Challenge No 1 – Completed

A few weeks ago I wrote a post detailing the issue of my weight gain and what I was going to do about it.  I’ve set myself a few challenges to complete over the coming months just to really work on swapping bad habits for good ones, around food, and in doing so lose the weight that I need to.

Challenge No1 was to give up alcohol consumption for 30 days.  In reality, I learnt to do something else with alcohol.  I ditched drinking up to the point of being sociable and just drank moderately during those times.

I went 11 days without consuming any, then we went away and celebrated our Wedding anniversary, so not having any alcohol was out of the question.  For those three days, I drank in moderation.  After which I went another 19 days to make up for the three I had partaken in beverages to make the full 30 days.

Causes and Effects

This was an extremely easy habit to break.  From drinking nearly every night, and certainly every weekend, to having solid breaks from alcohol was not difficult.  I didn’t need the alcohol and my drinking ways meant I had just turned it into a habit because it was there to drink.  The real problem is not to drink socially.  My “dry” stint was only broken last night because we had guests for dinner and so I had some wine.  It’s incredibly difficult to say no under those circumstances.  Although, I have to say I wasn’t keen to just drink everything on offer (When you’re British Pimms is the order of the day all through the summer).  I stuck to red wine and really enjoyed it.

The real problem is not to drink socially.  My “dry” stint was only broken last night because we had guests for dinner and so I had some wine.  It’s incredibly difficult to say no under those circumstances.  Although, I have to say I wasn’t keen to just drink everything on offer (When you’re British Pimms is the order of the day all through the summer).  I stuck to red wine and really enjoyed it.

I’ve noticed that not drinking as much has definitely helped with my training.  My running has improved 10-fold.  I feel much lighter on my feet when not drinking and, I don’t find it as hard going when doing a long run.

There were a couple of times, when after a difficult day at work, I wanted to turn to a drink.  I remember on one occasion I even opened a cupboard and stared at the bottle(s) lined up on the shelf for a moment, weighing up the reasons I was wanting to drink.  But, in the end, I just took a moment to breathe calmly and changed my thought direction from negative into positive (that in itself is the hardest part of any process).  It’s not that I was heavily relying on alcohol to solve any problems I may have been experiencing but it’s the fact it could have become that if I’d left the habit to continue to manifest.

I don’t particularly want to give up drinking altogether although I’ve proved I could if I wanted to.  If, and only if I save drinking for social occasions it’s meant my in-take will have been decreased by about 75% which is good enough for me.

Did I lose significant weight doing this challenge?  No.  My weight has fluctuated up and down by a few pounds over the four weeks.  Unfortunately just giving up alcohol was never going to be enough to shift the weight.  However, when drinking it’s enough to move the scale in the wrong direction pretty quickly.

The best part about this habit is that I can now build upon it and move onto my next challenge.

Challenge No. 2 – No Sweets for 30 days

Begins: 9th July 2017

Ends: 7th August 2017

Potential hurdles: Week away on holiday

This will be a harder challenge because I crave chocolate like nobodies business.  I can easily stay clear of cakes, desserts, biscuits and even ice-cream but chocolate is something else altogether.  At the minute, if there is a bar of chocolate in the house (I mean a big 100g+) I can go days without it and then all of a sudden I’ll either eat half, or in most cases the whole bar in one sitting.  Chocolate never lasts long in our house but a tin of biscuits will sit until they go out of date.  There is no substitute for chocolate either.  It is what it is so as long as it isn’t in the house I think I might be okay.

Chocolate spread is another vice but I haven’t bought that for a while because again I would just sit and chow down the whole jar in a couple of days.  I’m not sure why I get these cravings (possibly hormonal), or why they only hit ever so often but that will be the biggest challenge.

For this challenge, I’ll cut out anything even remotely sweet such as custard or ice-cream.  Once again I’ll pause the challenge during the week we go on holiday because it’s a holiday, enough said.  However once back I’ll add on any time to the end of the challenge to ensure I make the 30 days.

If I manage to get past the craving days I should lose some weight on this challenge.  I say that because eating sweet, processed foods, are added calories I don’t need to eat so by cutting them out (and there are no replacements – as long as I don’t fill the gap with alcohol), I should reduce my calorie intake much more than just alcohol reduction alone.

Here we go….

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