If we’ve been drinking for decades it can be a huge and uphill task to get sober. If we are going to succeed we have to keep reminding ourselves exactly why we are doing this.
Most people who decide to ditch the drink have serious reasons to do so. They have been keeping the show on the road (just) for years but they know they need to get off the slippery slope to reclaim their physical and mental health, not to mention their relationships.
Many of us do manage to go through the hard work of changing our behaviour and achieving sobriety – and we feel better than we’ve felt for years.
As we regain our health some of us dream of regaining our figures – we think fondly back to the shape we were in in our twenties when we drank socially, rather than downing a bottle of wine every evening.
We progress through our first year of sobriety fully expecting our excess weight to just melt away – but for many of us it doesn’t budge. Somehow it’s just not that easy to shift the pounds we gained from decades of drinking.
Read my 5 tips to help you kickstart the weightloss once you are sober:
Sobriety is the foundation of your weightloss. Always remember that alcohol is full of sugar – one glass of wine is equivalent to a slice of cake. You would probably not eat 6 slices of cake while watching a movie but somehow a bottle of wine just slips down easily. Talking of cake, alcohol is more likely to result in you eating unhealthy snacks – after all what is a glass of wine without something to nibble on? Not to mention the fact that alcohol is a toxin so your body will focus on metabolising the drink way before it gets to burning up the calories in your food. So the science tell us that losing weight while drinking is highly unlikely!
Be patient – give your body time to heal. If you’ve been drinking for years then your metabolism, blood pressure, liver function and hormones will be all over the place. It’s going to take time for your whole system to recalibrate and get back into balance. Let’s take the feel good hormone dopamine as an example. When we drink we get our “feel good” vibe from alcohol which gives us a chemical high. So our body gets lazy and stops producing dopamine naturally – and it can take up to a year for our dopamine receptors to get back to normal. Your metabolism will also normalise – I always used to say I had a “slow” metabolism but after a year of sobriety I can eat most things without putting on weight.
Get moving! When we go alcohol free we can’t just sit around and expect miracles. Just as we had to “do the work” to get sober most of us have to “to the work” to lose the weight we gained from decades of drinking. So make sure you stick to an exercise plan – spend at least an hour outdoors every day. Everyone can manage a daily walk and investing in a Fitbit will ensure that you hit your 10,000 steps every day. Exercise also plays a big role in lifting our mood by producing endorphins. Our bodies will recalibrate and get back into balance more quickly if we keep moving. If you work from home then a great tip is to get up from your desk every hour and bounce on a mini trampoline – there are some serious health benefits from this activity!
Intermittent Fasting – apart from exercising, another way that we can “do the work” is by intermittent fasting, which is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. People are using it to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyles. Many studies show that it can have powerful effects on your body and brain and can even help you live longer. Intermittent Fasting is quite simply about restricting your food intake at various periods – not about WHAT you eat but more how WHEN you eat. There are many variations and one of the most popular ones is the 16:8 which allows you an “eating window” of 8 hours, contrasting with a “fasting window” of 16 hours. One of the most exciting benefits of Intermittent Fasting is that not only does it cleanse our liver, kidneys and colon but it helps us to heal our bodies by triggering “autophagy”. When we relieve our bodies of the hard work of digesting our food all day long they get a chance to do some serious repair work. Autophagy is the process whereby the body destroys damaged cells – and of course cancer starts with a damaged cell.
Eat fruit not sweets – alcohol is full of sugar so many people crave sweets, chocolates and cakes in early sobriety. Trouble is, sugar is also addictive so it’s easy to transfer your bad habit from booze to sweets! When you long for something sweet it means that your cells are craving for glucose. In order to satisfy them you need to eat lots of fresh fruit – and I mean lots. First thing in the morning eat a huge bowl of mangos, water melon, pineapple slices – whatever you can find. Every time you get a craving (for sweets or wine) eat more fruit. The proof that this works is that in a couple of months the fruit will taste really sweet – which means that your cells have absorbed enough glucose and your cravings should have gone. (If you want to hear the science behind this tip then go to Tribe Sober podcast – episode 31 with natural health expert Mary Anne Shearer).
So there you have it. Five tips to kickstart your weightloss in recovery. Ditch the drink, get moving, eat lots of fruit, try intermittent fasting and above all – be patient.
Make a plan, implement our advice and email firstname.lastname@example.org for personal advice.
Here at Tribe Sober we enable people to quit drinking and then to go on and thrive in their alcohol-free lives. Staying fit and maintaining a healthy weight is an essential part of thriving. We offer plenty of support including a nutritionist and yoga teacher. Check out our 7 step membership program which will support you all the way.