Drink Less, Live Life Better

one year no beer

Photo: DepositPhotos

By Andy Ramage

The stats tell two different sides of the same story. Taken together, they’re hard to reconcile, but both are true. First fact: Americans downed 7.9 billion gallons of liquor in 2018. Secondly, consumption is on the slide – alcohol volumes in the US dropped 0.8% during the same period.

Let’s imagine those stats exemplified by someone you know. Maybe even imagine it’s you. You drink alcohol, but you want to drink less. You’re trying to drink less. The thing is, cutting back on alcohol is a really good idea. There are lots of benefits to doing so, and they’re pretty persuasive.

Love Your Liver

Let’s go straight in with the impact that alcohol has on the liver. Most of us know that drinking too much liquor puts undue stress on the liver. However, it’s worth breaking down the detail a little, not least because the liver is the powerhouse organ of your body. If your liver isn’t happy, you can’t afford to ignore it.

Are You Driving Your Liver Too Hard?

If your body were a car, then your liver would be the engine. It’s one of the largest and most industrious organs in your body. It mops up toxins, cleans your blood, stores vitamins and iron… you get the picture. Plenty of people make a token effort to ‘detox’ their liver after a period of excess, but it’s much better to avoid overtaxing it in the first place.

Many of the health issues that people develop as a result of drinking alcohol emanate from a stressed-out liver. All of these symptoms can be traced back to a liver that needs a break from the booze:

● Feeling tired and sluggish
● Feeling irritable or emotionally despondent
● Insomnia
● Brain ‘fog’
● Lack of concentration
● Reduced appetite
● Itchy skin
● Joint pain
● Bruising easily
● Depressed metabolism and weight gain

Cutting down on alcohol can transform liver health: it’s the only internal organ capable of regenerating itself. If your drinking has crept up over the years, it’s even possible that you’ve started to compromise your liver function. That’s the other thing about your liver – it doesn’t like to cry out loud, at least not at first.

People in the early stages of developing a fatty liver probably won’t even have a twinge of pain. But quit drinking – even for a few months – and your liver will have the chance to generate new cells and restore itself.

Weight a Minute

Deciding to cut down on alcohol can also help you maintain a healthy weight. This is partly due to the content of liquor itself – a glass of wine contains around 130 calories. There’s also the motivation factor: if you’re not drinking, you could be doing something else, like playing sports or hitting the gym.

Many people who stop drinking alcohol find that it gives them a whole new lease of life. Hanging around in bars and clubs while other people knock back a drink is far less appealing if you’re trying to avoid the stuff.

Get Inspired

If you often spend Friday evening having post-work beers with colleagues, or meet up with a group of friends at the weekend to have a few drinks, then brace yourself for the discovery that socializing sans-alcohol can make you wonder if there isn’t a better way to spend those hours.

Try reading the stories of people who’ve already made the switch. The self-explanatory One Year No Beer website is a good starting point for connecting with people who have decided to quit drinking for 12 months.

One common theme that people talk about is how sobriety has thrown open the door to new challenges: extreme sports, hiking, languages, traveling… there’s a whole world of sober stuff out there to be explored.

What You Gain When You Give Up

Drinking alcohol is ingrained in modern-day culture. We celebrate with it, de-stress with it, commiserate over it and more. Avoiding alcohol takes effort and willpower. But the pay-off makes it worth it. More energy. More refreshing sleep. Feeling better and healthier than you have in years and the knowledge that you’re doing your mind and body a huge favor.

In fact, knocking alcohol on the head can change the way you feel about yourself so profoundly that it doesn’t feel like you’re giving something up at all. Except for the hangovers, obviously.

The Start of Something Big

Proving to yourself that you’re capable of making big life changes is empowering. Think about it like this: if you can ditch alcohol and embrace a more positive, healthier way of living, imagine what else you’re capable of!

Andy Ramage is co-founder and chief product officer at One Year No Beer.
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