Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Diggy Lloyd
Ah, alcohol. While I've strictly stuck with tequila as my drink of choice for the last several months, the occasional mimosa and michelada at brunch every other weekend on top of my tequila intake would group me in the "social drinker" box. Yet I do seem to socialize every week, so what does that make me, really?
Challenging myself to not drink for 21 days was the perfect opportunity to see not only how alcohol affects my body, but also if it played a vital role in my weight-loss journey. While I'm proud of the progress I've made so far, I was faced with a challenge many know too well: shedding those last five pounds.
Whether to cut alcohol for the purpose of losing weight has been an internal battle of mine. Jennifer Lopez has credited her amazing physique to a healthy diet that doesn't include drinking, and professionals have found links between your favorite cocktail and weight gain. Was alcohol responsible for those stubborn pounds?
I was curious to find out, as well as see how the challenge would affect my mood, my socializing, and my wallet, of course. Here's what happened when I went 21 whole days without booze.
I Felt Stronger During My Workouts
While I can't be 100 percent sure that my no-alcohol challenge significantly contributed to my weight loss, I did notice a change in the way I held myself during my workouts. Not only was I able to work out longer, but I also felt more focused and stronger, completing my reps faster and more efficiently. Of course, this could be my body getting more accustomed to my fitness routine, yet I had a feeling those dry three weeks also played a part in this.
I Drank More Water
While I was never pressured to break my challenge, I did feel odd not having a drink in hand during the many outings I was conveniently invited to during those 21 days (of course there would be a karaoke party with bottle service two weeks into my challenge!). Because I quit drinking soda months ago, my only drink of choice at these gatherings was water. Instead of having a margarita in hand, my red cup was filled with water. Drinking water at social gatherings where I normally wouldn't was a huge help in reaching my recommended water intake of 94 ounces a day. It also meant I had more water with my food during dinners, which made for a healthier and more present experience.
I Had More Energy in the Morning
I've been a coffee drinker since the age of 12, so skipping my cup of joe in the morning almost always results in grogginess, headaches, and an overall bad mood. I noticed my coffee intake lessening in those 21 days, though, so much so that I went a whole weekend without caffeine toward the end of my challenge. That's a huge deal for me, and while I don't plan to cut caffeine anytime soon, it was clear that alcohol did have the power to make me more tired the morning after a night of drinking.
I Was More Engaged in Conversation
Slurring your words while drinking happens to the best of us, especially if that one drink turns into three or four. I'm a lightweight, so two drinks is usually when my sentences start trailing off, or when I start interrupting the person I'm speaking to, out of eagerness of getting my point across. Without alcohol in the equation, I noticed that my conversations with people were more engaging and memorable. Also, because I had better focus, I'd listen to people better instead of waiting for my turn to speak — something I should make a habit of with or without alcohol involved.
Yes, I Did Save Money
It's no surprise that drinking sometimes comes with a ridiculously high price tag. Not spending $35 on a couple drinks that I could easily live without gave my wallet a much-needed break. It also made me feel more in control; I didn't have to worry about getting tipsy enough to spend outside of my budget, something I've been guilty of doing. But really, I'd recommend anyone who's considering saving to cut down on their alcohol spending.