I like to drink. I think it’s fun, I think it tastes great.
I associate it to social events, and I like the history of alcoholic beverages, and the whole process of making them. The only issue I have is that it’s a poison. Loss of motor control and throwing up are usually tell-tell signs.
Unfortunately, I have trouble letting go of things I like. Even if those things are killing me. Tobacco, High Energy Cities, Coffee, Sweets, Toxic People… but once in a while, I take the time to cut them out of my life, and see how it feels.
This August, I had too much of a good time. 3-4 glasses of wine, or beer, around 5 times per week. It’s a lot, even when you‘re on holiday. I think this was a reaction to my 12 week Weight Loss Challenge which has a BEFORE and AFTER post, where I lay down exactly everything I did to lose 9,1 kg in 12 weeks (and 10kg in 14 weeks). During the challenge, I cut down to 1 day a week where I could drink, and the whole food intake control on top of it was a bit much I think, so I bounced back.
Fuelled by Joe Rogan’s Sober October challenge (which apparently existed long before that) I thought it would be a great idea to do the same, but in November.
Why November? Because my birthday is in October, and I enjoy popping champagne and having abuzz as a celebration.
As any of the challenges I do, I got a sheet of paper out and drew my 30 squares with the days inside on the 1st of November, and ticked it off immediately. Why don’t I prepare it beforehand? It’s all explained in this article HERE, but basically I like to ignite the challenge with a win. So I don’t actually draw the sheet before I’ve had a win.
Here’s how it went :
The not drinking part was actually much easier than I thought it would be, mostly because I have facilitating factors :
- My girlfriend doesn’t drink. At all. She doesn’t like it. That means we didn’t have any alcohol at home, except for Cooking Rhum but I really don’t like rhum.
- I usually drink the most when I see my parents. However, two extra lucky factors came into play. My brother just had a baby (yippee!) so I mostly met with my parents at my brother’s house, in the daytime. On top of that my father also reduced his drinking, in order to prepare to quite smoking.
- No social events. Except for one birthday. I simple brought some Heineken 0.0 beers (having the reputation of tasting the best), and drank those. No one cared really. So no excuses.
PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENTS :
I decided to take a weekly picture of my torso to see if any changes occurred :
What do you think? I would say I put muscle on, and lost a little fat, until day 21 where I seem to have put fat back on.
As the weeks went by, I had more and more of an urge for chocolate. I’ve had a few stressful events occurring my professional life, and alcohol and chocolate both being anxiolytics, I ate a lot more chocolate (Ferrero Rochers to be exact).
Other physical interesting fact, I have felt less HOT and sweaty. So I suffer from hyperhydrosis, meaning I sweat PROFUSELY. On top of that I’m ginger, which means a greater sensitivity to heat differences. Explosive combo.
I take the subway when I go to meetings, my sessions or anything else. This is Paris, this is how you do things. And when you go from a frosty 1 degree celsius to a whooping 32 degrees filled subway, the slap in the face is quite extraordinary. I seem to be the only one that has to strip down to his t-shirt when this happens. Everyone else happily cruise in zipped up coats… go figure!
Well, not drinking has helped with that tremendously. I imagine stopping coffee will help when i get around to it.
Over the 30 days here’s what improved (in kgs) :
- SQUAT : 142,5 -> 145
- FRONT SQUAT : 100×2 -> 105×3
- DEADLIFT : 182,5 -> 185kg
- SUMO DEADLIFT : 145×3 -> 155x5kg
- BENCH PRESS : 110 – > 112,5kg
- OVERHEAD PRESS : 70×1 -> 70kgx2
You can see most of the movements on my instagram HERE
My other movements weren’t comparable because they were new movements. It has been a GREAT month performance-wise. I have felt less sore between sessions, I feel like I have been sharper during the lifts, and have felt less stress when attempting maximal efforts. This might simply be a coincidence, and I just became better at lifting and programming my sessions, but none of those factors were changed much.
I have not changed my sleeping patters. I go to sleep at approximately the same time at night ( Around 11pm), and wake up between 6:15 and 7 am. However even waking up after a shorter night has been much easier. The compounded effect of NOT drinking for weeks really does make things much easier.
Going to sleep when you’ve had a drink is easier. I’ve had a bit of trouble falling asleep over the past few weeks ,but mostly because I was fired up by new things developing in my business, and I have been thinking about a lot of developments for the future.
Now this is the best part. I don’t thinkI have achieved as much in my life as I have in the past month. My productivity is waaaay up, and my capacity to do start things has also increased. I think that decreased stress levels coming from better sleep, and detoxing from alcohol has made me a much harder worker. I also have to that Gary Vee screaming in my ears all day long that helps
THE AFTER :
Now… here’s what happened when I drank again on the 1st of december. So saturday night. I drank slowly but surely from 6pm to 12 pm, and I drank a whole bottle of wine (Pouilly-Fumé 2017). I had a great time. I was joyful, singing, even dancing while cooking, had a great time with my girlfriend.
Fast forward to the next morning, and a veil of sadness came over me… I was silent, grumpy, and feeling unworthy for some unexplained reason. I wasn’t tired, or had a headache or hangover nausea. But I was snappy towards my girlfriend at the gym, so much so that I saw her become sad too. My mouth started tingling, and I felt like I had inhaled dust or something.
And Lo and Behold! I woke up Monday morning sick. I haven’t been sick in over 2 years. Now is this another coincidence? Has a month of breaking records, and the autumn slowly becoming darker, wetter and colder simply made me weaker? I don’t have an answer, but the sequence of events is there.
I am going to stop alcohol 3 times for 30 days in 2019, and probably drink much less than I have been in the past. The upside of quitting outweighs the downside by a lot. These 30 days have taught me I don’t need to drink, and even though I enjoy it very much, the short term enjoyment is not worth the long game of getting stronger and healthier.