t eat it. It will be okay. The incremental changes in your repeated behaviors hopefully has oriented you to healthier choices. Choose foods that work for you. You can even have the flexibility to cheat on occasion, because the other 6 or 7 days are super healthy. You are not depriving yourself of all the “fun” foods you love to eat, you are choosing not to eat them every day.

Making healthy eating choices should be something one does over the course of a lifetime. Easier said than done, right? Maybe. But we can start today to make better choices. If what we consume is in balance with the calories we burn, and we are ingesting calories that will properly fuel us, we will not have a need for a radical diet. This long term outlook will keep your body weight stabilized, it is going to save you money, and in the end you will be much happier for it.