YAY! I did it, I made it to 90 Days without a single drop of alcohol or even alcohol-free substitute. Not one drop. I drank water, still or sparkling with ice and nothing else. I think that deserves a big pat on the back even if I do say so myself. Celebrating Berlin style means Beer was consumed and definitely one schnapps. I had plenty of sauerkraut too which was silly of me as it gives me stomach ache of note, but it is apparently very good for your gut flora and is also delicious, it is best for me when homemade and not from a jar so I assume that it is the preservatives that cause the stomach ache.

 

My first beer was a 9%er which was pretty tough going, it went straight to my head with the first sip and made me feel a wooziness that didn’t stop for the rest of the night. There was no hangover to speak of but the heartburn/ acid reflux was another story entirely. WOW! I felt like I could melt gold bullion with it. Although, I’m not sure if that was the beer or the sauerkraut. I have had neither since arriving back in London, so testing the possibility of either theory is proving tricky.

Lessons Learned

  • I didn’t feel any different physically until I started drinking again, at which point I felt horrible – bloated, de-energised and guilty for some reason.
  • The change was almost entirely emotional/ mental shift – I looked at situations with alcohol differently, I remembered more and I had proper conversations, not just talking and the other person (or vice versa) not really listening.
  • Dropping alcohol does not necessarily mean massive weight loss even if you are in caloric deficit, there’s obviously something more at play here and will require further investigation but I suspect my Adrenals are not functioning properly. I am and have for a long, long time been under severe stress and burnout is very definitely on the horizon. I am not surprised therefore that losing excessive amounts of weight is not my body’s current priority, keeping me alive is.
  • Stress and alcohol do not mix, alcohol makes it worse and prevents you from sleeping. Double lose.
  • People won’t understand but that is not important. You don’t need to explain yourself or your actions in self-care to other people.
  • Many bars do not stock decent non-alcoholic options so even if you wanted to drink something other than water, but not juice you just can’t. Coffee at midnight also does not work for me.
  • People will cheer you on in silence, don’t lose heart just because you can’t hear them. You have to be your own cheerleader if you can find an external one great, but be your own cheerleader first.
  • Some people hope you will fail spectacularly, they also sometimes do it in silence. FUCK THEM! Honestly, who cares about them anyway, you can’t pay your bills with their opinions and lions don’t care about the opinions of sheep.
  • Your actions will trigger other people, not your problem. You are only responsible for your own words and actions, you are not responsible for the reactions of others.
  • Without Dutch Courage, I made my own courage – this is huge when you don’t have alcohol to take the edge off, you have to find the courage inside you for whatever it is you need it for – talking to strangers at a party, standing up and doing some public speaking, getting your voice heard.
  • I am better able to identify my emotions and determine which emotions were mine, which were someone else’s, which reduced the anxiety around feeling something I didn’t understand.
  • I do not get hungry after 8pm, so there was no late night eating. This is rare for me even when drinking but did not happen at all without alcohol.
  • I found my voice, which may shock some readers because I have been quite vocal in the past, but PTSD and various other external factors stole my voice for a while and I have been bending over backwards for people with little reward, no more. Some people have even tried to be very demanding of my time, without even asking me how I am first – I don’t have time for those kinds of people anymore. I don’t have time for the people who are just not there for me, when I am always there for them.
  • The average life expectancy in my family is approximately 70, healthy habits and self-care need to be for life not just for 13 weeks so this means the challenges continue. I will continue to reduce my body weight or at least the fat, work to reduce my stress levels, increase self-care practices, take the chances I’m afraid to take in case I miss my opportunity, continue to eat clean (80-20), increase my quality and quantity of sleep, reduce my alcohol consumption, increase my activity level and reduce my exposure to harmful chemicals. Most importantly, I will continue to do research and report back on the results.

On the whole, I would recommend everyone tries a challenge like this one, see what you’re capable of and keep an open mind.

Weights and Measures

At the end of Week 13, I have lost a total of 5.5kg and 55.5cm from all over my body – that is half a metre people. I still have a long way to go and will continue on this road. I reckon it’s probably going to take a year.

 

Gym Sessions

This week I only had one gym session, so it had to be legs. I managed, however, to do a whole lot of walking (48,485 steps) in Berlin which always helps.

Giant set: Alternating Crunches on Bosu 10 per side N/A 4 sets
Stiff Leg Deadlift with Kettlebell 3 seconds down, 1 second up 16kg
Single leg Squat & Reach on Bosu 10 per side N/A
Single Set: Bent Over Barbell Row 8-10 reps 40kg 5 sets
Single Set: T-Bar Row 10-12 Reps 25kg 5 sets

 

Injuries to the Athlete continued… 

None. Every week injury-free is a reason to celebrate.

SleekGeek 8-Week Summer Challenge

At the end of another week of the SleekGeek 8-week Summer Challenge  I would rate this week 4/10. We have reached Checkpoint 2 and that marks halfway. It has been a particularly tough couple of weeks as I have failed to focus fully and I am feeling excessive pressure. My Coach recently posted a picture which fully sums up how I am feeling and burn out is the terminology for it, see image below. Everything and nothing seems to be happening at once, including learning new skills, developing marketing strategies and a business model which is sustainable and profitable, trying to get into shape, identifying and learning from the various triggers for alcohol consumption and then the failing health of my uncle in a land that always feels like a long, long way away in an emergency. All tied in with an inability to sleep properly and I am a frazzled mess.

 

 

Challenge Goals:

  • 8 hours sleep X
  • No screen time 2 hours before bed  ✅ (I reduced my screen time significantly this week and that led to a significant increase in productivity, if I ignored your messages or Social Media interactions, I’m sorry.)
  • 5 workouts per week (if no gym, 15,000 steps a day, this is 10km) ✅ (Didn’t hit 15,000 daily but certainly hit over 75,000 total for the week)
  • 2 Recovery Days (Wednesday and Thursday) ✅
  • No alcohol (within the limits of the challenge) ✅
  • 1,800 calories/ day (800 calorie deficit from TDEE) ✅
  • 1kg/week loss ✅
  • Macros (Carbs: 50% 900 calories, Protein: 30% 540 calories and Fat: 20% 360 calories) ✅

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Celebrating in Vincent’s Piano Bar

Waiting for the rest of the team at The Brandenburg Gate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria Canham, founder of Ahead Together, is a coach, mentor, writer, learning and change management specialist. Victoria is currently studying towards a qualification in Personal Training with Future Fit UK and is already qualified as a Sports Nutrition Advisor and Gym Instructor. With a background in many industries and a wealth of skills as diverse as her experience, Victoria is the Coach 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 styles of 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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