Banning Booze for Health and Weight Loss
Throughout 2009, I spent a lot of time thinking about and writing about my weight on my blog, What I Weigh Today. On January 2, 2009, I weighed a few pounds more that I wanted to, and I hoped that making myself accountable through blogging and making an effort to be healthy in my food, drink, and exercise choices, I would coast down the scale to, I don’t know, my lowest weight ever.
By April 2009, I weighed 10 pound less. But as it turned out, even that modest weight loss wasn’t sustainable for me. Guess what I weighed on January 2, 2010? Same as I did on January 2, 2009.
During the past year, through the network of people who have left comments for me on my blog, I became acquainted with the Fat Acceptance Movement and the Healthy at Every Size philosophy. I started to work on giving up my struggle to be thin, and loving and accepting my body the way it is.
At this point, I have spent months talking back to the voices in my head urging me to lose weight and telling me I’m fat. I read this fantastic post and came to believe I was working through something that a lot of other women have worked through before me. I believed that by 2009’s end, I would love, embrace, and celebrate my body the way it was.
But here I am, still struggling, still feeling bad about myself every time I go shopping or get dressed, still cringing at photos of myself, still hoping (and then feeling bad about hoping) that I might someday again see those lower numbers on the scale, a slimmer me in the mirror. The thing is, when I look at my diet, I know it’s healthy and I will not modify it.
I have a somewhat unorthodox approach to food, largely shaped by Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Nina Planck’s Real Food, and there is no way I’m drinking low fat milk or eating Healthy Choice frozen meals. I’m a restaurant critic: eating butter, bacon, chocolate, and cream are job requirements, and even if they weren’t, I’d eat them all. (Though probably a bit less of them!)
When I looked back over 2009, I did see one modification that I would like to make. In 2010, I would like to change my relationship with alcohol. For the past several years, I’ve drank wine or beer most days.
Often just one or two; sometimes three or four; on not-infrequent-enough-occasions, as many as five. I just calculated that I drank approximately 117,000 calories worth of booze in 2009. Is it any wonder I couldn’t lose weight or maintain a modest weight lost?
I don’t believe in dieting. I know from experience that it really doesn’t work. I strongly believe that a healthy, sustainable lifestyle (one where you eat what you want when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, one where you enjoy ample physical activity) will lead every one of us to our ideal body size, even if it isn’t our cultural ideal, even if it isn’t the body of our dreams.
Perhaps my drinking habits have not contributed to a healthy lifestyle for me. Drinking could be interfering with me becoming and maintaining my natural size. Maybe booze has weighed me down, emotionally and physically.
For this reason, I decided I would quit drinking altogether for the month of January. I hope to reevaluate my choices and emerge from this period of abstinence ready and willing to put alcohol in its appropriate place in my life. I just need some time to figure our what that is. And I would totally be lying if I didn’t tell you I hope I’ll also learn that I weigh less.
Tell me, commentors, what role does alcohol play in your life and your health? Do you have any personal guidelines you follow in terms of drinking?