June 26, 2012

Alcohol-Free August

Last night, I had a fabulous time. One of my college friends, who now lives in Dallas, has a weekly get together with her girlfriends where they meet up to watch the Bachelor/ette/Pad, drink wine, and live Tweet the show. We had a great time watching and snarking, and at the end, her husband presented each of us with a rose of our own. Aww! I kept it to hang in my cube as my one-and-only decoration 🙂

Blake made an incredibly delicious (and surprisingly healthy!) dinner spread for all of us to enjoy as we watched the show – grilled veggie kabobs, grilled chicken, pork skewers, roasted corn and avocado salad, and some tasty pita bread and spreads to go along with it all. For dessert, she also made homemade ice cream, which she later confessed was made with some lightened up ingredients too! I didn’t bother logging anything into my calorie counter while I was eating it, but I did make sure not to take huge portions and to remember what I had eaten so I could note it later.

This morning, I logged onto MyFitnessPal to enter it all in (yes, I’ve shifted to just one calorie counting app now – I found MyFitnessPal was a lot better with the mobile Android option than MyPlate, although I did prefer the website interfact and reporting options of MyPlate). To make sure that I wouldn’t cheat and underestimate portions just because I saw the tally getting high, I avoided looking at any of the numbers until I was all done logging. I knew that I had definitely eaten more than my allotment, but I was pretty comfortable with what I ate – I wasn’t stuffed, and it was all good, wholesome stuff. (Okay, maybe not the ice cream, but for a treat it was at least made from scratch and with natural ingredients!) I finally finished logging and looked at the total – and found that I had only gone over for the entire day by about 450 calories. And you know what was exactly 450 calories? Three glasses of wine.

I had originally gone into the evening planning not to drink at all, but a stressful experience checking into my hotel put me in a “just give me the bottle I need to relax!” mode as soon as I got to Blake’s. I hadn’t gone overboard with drinking, but I thought it was pretty interesting that my entire calorie overage was basically due to drinking. (Yes, I know I also could have skipped the ice cream or the pita or whatever, but I wanted to have my wine and eat too.)

Just while I was thinking this, I got a text from one of my friends, telling me that he was thinking of giving up drinking for the month of July.


We chatted a bit later, and he pointed out something really true – NYC culture is so centered around going out and drinking that it’s been a really long time since either of us took a long break from it. Sure, there are plenty of non-drinking activities (amazing ones!), but every time you turn around, it’s someone’s birthday at a wine bar, or a beer festival, or sipping margaritas at the Boat Basin. It’s been a while since I’ve intentionally passed on drinking for a long period of time, and it might be a good idea to give it a try.

Of course, I’m no saint – I realized that I’ve already committed to my best friend’s boozy Fourth of July (at which I’m really looking forward to enjoying some great cocktails) and my own birthday bash at a beer bar (hey, NYC readers – drop me an email if you’d like to come!). Plus, I’m still thinking of going to Napa at the end of the month, and it’s pretty hard to go to wine country without drinking! July isn’t going to work for me to give up alcohol… but August could.

And so, pretty impulsively, I decided to go with it. “Alcohol Free August”, here I come! I’m sure I’ll still get invited to plenty of bars and drinking events in August, but planning for it ahead of time will help me abstain – and I’ll certainly avoid signing up for any wine tours or beer festivals. Overall, I think a little detox could be good for me! (Especially after the beer-tasting-and-burgers work event I’m going to tonight – good thing it’s not “Juiceless June” because I do plan to have a few.)

Okay, quick, I’m posting this fast, before I can change my mind…


7 thoughts on “Alcohol-Free August”

  1. I have this problem too. While I rarely even get drunk anymore, an extra 3 glasses of wine every Friday (and sometimes Saturday too) night aren’t doing me any favors in the weight loss department!

    Good luck. You can do it.

  2. I am trying so hard to use my fitness pal, but I’ve been falling apart with tracking after lunch. I think they have a mobile app. Anyways, I need to do better. Alcohol is a huge part of the culture here, I don’t even like drinking that much, but I feel anti-social if I don’t. But my boss doesn’t drink and he’s cool, so I am sure you can do it.

  3. I support your decision 🙂 I’ts really hard for me to give up drinking because like you said, social activities are based around it for the most part but I think you will feel better after having done it. Good luck!

  4. DO IT!

    I love beer and wine. However, I gave it up during my marathon training….and I lost 13 lbs! quickly!

    I gave it up for two months. Now that I’m not training I am drinking again but I’m MUCH more aware. I’ll have 1 or 2 beers instead of 5….only drink one night a week….it makes a huge difference.

  5. I think it’ll be great! I used to have panic attacks when I thought about not drinking for extended periods of time, but now I drink mayyyyybe once or twice a month. Surprisingly enough, my life didn’t end (I was SHOCKED!) Also my quality of sleep improved dramatically. Weekends are SO much better when you don’t need to spend half the day hungover 🙂

    Unfortunately I also realized who my true friends are. Once I scaled back on the drinking, the ones who didn’t approve nearly instantly disappeared from my life. It bothered me at first, but then I realized I was just their “drinking partner” and obviously I wasn’t important enough to them to stick around.

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