Living Intentionally 2014 – February

FEBRUARY

 

Feburary’s challenge is NO ALCOHOL for 28 days! I wouldn’t describe myself in any way as a heavy drinker but I do enjoy a glass of wine or two, 4-5 nights per week.

 

If I am to be honest, the last time I went without alcohol for any length of time I was pregnant/breastfeeding, I have slipped into a ‘habit’ of using wine to wind down after a long day – I am not good at sitting & relaxing so having a glass of wine seems to help, but sometimes I don’t even enjoy the wine.

 

Guidelines vary for the amount of alcohol it is safe to consume – Advice on the maximum units of alcohol that should be consumed was introduced in 1987 – 21 units in a week for men and 14 for women.

In 1995, the advice was changed to recommend that men did not regularly drink more than three to four units per day. The figures were two to three units for women. It also says that after heavy drinking people should leave 48 hours for the body to recover.

 

It is sometimes difficult to gauge or calculate how many units are actually in that single glass of wine, this useful guide from the BBC may be of help:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16470686

 

Week 1

 

The night before my challenge started, we had some wine, to be frank I hadn’t had a drink in 4-5 days as I had been ill but my husband suggested it might be a good idea to open a bottle as I was going to deprive myself for a month. We didn’t even finish the bottle & had a very large glass of cabernet sauvignon sitting in our fridge for several days until I added it to a pot of Bolognese sauce!

 

The week started, surprisingly, with a rare night out with my lovely in-laws. I got home from work, ran myself a lovely relaxing bath before getting ready to go out, my 11 year old daughter offered to bring me my book & a glass of wine so I explained the principle of my month’s challenge – she offered to bring me a wine glass of ginger ale instead. I got around my self-imposed ban by being designated driver and drank soft drinks out of a wine glass when everyone came back to ours – nobody noticed.

 

Week 2

 

This is surprisingly easy, I have replaced wine with soft drinks and have discovered that sitting with a wine glass of lemonade has a similar relaxing effect to sitting with a glass of the real thing – perhaps it is the choice of drinking vessel! I am feeling slightly smug this week (please read as ‘very possibly annoying to be around’). After the 1st night (see above night out with in-laws). my lovely, supportive husband has joined me in my monthly challenge. An added bonus is that my cellulite has gone, my husband has remarked that my eyes are less puffy, my digestion has greatly improved & I am sleeping like a baby.

 

Week 3

 

I have reached the ‘it’s not funny’ stage. I have had 3 very stressful days this week & have worked 13 days straight without a day off. I woke on Thursday feeling like I had a hangover – 20 days without alcohol – one of my colleagues suggested that my body was probably detoxing from that lack of caffeine & alcohol, I felt like crap all day & slept for almost 10 hours. I am drinking sparking elderflower cordial from my wineglass & dreaming of beer – I don’t even like beer!

 

Week 4

 

I am now counting the days, seeing wine offers everywhere & planning to buy a very nice bottle of Champagne to celebrate the end of my month. I am however thrilled that my cellulite is gone & I am more comfortable in my clothes as my digestion has greatly improved & my stomach is less bloated.

 

What have I learned so far –

 

I have learned a lot from my 2 challenges so far, the inspiration for my challenges came from Jen Hatmaker, whose book 7 http://www.amazon.co.uk/7-HB-HATMAKER-JEN/dp/1433672960/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393082508&sr=8-1&keywords=jen%20hatmaker

I read last summer whilst travelling around Yorkshire with my family in a camper van for a week. Jen describes 7 as “an experimental mutiny against excess”, targeting 7 areas of her life – clothes, spending, waste, food, stress, media & possessions – over 7 months.   As an aspiring minimalist I am truly amazed at the personal journey Jen undertook, whilst I don’t profess to share all her views I was truly inspired to start my own journey – 12 challenges over 12 months. Whilst I don’t imagine that I will only wear 7 items of clothing or eat just 7 foods for an entire month, I will seek to challenge certain areas in my life that I feel need improvement – it is my own personal journey.

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