A few weeks ago, I decided that I was indulging way too much in wine and beer, especially on the weekends, and it was leading to bad nutritional decisions. Because I’m in the midst of marathon training, I decided that I needed to stop drinking. Period. For 30 days.
Yesterday was day 23 of the challenge. Out of those 23 days, 20 of them were alcohol free. A couple of weeks into the challenge, my husband and I went on a much needed weekend getaway, and I ended up drinking and eating way too much. But my husband and I had so much fun that weekend. We ate some delicious food and went on a 20-mile bike ride. We stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast and had a really awesome time! As soon as we returned, I got right back on track.
After being back on track for a couple of weeks, and spending this last weekend alcohol free, I’m feeling really good, but I was finding myself wanting a glass of wine this week. Sometimes in the evenings, especially after a stressful day, I like to have a glass of wine. Sometimes I just like to have a glass of wine with my dinner. And yesterday I started to do some real soul-searching of why I was on this 30-day no alcohol challenge.
I think I finally figured it out. I have a fear of what I like to call the “slippery slope syndrome”. I worry that if I’m not perfectly on track with my eating and exercise all of the time, I will gain weight and go back to when I was overweight and unhealthy. I worry that if I allow myself to indulge in a treat, I won’t be able to practice moderation and stop. It’s a legitimate fear. In the past, one unhealthy meal on the weekends would often lead to eating like crap the entire weekend. One glass of wine would often lead to three. I have a fear that I don’t have control over myself and that if I allow myself any slack, that I’ll snowball out of control.
I realized yesterday that I have to give myself some credit. And I need to be much kinder to myself instead of beating myself up and keeping a tight rein. I’m suffocating myself trying to be perfect. I’ve made a lot of progress over the last several years. I have established a lot of healthy lifestyle habits. My fitness level improves every day. Every day it gets easier to resist unhealthy temptations. I need to stop being so afraid that one indulgence will lead to 1000.
After realizing this, I decided to give up the challenge yesterday. Last night, I had a glass of wine with my healthy dinner. Just one glass. It was delicious and I have no regrets.
I did learn some important lessons during this challenge, though. First of all, I learned that I am able to resist alcohol. I’m around it quite often. My husband likes to drink, my friends and family like to drink, so I tend to be in situations often where I’m around alcohol. However, saying no wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. People didn’t look at me weird or give me a hard time. I could still have fun, even without a drink in my hand. Learning that was really important for me, I think. I think I thought that alcohol had some sort of control over me, but I’ve learned that it doesn’t. I can say no.
I think that practicing moderation is always going to be a work in progress. Some situations are probably going to be better than others. But I think that the no alcohol challenge has given me a much-needed confidence boost!
How about you? Are you able to practice moderation, or are you more in the “all or none” camp?