Day 345 of 365 – 20 Days to END of One Year Experiment

As I near the end of my experiment – I wanted to post/share some observations…

  • having the window open to ‘allow’ for some drinks is harder than just taking the option off the table (I now have 102 days with drinks – matching my 2017 AF days total of 263 Days AF in my one year experiment)
  • breaking my streak at 174 days was a mistake – I’ve been struggling to remain AF ever since
  • acknowledging that after 40 years of drinking (as I started at the age of 12) is a long enough drinking career that I can put it to rest and retire that part of my life (turning 52 on Sept 3)
  • alcohol makes me FAT (I’ve regained 40lbs)
  • alcohol makes me lazy and robs me of my self-confidence and self-esteem
  • alcohol does NOT provide what I seek out…. SOBRIETY delivers all that alcohol promised (joy, peace of mind, clarity, health, happiness, less anxiety, etc)
  • alcohol robs me of my motivation to go after my dreams and keeps me stuck
  • it’s ok to say NO (and that is a complete answer) – no explanations are required if I choose to NOT drink

There are so many more positives to sobriety. My January desire was to live 2018 Sober and Clean… and I will have done so for 263 days… but my lesson learned is that I need to put distance between me and ‘da booze once and for all. My intentions going forward are to simply take out the wishy washy – “I’m going to try” and just simply and plainly DO IT!

Since 2013 – when I first started this blog, I have been trying to work the moderation or trying to negotiate with myself how to best do this. It’s been an exhausting 5 years. 2015 was when I first FINALLY succeeded in doing 100 consecutive days AF and that followed into January when I started our ‘secret’ Facebook Lose da Booze 100 Day Success Group. Since then I’ve had the honor of being a part of just over 200 members and their journey and best of all I’ve observed many members go BEYOND the 100 days to losing ‘da booze for good!

As the creator of the group… I think I’m there … retiring my alcohol habit of 40 years of drinking… heavy daily drinking for a period of time in there following really tough moments in my life… to where I am today. I think I’m finally ok to say I’m done and there’s just nothing left in that habit that will serve my future purpose and dreams! Here’s to celebrating my next ‘ONE’ … Year that is of sobriety which is the next milestone I’m going for!

Day 296 of 365 – Gearing up for #DryJuly

July 1st is just around the corner and boy am I ready to make some changes. Since March – I’ve been struggling… and a big part of that struggle is having fallen back into a pattern of allowing drinks back into my life.

I’m still of the mindset that I’m not ready to say NO forever (for today – although I am beginning to believe it would be the easiest solution to just say “I don’t drink booze anymore)… I do know I need to get back to where I was … like this photo at 3months AF (alcohol free)…

With major stressors – I’ve turned to drinks as a coping mechanism to let go, to forget, to numb myself out… but I KNOW it’s not the healthy way to do things. So I’m gearing up to get back on the Sober Train and one day at a time – hope to finish this year completely sober!

I’m not in control of certain things going on around me – but this is a choice I can make and something I DO have control over….

And so I’ve invited people via my Facebook page to join me  … and there’s our secret group there too as well as the team on SparkPeople (Cutting Down the Booze).

Not everyone has an issue with alcohol and some can take it or leave it – or stop at 1 drink or two… I unfortunately don’t fall into that category and it’s taken me a long time to just accept that. Since 2013 I strived to reach 100 Days AF and finally succeeded in doing to in 2016 and then I started a group to have others join in. It’s a secret/private group because this issue is not something everyone is open to sharing … here on SP the Cutting Down the Booze team nears 1000 members… With the non-judgmental support of the community – I have greatly improved my AF stats and working to continue doing so! My last longest stretch of consecutive AF days was 174 days!

The other factor that alcohol hinders is my advancement to reaching my health goals. I have regained most of the weight that I had lost and my lowered motivation, lowered self-esteem, anxiety, depression has come back into play.

I need to shake myself off and jump back on the wagon to greater health! The stressors in my life will be better handled when I am strong again – healthy and SOBER. I will be stronger because I’ll be eating healthier, and exercising more regularly again. Exercise REALLY is the BEST Medicine!!

So it starts with a #DryJuly …

And I hope it will close the second half of 2018 – Sober & Clean… AND Lean … Health4Life – this is not a ‘diet’ but a lifestyle!!

