About 7 Years ago when I decided to lose weight, I put myself on a restrictive diet (like most people do and before, I knew better), and of course that included no booze, after about 1.5 months I was out and treated myself to cocktails, cigarettes and all the food and then I found it harder to not drink and stay on a restricted diet (because ultimately real life doesn’t allow restrictive diets forever) and by the end of my drinking career 4 years later, we had moved, my stress levels were at an all time high, I was barely making it to the gym. My mental & physical health were suffering horribly. I then started to look at my drinking it took me another 1.5 to get continuous sobriety but in the mean time I worked on getting sober and got my butt back to the gym.
How fitness helped me give up the booze.
WEEKENDS: I started working out early morning on the weekends, I booked a exercise class or yoga no more mind mentality of a Monday to Friday week. I turned my week into 7 days. Not a work week & weekend. A trademark line I use all the time is your week has 7 days not 5. This also gave me days during the week to sleep in a little longer
CONNECTION: I found a community of like minded friends at the gym. Good chance that people who are at the gym at 7am on Saturday or Sunday weren’t out boozing it up the night before. In fact I’ve met 2 great friends at the gym ( one is in recovery and the other is a competitor and her lifestyle is no alcohol) and I meet up with group of regulars that ask me where I’ve been if they don’t see me.
ENDORPHINS: These are those feel good feelings that are naturally produced from exercise. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphinsalso trigger a positive feeling in the body.
RELIEVES BOREDOM: I was so bored in my first few months of sobriety, I didn’t know what to do. Going to the gym, yoga, running, swimming, all gave me things to do.
SLEEP: Exercising is tiring (especially outside) and it helps me sleep, and not sleeping was at one time an excuse to drink (to help me sleep).
CONFIDENCE: Feeling better, helps you look better, helps boost your confidence. I didn’t have a lot of self esteem or self confidence left at the end of my drinking career.
EATING: I became more conscious of eating more nutritious, whole food meals, though I still have a treat every day. I also started watching when I got Hangry, as this can be a relapse trigger for me.
ENERGIZED: Exercise helps give you energy, if you are tired all the time like I was contrary to popular belief exercise helps boost your energy.
DEPRESSION/ANXIETY: Exercise is the number one prescription for depression and anxiety, and after my initial anxiety of joining a gym or going to a new class it has helped reduce both. In the last 1.5 years of continuos sobriety, I have only had 2 mild bouts of depression ( and I believe the last one was more hormonal than anything) and much more mild than when I was drinking. My anxiety levels are very low and I never wake up in the middle of the night anymore with anxiety.
ON THE ROAD: I was worried about vacations/work travel, and drinking, but fitness has allowed me to keep a schedule while travelling, I workout at the same time I do at home, but while travelling (and I have gotten to run /yoga / soulcycle / swim/walk / workout, in the early mornings before world is awake in the most amazing places; Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Paris, Nice, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Maui, Whistler to name just a few. Schedules are important especially when travelling.
REDUCED CRAVINGS: This is a bonus Tip and it combines all of the above, and really one of the biggest benefits how fitness helped me give up the booze. It has reduced cravings. Fitness has given me something to do, with like minded people, while making me feel good, It’s something healthy do during the “witching hour” and helps me sleep all which relieves cravings.
Fitness & Health has played a big part in my sobriety journey. If you have any questions or want to incorporate fitness into your journey reach out to me. Also on my Instagram, I post lots of great exercises, food and life as well as on my Youtube channel my exercises from my free fit and sober challenge in December are posted.