I’ve always hated February. Besides the miserable weather, I seem to get bad news in February, or something unpleasant happens. It’s always something. This year was no exception, and I am happy that the month is in its last week. On a positive note, I seem to be on a steady one-pound-per-week weight loss track for February. It is surprising to me. I’ve been in a real slump. Working out has been struggle and I feel like half the time I’ve been phoning it in, and I’ve had several social outings or celebrations this month.
Speaking of social occasions, a friend of mine at a group dinner this past weekend was telling me that I need to drink more if I’m going to be successful at my program on a long term basis. I went into this dinner, knowing the drinks would be flowing table-wide, allowing myself to have 2 drinks of my choosing – whether a cocktail, beer or wine. I ended up having 3 glasses of wine, which was a splurge, but I also don’t believe in depriving myself in social situations, since they are not an everyday occurrence. While I’m not depriving myself completely, I also don’t want to go overboard. The theme for me since I started this program is to find balance.
I was proud of myself. In the past, I would have had a pre-cocktail or 2, a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, then maybe, more like probably, another cocktail after dinner, or 2. I came out of the evening without the big head at the end of the night, dry mouth, or general feeling of regret in drinking too much. But, the comment my friend made is still on my mind. She pointed out that I like to drink, and by denying myself, I would end up binge drinking and ultimately fail long term.
It is true that I drank a lot. Prior to starting this program, I drank everyday. I’m not an alcoholic, but a heavy drinker. I would drink every evening, sometimes a bottle of wine every night. I would average that I probably drank 3-5 drinks a day (wine/beer for the most part). Currently, I am limiting drinking to celebrations and social events, and I restrict my drinking for those events to a reasonable amount, as I did the other night.
The thing is, I don’t really miss it. At least I don’t miss my past habits. I’ve thought about this considerably, and yes, I drank a lot, but I wasn’t drinking because I enjoyed it so much. I was drinking because I was bored, because I had a bad day, or simply because it was there.
There are beverages that I do truly miss, like a deep, robust Cabernet with a steak dinner, or a seasonal beer with a pizza. I also miss drinking during certain situations, such as a a couple of beers after a long day of working outside in the yard, or a glass of wine while watching Cougar Town (that show would make anyone want wine..). I do enjoy getting together with friends and having cocktails. I don’t miss drinking a full bottle of cheap wine every night, the restless sleep, dehydration, and waking up with a headache.
Still, she got me thinking – am I depriving myself too much? Should I reintroduce alcohol into my plan in more modified amounts so I don’t end up binge drinking and ultimately failing? I don’t think so, but time will tell. The fact is, I’m a 40 year old woman with a slow metabolism and 40 pounds to lose, and I don’t have the room in my calorie count to fit in alcohol on anything but rare occasions. That is, if I want to lose this weight within the next year.
I also think it’s paramount to my success to fill the time I spent previously drinking with something more productive. I don’t want all of my life’s enjoyment to revolve around alcohol. Drinking should enhance some of my life’s experiences, but it should not be the centerpiece of them, and that was how I was living.
I’m not just on a journey to lose weight and fit into my skinny jeans, I want to work on improving my mind, body, and soul. That’s my ultimate goal – full speed ahead!