It’s time!! It’s not too late to make 2018 the BEST year of your life!! Join me!!

Day 98 of 365 – Reflecting on the 100 Day Milestone & Beyond!

Oh how far I have come from that first photo on the left – taken in May 2016 before I started my FIRST 100 Day Challenge in September 2017. Today I stand in awe of how doing these challenges have changed my life and have truly shifted my desires… Gone are the feelings of missing out on something and here is the energy and inspiration to go after my dreams!

For the first TWO 100 days I did – as I neared the end I was already making plans on when I would have my first drink – promising myself I’d be moderate. My first break wasn’t a long one – from Dec 16th to Dec 31st – but I drank every day over the holiday period. Then on January 1st, along with the newly launched Facebook Group I was joined by many others who wanted to Lose ‘da Booze in their lives!

The second break was April 11 to September 2nd, 2017 – it started with my dream trip to Hawaii – my 50th birthday milestone gift and where I got engaged too! When I got back from this trip – after having had drinks while on vacation the stress factors shot through the roof with my daughter and I reverted to daily drinking as a means of coping … and also ate as I watched my daughter struggle with her eating disorder – it was like I was eating for her. As a result I regained 33lbs of the 45lbs I had lost since January 2016 (when I launched myself 100% into my Beachbody workouts and programs).

This morning I’m at day 98 AF – and I’m down 11.5lbs of the 33 I regained. And I am TIRED of having to lose the same weight again and again! Thus my goal to go a full year without alcohol (and perhaps beyond). What I’ve learned over many years is that I am an emotional eater/drinker. I used both as coping tools and realize that in order to succeed I had to change my habits.

So every day now – I wake up with determination and go to bed with satisfaction – SOBER! No thoughts or crying about not being able to drink over the holidays. Just excitement to really enjoy them fully – being present and able to remember every moment!

2018 is going to be an incredible year!! While my one year experiment will ‘end’ on September 2nd (the day before my 52nd birthday) – I may just decide or change enough to say I’m done for good. Until then – it’s one day at a time and I’m enjoying every moment!!

My BIGGEST Reason WHY

This right here is my BIGGEST reason why I am choosing to Lose ‘da Booze for an entire year! The picture to the left was after my 2nd 100 Day Challenge and I was down 45lbs from my starting heaviest weight in January 2016. The picture on the right is me today – having regained 33 of those 45lbs and standing at 102 days of drinking in 2017. That happened in just 5 short months!!

I initially hoped to reach 300 days AF but when that didn’t happen – I made a commitment to ensure I at least did better than last year. In 2016 I had 209 days AF and by ending this year and going into next year AF – I will beat that number.

My health suffers on so many levels when I choose to drink. My mental health has deteriorated along with some outside stressors beyond my control. I was struggling daily with low self-esteem and low self-confidence and it was spiraling… I’d drink, then choose to do nothing about it and just zoned out and avoided life in general – raising my anxieties even further. My relationships also suffer as I withdraw and don’t feel like doing much. I miss out on so many activities and it can’t continue this way. I need to be a role model for my daugthers who also suffer from mental health issues.

At the beginning it’s tough to stay sober and face the feelings in a raw state but I know it’s very much what I need to do to get back to a place where I am going to be happier. The weight gain just makes me feel so yuck on so many levels. My clothes are fitting tight again. I’m not comfortable in my own skin and my energy levels feel it big time too.

It’s time to shift the tide back to where I was happy and AF at day 100 – going beyond this time to really allow my body to get physically healthy. I have yo-yo’d with my weigh because of emotional eating and drinking and now I need to learn to cope in other ways. With the sober tools that I’ve been gathering, including our Lose ‘da Booze family – I know I can achieve this.

My WHY is to simply live my best life and I’ve learned in the first 50 years of my life that ‘da booze was preventing that from happening. So here’s to getting back to the habits that will make me smile more and be feeling good in my skin again! www.befitspirited.ca

12 Days After my 100 Days AF

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So I’m just back home and this morning sitting down (very happily) back in my routine of checking in and starting my day with some habits that kept me going in the 100 days I completed before.

