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I Gave Up Drinking For 100 Days... And Lost 22 Pounds

“I’m never drinking again.”

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What 100 Days Without Alcohol Did To My Body

Instagram: @nickvinckier / Via medium.com

Next to “I’ll start this diet on Monday” and “January 1st I’ll quit smoking”, definitely the three biggest lies we tell ourselves. I myself have gone down those roads before — often enough to know that those are not more than just fibs. After one of those crazy nights where I drank too much, after a holiday season packed with eating greasy goods or during the weeks before New Year’s when everyone’s making up their resolutions. Yet, putting the money where our mouths is, isn’t something we (especially I) do in these cases. Sure, eating healthy food for a couple of weeks, combined with occasionally going to the gym did the job most of the times but the “I’m never drinking again” part after a humongous hanover wasn’t something I could dedicate to for more than two weeks. Up until some time ago. A story about my first #100dayswithoutalcohol ever since I turned 14.

Note: I’m Belgian and in contrast to Americans, we are allowed to drink alcohol at 16 and hard liquor at 18. Teen drinking (below the age of 16) is a regular thing in my country/Europe, although it is forbidden — it became common sense and the government(s) is/are not really doing something about it to change this.

While climbing out of my bed after another two-day hangover, I made up my mind for once and for all: I’m never drinking again. It was the surest thing. It had to stop.

Physically, I felt like a complete disaster while mentally I was as fragile as an eight-year old. At the time being, I was 24 but I rather felt like 40-something and my weeks consisted of 5 days of work, one night of going on the rag and a solid two days of sleep. Enough signs on the wall and as many reasons to draw the line.

A little math learned me that I had gained 10 years of experience in this (binge) drinking game. If the bells hadn’t rung at that time, when would they have?

It had to be somewhere around the age of 14. My first pint. Dis-gusting! I looked at my best friend at the same time that I gulped my first sip of beer and without exchanging a single word, we were wondering the same thing: “How is it humanly possible that grownups like thís?”

The answer is simple: perseverance. By drinking beer for a long enough time, you get used to the filth that is the taste of hops and malt. But why should a barely 14-year old apply the little perseverance he/she has to ‘learn’ drinking beer? It became clear that the reason is within and around us during my #100dayswithoutalcohol.

As with every challenge, the first hurdle I had to jump was myself. After 100 days this seemed to be the easiest one as well. It’s like starting a diet, a fitness plan or quitting smoking cigarettes. You just need to do it and use all the discipline you have to keep going. It seems though at first, but once you’re getting up to speed, carrying on isn’t that hard.

No, encouraging myself wasn’t the big deal. Fortunately because, in my case, you’re quite on your own, even being looked at like an alien, when you’re not drinking along.

Quitting cigarettes is easier than giving up alcohol

When you’re in a bar (or let’s say everywhere), it’s safer to say that you’ve recently quit smoking than that you have given up the liquor. A friend of mine had ‘successfully ’quit smoking and was received as a true hero, even praised and cheered for his iron will. I, instead, got a quite different treat when I told people that I didn’t drink anymore:

LOL, what a great joke! Beer for ya, Nick?

Oh, so you’re doing this for a bet?

You’ll never make it!

Why!? For God’s sake?

Wow, going out has to be really boring like that?

It’s not that you’re winning something with it, right..

In brief, you’re a loser if you don’t drink along.

And I’m not blaming (most of) them. As a society, we’ve gotten so used to the fact that everyone can and is allowed to drink as much as he/she physically’s able to. A glass of wine for lunch on a Tuesday? Why not! The weekend’s barely over…

Everyone is addicted

As an insider, things didn’t seem as bad as they were. It only struck me, by putting myself out of the regular binge-drinking game, that alcohol has become a regular part of all of our Western society lives and that we’re drinking quite a bunch of it without really being conscious about it.

In fact, I’ve noticed myself that we’re kings in stimulating (/forcing) each other into drinking alcohol. How bizarre.

During my 100 days without alcohol, I realized that almost every youngster of my generation is addicted to alcohol. Yeah, I said it. And, frankly, not only my fellow Millenials. But I’m not here to judge or point fingers. Everyone is free to do what he or she wants.

I can hear you think: “I’m not addicted. I can easily cope without alcohol.” Fair enough, I challenge you to do it for a hundred day straight ;-) And if you do, make sure you let me know!

Most of the remarks (above) of others were easy to counter and I still had my closest friends who supported me heavily. To be honest, I had some hard days and it were them that dragged me through those hard times. Thanks guys!

Apart from those little moments, I didn’t really struggle to keep going. Yeah, I had to say no to a wonderful glass of wine every time that I went out eating with my girlfriend and every time we went out with friends, I wanted to try the special beers as well, but I managed to (easily) cope with it.

I was slowly de-linking ‘going out’ from ‘being drunk’ as well! A big step: never in my life had I gone clubbing before without binge-drinking myself into the nearest gutter. At that point, I even enjoyed going home ‘early’ and being at my best the following morning while my chaps were sick and hung over. By the way, no good things happen after 3AM anyways.

No hangovers! So now what?

These last 100 and so days were just about the best of my life. Not only did I feel better physically, I felt stronger than ever mentally as well. I used to forget things quite easily. Something that didn’t happen in those 100 days again.

Besides, I suddenly had 25% more time in my week schedules to do all sorts of good stuff. For me, the biggest win of the entire ‘challenge’, not to mention the money I saved by not binge drinking for 14 weekends straight.

In 4 months I saved more than 1000 dollars by not drinking alcohol anymore.

Pics or it didn’t happen

And then there’s the physical change when one does not drink for 100 days straight.

I’m a night owl and I really hate getting out of the bed super early. Although, until I stopped drinking. Now I’m binge-free I don’t have to battle with the snooze button anymore every morning and I’m starting the day with a much better feeling than I used to. Don’t get me wrong: I did not become an early bird, but at least I’m not hating the early mornings anymore!

So it was quite normal that I could go to the gym more often. Again, don’t get me wrong: I didn’t turn into a fitness freak.

The same goes for food: because I didn’t drink alcohol anymore, I gradually paid more attention to what I was eating and drinking, which again gave me more motivation to push on with my #100dayswithoutalcohol.

It was kinda like a vicious cycle or let’s call it a great prep for a good looking summer body. Too bad, the summer's over ;-)

Before I go on, let me put this straight: I’m not a fan of people who upload pictures of themselves, especially when they do so with shirtless upper bodies. That’s why I’ve doubted to upload a picture. I’ve doubted for 99 days straight (I made a before pic as a reminder for myself). But a picture is worth a thousand words and I think that it only makes the story more profound by showing how (only) 100 days without alcohol have had an impact on my body.

I’ve lost 22 pounds in total. I’m not saying that it’s only by not drinking alcohol but I know from experience that I never lost this much weight in such a short amount of time, especially seen the minimum physical (sport) efforts I did. So I strongly believe that what happened with my body is the result of not drinking.

Click here to see the original image

I hope that I’ve been able to get to some of you. I don’t want to judge anyone, nor do I want to point fingers. Everybody should do what he or she wants to. But if you feel that you’re moving in the wrong direction, know that you really can change. Friends who don’t support you aren’t true friends and if that party only is as good as it is because of alcohol, than it won’t be such a great party after all. I hope that there will be some of you who try to do this challenge, complete it and share their story with others. If you’re starting with your #100dayswithoutalcohol, please let me know on Twitter with the hashtag or just hit me up: Nick Vinckier

Nick

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