I have officially made it two months into my 12 Months with No Alcohol Challenge!
And I’m starting to notice a lot more changes than I did the first month. Particularly in terms of my energy, appearance, and social interactions.
Aside from just consistently having more energy throughout the day, I’m also sleeping much better and able to function just fine off less sleep because of it.
I still aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, but as I gear up for my big Europe trip
I’ve had a lot on my plate. So I’ve been staying up an hour or two later than usual, which frequently puts me more around the 6 – 6.5 hours of sleep mark. I thought this would have a huge impact on my energy during the day, but it hasn’t.
This newfound energy makes it a lot easier for me to be super productive AND fit in a lot more exercise time, so I’m finally starting to see physical changes in my body!
Within a few weeks of returning to the U.S. from Australia (in June), I packed on 13 pounds. And despite eating healthier for the most part and exercising regularly, I couldn’t seem to shake it.
In the past month however, I’ve lost 5 of those pounds and have replaced much of the fat with muscle.
I’ve never been one to obsess about my weight, but I am highly prone to obsessing about my body image, and all that extra fluff was NOT doing it for me.
I honestly couldn’t care less that the number on the scale is still 10 lbs higher now than it was in Australia, but what I do care about is feeling confident in the way I look. Which is something I finally have back after feeling pretty self-conscious for the past 6 months.
I can actually see defined muscles in my arms and legs (it’s a thing of beauty!), and more overall leanness. I also notice some of my bone structures becoming more defined (aka not fluffy), like my jawline, collar bone, and hands.
And my boobs are DEFINITELY shrinking! Luckily I have plenty to spare, so I ain’t frettin.
My belly and love handles are still being stubborn, but I have a good feeling about the next month!
*Update: I hadn’t done my monthly measurements yet when I originally posted this, but I have actually lost a full inch off my waist! I also lost a full inch off my chest.
In my 3 month update I’ll probably share before and after photos of my body transformation so far…but I’m not making any promises haha.
Then there’s the social side of things.
I never realized how much of a crutch alcohol was for my social interactions/communication skills.
As someone who tends to fall on the more introverted side of the spectrum, I was always envious of my brother’s ability to “wing” a speech or presentation, speak seamlessly in front of an audience, and strike up a conversation with anyone and everyone.
So one evening while we were riding in his car together, we were talking about networking, and I was shocked when he made a comment about people liking me better than him.
“WHAT? Are you crazy? You’re way more outgoing! People have always taken to you much better than me!”
And he said, “No they haven’t! When you ACTUALLY open up to people, they feel a strong connection to you, trust you, and talk about you like you’re their new best friend.”
I was stunned. Like, seriously flabbergasted, that anyone could even possibly think that.
So naturally, I dove deep into my memory and replayed social interactions where I actually took the time to carry on a real conversation with someone. I noticed that my communication skills were in fact a lot better now than they used to be.
There were a lot more circumstances than I had realized where I seamlessly carried on a conversation with someone I didn’t know. A skill I always lacked. Actually, I didn’t just lack the skill, but once upon a time, the mere thought of having a conversation with a stranger gave me crippling anxiety.
As a matter of fact, I used to live in a permanent state of anxiety, but that cleared up when I started traveling full-time two years ago. I still found most conversations with strangers exhausting because it usually involved having the same exact small talk with every single person in my hostel, but the conversations were never painful. And several turned into great friendships.
When I returned from my 14 months abroad, carrying on a conversation was a piece of cake because people always wanted to hear about my travels…a topic I am always more than happy to talk about.
I mentioned in my first alcohol challenge update
that due to my introverted nature, my energy gets drained quickly from social interactions and overstimulating environments. I’m noticing now, that because I have a lot more energy to start with
(versus already feeling drained from drinking) I’m more open and willing to engage in a conversation
when I have no idea where it’s heading, because I have the energy to see it through.
Surprisingly though, ever since giving up alcohol, I’ve found it even easier to strike up a conversation with people about more personal matters. Whereas in the past I almost always avoided being vulnerable, now I embrace it. I thought for sure I would bottle up my thoughts and feelings without alcohol giving me the social advantage. But nope, turns out having a clear mind makes it much easier to express myself! ?
I’m both nervous and excited to see how my social skills hold up in Europe without drinking! T-minus 4 weeks until I’m Iceland bound!
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