I peaked at the scale and since re-introducing alcohol, and since being ‘off’ my health routine (as I was traveling and visiting since Dec 23) – I’m up 5.5lbs. Other observations – my energy is not as positive as it was, my anxiety and mood shifts were coming back, my system is not as regular and overall I just don’t feel as good as when I did when I wasn’t drinking. I have had drinks every day since the 17th but now – I’m prepping to start my next 100 days and perhaps looking to make a more permanent lifestyle change around alcohol as it does seem to have lost some appeal since my FIRST 100 days.

So I thought I’d share with those who are venturing to start with me on January 1st for their FIRST 100 days… things that may help you prepare or be armed to deal with tougher days!

  1. Focus on JUST ONE THING!! So in this case – the number ONE thing you are doing is quitting alcohol for 100 days! With it being a New Year, you may be tempted to change a BUNCH of things all at once but overwhelm may kick in and then you may feel like quitting all of it. In my case, during the first 100 days – I allowed myself ‘cheats’ in other ways – so I gave in to my sugar cravings and pampered myself in other ways but I never broke my commitment to the 100 Days without alcohol.
  2. BEFORE the 100 days – arm yourself with some tools to keep track of how you’ll do this. I am very visual – so my calendar and putting ‘stars’ for each day I did AF was motivating.20161228_045857Sober time was a KEY success tool in my first 100 days so I highly recommend downloading it (it’s an app that I got with my android phone). I loved the quotes that came up randomly – the stats of how much I was saving and the progressive steps. 1610270440421screenshot_2016-09-08-07-45-20
  3. Start your day with positive affirmations! I use these two books but there are others online you can subscribe to – The Daily Motivator is a good one. Find the ones that speak to you! Or follow/like my coach page as I try to post some motivational stuff daily too. 20161228_045913
  4. Buy yourself a journal, start a sober blog, or keep posting to our group on Facebook DAILY or whenever you need to (multiple times a day if you must) – ** this is now a SECRET group and to join you need to message me. Write out/record how you are feeling through it all – it’s great to be able to look back on and keep as a record too. Working through this is really eye opening as you become more aware of things – because you are no longer numbing your way through life!
  5. Decide on the things you are going to add to your life to replace the times you used up when you used to drink – for me that was diving into my health and fitness goals. I became a Beachbody coach and being a product of the product every single day!! My go to workouts are done right from my own home – but do what works for you!! If you are interested in what I do or want more info, message me on Facebook. I plan on making 2017 my healthiest year EVER!!fb_img_1482867183805-1
  6. Pick out alternative drinks that you like and stock up! For me – it was important to have drinks on hand because when you give up alcohol – you still need to hydrate. Number one choice is water but that can get boring so flavor it up with fruits. I love my hot lemon water to start my day. I drink fruit flavored green teas. I love mineral water with lemon or club soda with lemon and sometimes a sprinkle of cranberry juice. I drink some of my bubbly drinks in fancy glasses so I don’t feel deprived. And I still haven’t cut out the diet-pepsi habit (one thing I may have to let go of later – but for now alcohol is number one). When I have my diet-pepsi with lime – it’s like my replacement ‘alcohol’ drink – so I try to limit it to ONE per day MAX – but on tougher days I have more. Some even try non-alcoholic drinks to replace booze – but for me that was never a go to option.
  7. Let people know about your intentions of being AF for the challenge – some may give you a hard time, but most will be very supportive! If someone offers you a drink, say no thanks – and if you feel you have to give an explanation – prepare some ahead of time, but honestly these days, people seem to be more understanding. Those who aren’t perhaps shouldn’t be in your circle of friends as you do this challenge (and you may notice this happening as some may feel uncomfortable as YOU make this healthy change for yourself).
  8. BEFORE DAY 1 – take a photo of yourself – your face, take your full body pics with workout gear or tight clothing, weigh yourself, measure yourself. For some – this break from alcohol will lead to other benefits such as weight loss BUT in order for this to happen, it means adopting habits like daily regular exercise (even if it’s just making sure you make your 10,000 steps a day). For me a distraction from the cravings was to do some exercises. Once I focused on the workouts – the cravings would subside. Once you complete the 100 days do the same and share your stats! These were my first 100 Days Results!15541913_1108379195926444_2989509071391420090_n
  9. Because we are starting this journey on January 1st this time – it would be a good idea for you to review your year and mark down the ‘negatives’ of your drinking habits and list WHY you want to do this! I’d love if you shared your ‘why’ with us in the group on Facebook.
  10. And last but not least – create the VISION you have for the year ahead (I’ll be doing one in the next day or so and I will be sharing via video how to do one too – stay tuned). Dream big and make plans about what you want to achieve!! This 100 Days is ONE of those things, but as you focus on healthier things – what other dreams do you want to achieve? I started this list by saying you need to focus on ONE thing – but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your eye on what’s next. YES – the ‘one day at a time’ is super important here… and remember… 1

