Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 28, 2020

How to Quit Drinking for a Healthier Body and Mind

How to Quit Drinking for a Healthier Body and Mind

Drinking alcohol is a big part of the social fabric of many cultures. Drinking is a way to celebrate, to relax, to socialize, and to fill time. However, if an occasional drink goes to being a daily drinking habit or alcohol addiction, you may want to learn how to quit drinking in order to improve your body and mind.

If you’ve made the decision to stop drinking, you’re already on the right path. Once the decision is made, it’s time to take action.

Here we will look at the consequences of drinking too much and some steps you can take to quit drinking.

How Much Is Too Much?

This is a great question to ask in our discussion of how to quit drinking for a healthy body and mind. Let’s look how much drinking is too much and when it can become a problem.

A recent 2018 study of nearly 600,000 alcohol drinkers found that those who drank less than 100 grams of alcohol per week (about 6 glasses of wine) had the lowest levels of mortality[1].

The study suggested that those who drink more than 100 grams of alcohol per week had increased risk of stroke, heart disease, heart failure, fatal hypertensive disease, and fatal aortic aneurysm.

Occasionally going over 100 grams of alcohol a week likely won’t do lasting harm, but if you find that you’re consistently passing this threshold, or that you can’t go more than a couple of days without a drink, it may be time to learn how to quit drinking.

How to Quit Drinking Alcohol

When you want to quit drinking, it’s all about changing habits. Here are some steps to help you get started.

1. Admit You Have a Problem

Awareness is the first step in wanting to change any situation, and it’s just as true here. This is often the most difficult step as your brain wants to continue on the familiar path it’s on. If you can overcome this and admit that you want to change, you’ve done a great thing.

When you find yourself thinking more and more often that drinking is creating problems in your life, it’s probably time to admit you have an issue with drinking too much.

Advertising

There is no shame in admitting it. Many people have issues doing too much of lots of things.

2. Think About Why You Should Quit

When we think about the long-term effects of drinking too much alcohol, such as cirrhosis of the liver, it’s not usually enough to make us quit. The reason is because it’s not real yet.

Think about the very real, short-term effects drinking has. If you drink four drinks at a time, three days a week, and each time it takes two hours, you’ve “lost” six hours a week to drinking. Add in the cost of the alcohol, say $30 a week (and that’s being generous), times 52 weeks a year, and you realize you’re spending over $1500 a year on alcohol.

When you toss in the things you miss out on by drinking, it becomes much more real.

It may help to make a list of your motivations to quit drinking. That way, you can go back to it when you start finding it difficult to quit drinking.

If you’re not sure how to find your “why,” check out this article.

3. Change Your Environment

This is a tough step. You have to change multiple things that have been central to the way you live your life.

You’ll need to shift your social life by not going to happy hours or other similar get togethers. You’ll most likely have to cut certain people out of your life, as well as alter the places you go.

If you know that you will inevitably drink when you go see a specific friend, it’s time to have a talk with that friend. If they’re not willing to support your decision, it’s time to spend more time with other friends who will.

If you know you won’t be able to resist a drink if you go to your coworker’s birthday party, you may need to excuse yourself until next time, when you’re more prepared to being around other people who are drinking.

Advertising

4. Adjust Your Attitude

When drinking is a big part of your life, it’s difficult, under the best of circumstances, to quit.

You will get mad at people who think they are “helping” you. You will most likely get down on yourself and beat yourself up internally. You might have trouble falling asleep, and your mind will think about drinking a lot.

Keep pumping yourself up and know that you are working towards a goal that you know is right for you.

Try participating in positive activities, such as a group sport, meditation, or an online class. These things will help you refocus your attention and feel good about the things you’re doing.

5. Get Help From Rehab or Support Groups

Many people are not able to quit drinking on their own. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are serious illnesses, and if the addiction has been in charge of your life for quite a while, your brain will have a particularly hard time giving it up.

If you find yourself unable to quit drinking on your own, it may be time to check into a rehab treatment facility. Another option is joining a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The support of a group of people with a similar problem will help you feel like you’re not alone.

There are a variety of support groups and rehab facilities that can help you if you want to learn how to quit drinking.

6. Keep Going

If you decide to remove alcohol from your life for good, it will be an ongoing process. Once you get through the initial stage and become a non-drinker, you will have to work on it as long as you want to stay away from alcohol.

