Today I gave up drinking alcohol. I know, I know – this is a big surprise to all of you but one which has been carefully planned and orchestrated for many weeks. The thing is, I have been on a fitness and healthy weight journey for as long as I can remember and while I still love chicken, rice and broccoli it just doesn’t seem to be getting me anywhere. Is this going to be permanent? Honestly I don’t know. I am experimenting to determine what is best for my body over time as well as what additions or omission produce the best results for me, my mental, emotional and physical health but also my general wellbeing and approach to life. Also, I am becoming a Qualified Personal Trainer soon and it would be very difficult and indeed hypocritical for me to recommend to clients and/or friends that if they want to lose weight they should give up alcohol, if I haven’t proven this to be true for me.

I think alcohol has over the years played a large role in my life, frankly too large and so it has to go. We have to take a break from our long and rarely rewarding relationship.I am one of those lucky people who does not suffer hangovers, I have had one so infrequently that I could count them on one hand, I think if I did suffer from hangovers I would not drink at all.

Alcohol is renowned as an emotional crutch, a drowner of sorrows and in many instances the Dutch courage which allows one to say things they would normally not say or approach people they ordinarily would not. It is also however, an empty calorie source providing no nutritional value to the diet. At 7 calories per gram, it is a heavy burden on the body especially the liver and the cells which make up our basic composition, which therefore links it directly to various cancers. This includes (but is not limited to) breast, colorectal, larynx, liver, oesophageal, oral cavity and pancreatic cancers. Alcohol is also linked to poor food choices, like a 2am dodgy kebab and chips (Side note: I don’t eat kebabs).

Like most people, I’ve heard answer in the same way, when asked by a Medical or Fitness Professional how much alcohol I consume, I have answered with “not that much really”. That answer is a lie. But also it is justifiable in your own head because you generally are comparing your consumption to that of the HEAVY drinkers in your circle, you know the ones who drink every night or just more than you.

So this journey is entirely for me. To see what results I can achieve and what it feels like to be on the outside looking in on what is deemed to be a social norm or a “National Past-time” here in the UK. And I am not known as “The Beer Monster” without good reason and I have frequently been known to buy so many cases of wine that you would open my wardrobe to find them stored in there, no I haven’t drunk them all – I could call myself a collector but that’s not entirely true.

I’m not sure what the benefits are to me of drinking, I can’t think of any, but interestingly the decision certainly seems to have rattled many cages. It’s funny how many of the choices we make which do not directly effect other people, come with a great deal of criticism and probably withdrawal of invitations, as if by not drinking (insert lifestyle difference here) in some way impacts others. Or perhaps, it just shows up the desire in others to do the same but without the conviction.

Join me for weekly updates by subscribing below, as I continue this journey of sobriety and introspection, if only to see the results and trials and tribulations.

Victoria Canham, founder of Ahead Together, is a coach, mentor, writer, learning and change Coach, Fitnessmanagement specialist. With a background in many industries and a wealth of skills as diverse as her experience, Victoria is a dynamic survivor who sees the best in you, even when you can’t see it yourself. Victoria grew up in Cape Town, South Africa where she studied Food and Beverage Management and Adult Education. Having lived in London for 12 years, Victoria has had the opportunity to work as a contractor in many different industries and locations, most recently Compliance within Financial Services. Victoria is an iPEC accredited Certified Professional Coach and a member of the ICF. Victoria is also a Mentor for the Prince’s Trust, helping young people get into work and develop their potential.

 

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