If you have any questions or feel you want to reach out – I’m always here… so never hesitate to message me personally or post in the group. Whatever you are most comfortable with. I’m not claiming to be an expert by any means… and I have had the guidance and help from various sources including some wonderful groups HAMS and leading the team on SparkPeople Cutting Down The Booze (Calories) and some resources including Annie Grace’s This Naked Mind and the 30 Day Sobriety Solution. We have an album of photos of the books we have come to go to as resources in our group.

This particular challenge is for those who want to be 100% AF for 100 Days… but always remember – better is better… so follow the path you need to and never consider making a positive step (however many days you do) a failure… but keep this quote below in mind…

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100th Day – Success!

15541913_1108379195926444_2989509071391420090_nAfter my 50th Birthday in September, I publicly shared that I was going to do 50 days without alcohol – but then I decided to double it to 100 days to honor of my sister who passed at the age of 50 due to her issues with alcohol.

The 100 Day Challenge was something I had tried to do when I first started my blog “Lose ‘da Booze” back in May 2013 (losedabooze.wordpress.com/…/…/day-2-of-my-100-day-challenge/). As part of my ‘renewed’ fitness journey in January of 2016 (as I’ve been battling with my weight for decades) – I decided it was TIME to go for it! I posted a live video on Facebook but this blog/text accompanies it.

Before doing this 100 days – sometimes going a couple of days without alcohol was a challenge – this has been a real struggle with me at times  … But I will say that 2016 is the year things started to change in so many ways. I did do a 30 day stretch of AF days in May – but over the summer slipped into habits that involved too much food and drink – resulting in me feeling horrible about myself – my weight was up – I was so bloated especially in the mid-section. My energy was down. I just had this guilt and a feeling that I was a failure because I couldn’t be moderate when it came to drinks.

I have been doing a LOT of work on myself this year including getting some of my own coaching – but what really seemed to FLIP THE SWITCH for me was the Soul Re-structuring Session I had with Julie Richer of Richer Transformations. The initial assessment and our discussion and a couple of words just hit a chord with me… She was asking about my history and what was going on and I found myself revolving and speaking about how my struggle with alcohol was really the BARRIER and cause of so much heartache in my life and it was preventing me from moving forward. Then she said to me “is this something you REALLY REALLY want”… and the answer was YES.

She also said something to me that made me even more determined to push through this – as she examined all areas of my life and things that I was doing or taking on, she suggested that perhaps I needed to let go of the Beachbody Coaching because I had so many other things happening (including a full time job, part-time teaching, virtual assistant work and being a single mom). That hit a nerve – I could feel in the PIT of my stomach (that gutt feeling) that this was the LAST thing I wanted to let go of and that ‘Da Booze had to go! For 100 days at least – in order to give me a fresh perspective on where I needed to go from there…

I work with a team that is all about Healthy Active Living. I am so passionate about this that I launched a Fit Club at work. I have always had a passion for helping others and my dream was to motivate and inspire others to reach THEIR health goals! But FIRST I had to be the example and so this journey began!

It started with me going in 100% with my workouts! Without the booze there was space for me to do so much more. I couldn’t sleep last night because I was thinking about all that brought me to this day so I got up and started writing…

Some of the benefits observed were day to day and then of course the results I’ve had with 22.5lbs lost and 21 inches GONE!

I was experiencing hot flashes with my peri-menopause and those are gone for the most part.

The MONEY saved! I started using this amazing APP called Sober Time – which by the way is what I believe to be another KEY factor to keeping me going – checking in to see where I was at… and seeing those goals getting checked off just kept me going. I didn’t want to have to reset it! The app says I’ve saved about $1000 based on what I estimated I was spending on alcohol!

I was better able to deal with stress… and more confident in my decisions

I was no longer trying to hide from myself, my emotions or my problems – instead I was working to find solutions.

