in EXPERIMENTS, MISCELLANEOUS

INTRO

People ask me why do I do these things to myself. Like no-alcohol month. Well, a few reasons:
        – because I’m absolutely terrible at moderation, so go all in or not at all

        – because of the benefits, duh. ’nuff said
        – because if other people can do it, so can I
        – last but not least – because why the hell not?
    – main goal (among all goals)
        – weight & body-fat loss + mental clarity – so health improvement

METHODOLOGY

How do I do this:
        – replace alcohol with tea, the only way to kick a bad habit is by replacing it with another, at least mildly better
        – up the water intake a day
        – adopt different activities to deter alcohol consumption related ones
    – pitfalls
        – not like diets with cheat meals. Cold turkey or not at all
        – some report side-effects of withdrawal, like it’s the case with any substance use
    – tricks/tips/systems
        – tracking place: notes-evernote / gdoc
        – make a note each time I’m thinking or craving alcohol, or moments when I would’ve had a beer / glass of wine

METRICS

    – weight loss (scale at home and at the office if anything)
    – body fat (device at the office)
    – stamina (subjectively measurable, if you know what I mean)
    – exercise rounds (when / how often, how much, reps, distances, etc.)
    – sharpness (mental clarity)
    – resting heart rate (fitbit)
    – sleep pattern (fitbit)
    – productivity (as rate of projects done either at work or on the side at home when not boozin’)

CONCLUSION / TAKEAWAYS

4 days in I found it the hardest to resist the urge to have a beer. Particularly when in the company of friends that were all enjoying a nice pint.
12 days in it had gotten fairly easy to catch myself craving a pint. And saying no.
Labor Day long weekend resulted in a set of fancy, home-cooked meals at my inlaws. It’s difficult to be the only person staying ‘dry’. However, since it was all for a good purpose, it made it easier to swallow.
By the second week mark I had my Resting Heart Rate go way down by 9 bpm.
alcohol-free month resting heart rate picture
Sleep had gotten arguably measurably better, as measured by the fitbit watch:
alcohol-free month sleep quantity picture
With regards to sleep, it’s not just the quantity, but the quality of it that had gotten noticeably better.
So more deep sleep, the same amount of REM and light sleep, but less time awake and restless. And generally sleep sessions that would see me refreshed in the morning.
As opposed to groggy, like you go after alcohol consumption.
3 weeks into this experiment I completely forgot about alcohol. Because I developed the new tea and water habit to replace my beer (and occasionally wine) habits.
Oh yeah. Water.
Turns out I wasn’t drinking enough water. Boo – hoo. Few people do. So this experiment had this other fringe benefit.
And the cool thing is that now it’s a habit that I consume more water than before.
But I’m probably still not consuming the right amount even now.
Alright, what’s up body-weight and body-fat
So it’s like this: at the office my team and I chipped in for a decent body-fat measurement device. It’s works via mild electric currents sent through electrodes in contact with your palms, and determines how much body fat one has. Based on probably some formula in which it plugs in other data you give it, like age, height, body type, etc.
Long story short, my weight went down by 2.3 Kilograms (so, like 5 pounds, for those imperially inclined). I mean it varies, right? By about 1 kilo on a silly, carb-bonanza week, when I’m lazy. But generally it’s pretty stable.
My body-fat went down 1%.

alcohol-free month weight and body fat picture

Was I more productive?
Can’t really tell. If I’m honest, I got less stuff done. I did however see an improvement in the quality of the stuff I did get done, albeit less quantitatively.
How did it affect my workouts?
It didn’t in any measurable way. Since I wasn’t a god-damn alcoholic to begin with, it’s not like giving up alcohol cold-turkey for a month would register on my strength radar in any substantial way.
Yeah, I was consistent on workouts before and after. No difference.
I noticed I did have more energy in general. Was less lethargic than when I was consuming alcohol.
How about mental clarity or sharpness?
Nothing noticeable. Same old boring fart, annoying people and doing stuff and things.

Bottom line – definitely do this “alcohol-free month” experiment!

Is mostly has positive outcomes, and only a few neutral ones.

No negatives… see what I did there?
Oh, guess what: I’m back to fresh off the wagon… Cheers!