This isn’t as bad as it sounds though. This is really true of any situation you want bad enough.

If you want to be in great shape, that takes ongoing commitment to exercise. If you want to make a million dollars, that takes consistent and ongoing hard work and hustle.

Advertising

Any major life improvement is constant, hard work. Keep reminding yourself why you’ve made this change and how it’s benefiting you. Find friends and family members who will continually support your struggle in case you have days where it feels particularly difficult.

If you need more motivation to keep going, you can check out the benefits you’ll receive when you learn how to quit drinking alcohol.

What Happens When You Quit Drinking

Here are numerous negative effects of alcohol, and many  ways your body and mind benefit when you decide to quit drinking. Here are just some of them.

How to quit drinking: What a month off drinking does for your body

    You Will Sleep Better

    This benefits both your body and your mind. Many people believe that alcohol helps you sleep because it makes you feel tired, but one scientific review found that alcohol consumption “increases the quality and quantity of NREM sleep during the first half of the night,” but that it disrupts sleep during the second half, which is when your deepest sleep occurs[2].

    When you quit drinking, your body will rest better, which will improve your energy levels, concentration, mood, and mental performance.

    You’ll Lose Weight

    Alcohol is full of empty calories. An average beer contains approximately 150 calories. If you are a weekend drinker and typically have five beers on Friday and 5 beers on Saturday, that’s 1500 calories saved in a week. That’s pushing a full days worth of calories right there.

    Your Skin Will Look Better

    Since alcohol is a diuretic, you urinate more when drinking on a regular basis. This causes you to be less hydrated than you should be. When you quit drinking, you’ll be more hydrated, and this shows up on your skin in a positive way.

    You Will Be Able to Concentrate More

    Several studies have suggested that your concentration levels can improve up to 18% and your work performance can go up by 17% after a month of not drinking any alcohol[3].

    That’s a substantial boost to your mental health!

    Your Immune System Will Improve

    Heavy drinking makes you more

    Advertising

    susceptible to serious infections like tuberculosis and pneumonia because alcohol suppresses both the innate and the adaptive immune systems.

    One study specified that “alcohol’s combined effects on both innate and adaptive immunity significantly weaken host defenses, predisposing chronic drinkers to a wide range of health problems, including infections and systemic inflammation”[4].

    When you quit drinking, your body is much better at fighting off infections because the immune system is no longer suppressed.

    You Will Feel More Alert

    Alcohol can disrupt the way neurotransmitters work in your brain. You chalk up the foggy brain to a hangover, but there’s more happening than that.

    Your neurotransmitters aren’t working as well, especially if you’ve been a heavy drinker for a long time.

    After you’ve put alcohol in the rear view mirror for several months, your head will feel more clear than it has in a long time.

    Your Muscles Will Thank You

    If you are someone who works out and enjoys staying in shape, your muscles could benefit if you quit drinking. For one thing, you put a lot of hard work into building up muscle and staying in shape.

    Drowning your muscles in beer and wine only helps add empty calories. There has also been recent studies that suggests that alcohol my decrease the production of human growth hormone, which is a key part of muscle building and repair[5].

    The Bottom Line

    We’ve taken a look at how to quit drinking for a healthier body and mind. It’s readily apparent how much alcohol is woven into the fabric of our society. Like most things in life, you can control whether you pick up a drink or not. It’s not impossible to stop!

    If you decide that drinking isn’t for you, you are on your way to a healthier body and mind.

    More on How to Quit Drinking

    Featured photo credit: Zach Kadolph via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Mat Apodaca

    On a mission to share about how communication in the workplace and personal relationships plays a large role in your happiness

    How to Quit Drinking for a Healthier Body and Mind 7 Powerful Persuasive Techniques to Increase Your Influence Active Listening vs Passive Listening: Is One Better Than the Other? 10 Best Interview Questions (With Great Answer Examples) 7 Keys to Effective Listening

    Trending in Physical Strength

    1 How to Quit Drinking for a Healthier Body and Mind 2 How to Burn Calories Effectively (the Healthy Way) 3 Why Am I Not Losing Weight? 7 Reasons Revealed 4 12 Best At Home Workouts (No Equipment Needed) 5 Why Can’t I Lose Weight? 8 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Fit

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

    Advertising

    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

    Advertising

    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

    Advertising

    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

      Advertising

      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next