Instead of numbing myself – I was giving myself permission to recognize what I was feeling and looking at what I needed to do to get through it (and this is where my workouts and community was so amazing… as I blog on SparkPeople too – and have the team that I lead there called Cutting Down ‘da Booze (Calories)…

I am so much more productive now – I barely sit to watch TV now and I am no longer dancing around tasks I used to procrastinate about – and dealing with it … clearing out the clutter, making space for the NEW stuff to come in … more joy and more peace.

I have so much more PRIDE and less guilt – I would always cave in before which made me feel like crap (and came really close after passing my 90th day thinking – well that’s good enough – it’s been 3 months but I pushed through)…

I have more clarity about everything – there’s no brain fog, no hangovers or wasted days.

I have more time to FOCUS on things that really matter – like really launching myself in my fitness programs and getting results!! And helping others! If you want more info on this – just email me at hello@losedabooze.com because – working out with my Beachbody programs has been an incredible GAME changer for me!

Instead of being a couch potato watching other people’s stories or drama on TV – I am investing my time in much healthier activities and even re-visiting things I used to love to do (crafts, painting, reading).

I have FREEDOM!! I could spontaneously pick up and drive off anywhere – when you are having drinks you can’t and your life plans seem to revolve around ok well – if I do this then I can’t do that… blah blah blah…

I’m finally WALKING THE TALK – after YEARS of thinking about, wishing, intending… I’m DOING things that are really making a difference and it’s working.

Having the accountability – becoming more involved with Beachbody as I joined the Ottawa Market Council has me so excited – meeting super trainers and people I’ve admired through DVD’s and infomercials .. I am not meeting in PERSON (like recently Mindy and Lee Lawhorne and this January 8th – I will get to meet The Beast, The Hammer – Sagi Kalev!!… None of this would have been possible without my commitment to health first! I honestly can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring…

So many have asked – what are you going to do for the next 2 weeks – well I’m going to allow myself drinks – but I’m going to be mindful and practice balance (80/20 rule) –I certainly don’t want to undo all of the amazing results I have achieved and I WON’T … because I have my challenge groups and I don’t want to let anyone down!

I’m going to take the time to observe how I am feeling and I will be posting and sharing regularly if you want to check in.

I will be planning my days where there will be socializing and I will ensure it is balanced with my workouts and healthy eating.

Then comes January 1st!! And I launch into another 100 days to lead me to my Dream Trip to Hawaii – I call Hawaii 5-0 on April 13th … my sister’s birthdate.

I’m thrilled to see so many asked to join in and the group is open for anyone who wishes to be 100% AF for 100 days but now secret so you have to message me to be added!

I will say that I am not following any specific program and my beliefs lie more with harm reduction than that of an AA philosophy because I do NOT believe I am powerless …

There is another group that I’m part of which is great if you simply want to monitor your drinking and perhaps not yet ready for the 100 day challenge … and the link will bring you to their page – I’m a member there too (the group’s name is called HAMS – Harm Reduction for Alcohol, Abstinence and Moderation Support www.facebook.com/groups/harmreduction/)

I think this is a perfect time of year to consider doing this and I’d love to have YOU join me for the next 100 days to see what kinds of results YOU can get…

Through the years…

As I spent my weekend doing some de-cluttering and cleaning, I came across my old yearly calendars which I used to track the exercise, weight and alcohol free days I had from month to month and through the years from 2008 to today. What I saw was the same pattern over and over again… I do well for a bit, then bamm! Something happens in my life, I drink more, and all the work I put into losing weight is lost and the weight is regained. Then I get bummed out and it’s just a vicious cycle!!

I also came across some old family pics and in most of the ‘party’ ones, very few did not include a table full of beers or someone with a drink in hand. It’s no wonder that I kind of went the same route – it’s what I saw and adopted as a norm, but I’m ready to change that pattern.

On day 9 of 100 only, but honestly feel a difference inside about this time being different. I was faced with some huge stressors today (dealing with my kids and their refusal to go to school – along with the myriad of other issues they are presenting around anxiety/depression). It was overwhelming this morning and it brought me to tears. But not ONCE did I ever think “I can’t wait to get home to have a drink”…

Instead, I came home and attended my own counselling session where I was able to basically debrief and be acknowledged in terms of handling things as best I can. I then had a bite to eat and just now finished a 50 minute workout.

Winding down the day and getting ready to get some reading done before I turn in. Wolfie didn’t dare talk to me today lol…