Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wine whine

One of my biggest issues in weight management is alcohol. 

Alcohol is such an insidious thing. It is such a HUGE part of our society. As a ex-high school teacher, there were 14 year olds just busting at the gate to go start drinking and "get maggoted". It is there at every social gathering. The answer to all of life's stresses, particularly as a parent, seem to be found in a glass of wine at the end of a long day.

I don't really remember when I started drinking every day. I know I started drinking later than most of my friends, after I turned 18 and then really got into the swing of things at university (there are harbour cruises I wish I could forget). But it was on the weekends and the body bounced back better then.

A glass of wine after a hard day's teaching was a very nice thing to look forward to. A glass to sit down with hubby and compare our days. A glass with some cheese and bickies. A glass while preparing dinner. Sometimes dinner never got prepared and it was vegemite on toast. A few glasses on a Friday night because tomorrow is the weekend and I don't have to get up. A few glasses to make the stress of the day disappear in a bit of a fog. Every morning I would wake up and say to myself "I'm not going to drink again tonight" and yet, as sure as day turns to night, that night would find a glass of sav blanc in my hand.

The trouble is, after a while, there was never a day off. And it became harder and harder to say "no" when hubby asked "glass of wine?" And he asked, so he didn't feel as bad because he wanted one (or three or four). And then it was never just a glass. It was nothing for us to polish off two bottles (that's one each) on a weeknight. Weekends were worse.

I knew when I started this 12WBT that wine was an issue for my weight. It is also a nasty issue for my high blood pressure. I don't even want to think about my liver (la la la la - if I just ignore stuff, it's not an issue). I don't always like myself when I've had a few wines. I knew I had to cut back seriously. Maybe even stop.

Hubby was with me. We were stopping until Christmas. We would support each other. It is often the case we will say this to ourselves, but then cave the minute things get busy, stressful or just a bit overwhelming. Which, apparently is often.

Even though I know for my health I have to do this, but alcohol is like a siren, calling "drink me". So much of our lives are hardwired to drink. It is a habit and a drug and it is very hard to say no and keep saying no.

I haven't been perfect. I have caved. But not often. I have whole weeks where I don't drink anything. And then when I do, Lindemans Early Harvest (low alcohol wine/champagne) is my crutch. Gin and diet tonics (less calories). 

I am noticing that I can feel the impacts of one glass so much more, now that my body is not inundated with the stuff. I can enjoy a glass. I don't enjoy four big ones any more. 

I have energy the next day. I get up and do my workouts. I am physically tired, not hungover tired. I sleep better. My face is less puffy. I don't have to worry that I stink of wine at work. I am there for my kids at the end of the day.

Or maybe don't drink that wine and keep running!

I am really hoping that I can keep at this and change a habit that been building over the last couple of decades (OK - now I made myself feel really old). I want to be healthy going into my 50s. I want to not shop in the larger ladies section. I want my brain and body to be able to function as well as they can. These are the things I want for my life. Wine is not going to get me there, so it will just not be able to be as big a part of my life as it was previously. 

If I am serious about losing weight, alcohol is not helping - the body processes alcohol before fat, protein or carbs. Thus drinking slows down the burning of fat. It contains a lot of empty, non-nutritious calories. 

Will I keep on this track? I can only try one day at a time. I may look back at this post and laugh at myself for me being so naive. But I hope not. 

Have you let alcohol creep into your life?
What's your best tip for drinking less?

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