This was the first holiday season I found myself without alcohol. Managing family holidays with out vodka soda is something I would NEVER normally recommend. Your sanity is essential after all & most of our families keep the fun in disFUNctional.
Here's how I found myself sober through the season and the awesome result come January 1st 2016!
This year, on a mid-December trip to LA, I got the annual sinus infection. Lots of exercise, little sleep, colder weather combined with Halloween > Bermuda > overindulging at Thanksgiving and I wasn't exactly shocked my immune system gave me the bird.
It started with a headache and by end of week had turned into a punishing ear infection.
Now, ice pick to-the-ear pain is usually something I hop on antibiotics for --- but I've been doing the whole probiotics, bone broth, L-Glutamine thing to build back my good gut bacteria. And antibiotics would negate much, if not ALL of my progress.
Like most, I have leaky gut- a dangerous separation of the intestinal wall cells. This single cell barrier on the intestinal wall is what helps absorb nutrients through the gut lining and keeps toxins and food particles from seeping into the rest of our system. Inflammatory immune system reactions and food allergies pop up when food particles & toxins seep through this barrier. My favorite foods could possibly make me sick moving forward - not ok. Gotta seal that gap.
I was scared & grossed out enough to lower my toxins and commit to resealing the bonds between these gut lining cells. The immune system related illnesses like Rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid problems are becoming unfortunately common in modern day culture & my joints have gotten really achy as I push my body to the limit with my high inflammation lifestyle.
When I say "committed," I don't mean I was ready to give up alcohol or even sugar for that matter. Two huge inflammation offenders I rely on as lifestyle coping mechanisms. I was starting with the good probiotics in and decided to worry about getting the bad food out later. I know I know, both are necessary...
But this damn ear infection and my refusal to go on antibiotics made for a hard new reality. Processed foods, sugar, and alcohol had to beat it during the most sugar filled, drunk part of the year. To get my immune system strong enough to kick this bugger, I had to hydrate and sleep a whole lot more while ditching the weakening toxins. Waaaaa!?
My alcohol-fueled holiday cheer marathon was getting majorly f'd with. Could I do it?
If I wasn't being reminded hourly by a friendly stab to the side of the head, there's not a chance I would have made it. Spiked egg nog & hot toddies are too delicious. Without pain pounding me into submission, I likely wouldn't have stayed strong. I also married into a particularly fun family who know what to do with a dance floor & our friend group of stylish, event planning, marketing mavens make for a non stop party.
I was in big trouble.
However, holiday party 7 came and went & outside of a faked shot of vodka at a fun fam white elephant, I managed to go without alcohol hitting my lips.
Then New Year's in Tahoe approached and thanks to the cold, dry 10 degree weather and the occassional ear stabs, being further dehydrated and dry did not appeal. I managed to stay sober even on the costumed dance floor. I was starting to feel invincible. Maybe I could release my attachment to a favorite coping mechanism after all. Even if I didn't really have a choice, and shouldn't be overly patting my own back, this was real progress! What a fun realization and a confidence boost of the possibilities!
Here's what I noticed come Jan 1st, 13 days after kicking booze:
*My skin is clearer, tighter, and I'm way less bloated / puffy. I'm sure the sleep & extra hydration along with ditching alcohols dehydrating side effects were a power combo.
* I'm noticeably leaner. Starting the year with lean, toned thighs is not a resolution I set, but I'm bikini season ready mid winter!! This.Is.Incredible. I'm grabbing by bun / thigh crease in magical wonder. My credit card may be maxed out, but my body is not!
*I can see my abs- that helpful little cushioning layer is vacationing allowing for a flat tummy.
*I think clearer and have less fatigue. My mood is more even. Depression and brain fog are gone and I can handle stress with more grace. I'm not depleted and fumbling around for a sugar fix wondering which obscure amino acid or enzyme my body really needs. I don't feel crazy!
*I'm calmer and can focus better. With more rest and less stimulating sugar and alcohol pumped through my holiday month, I hit January with more dopamine receptors! This allows smaller tasks to be able to release the same brain chemical blitz of motivating goodness that usually requires more stimulation to achieve.
*I'm motivated to keep it clean, green, & hydrated. Momentum is real and starting the New Year not feeling bloated & behind is just wonderful. This may be game changing enough to make Dec 15th my last drinking day of the year moving forward. I KNOW, CRAZY! I can't say enough good things about how different & empowering this year's start feels.
WHAT A CHANGE FROM LAST YEAR'S BLOG POST!
i highly recommend taking 14 days of little sugar and no alcohol to reset your mind, mood, and waistline. Add in more sleep, more Lemon water, and 3/week sweat sessions in the sauna or spin bike for a heavy dose of feel good.
YOU DESERVE TO FEEL GOOD!
**GETHSH is a wellness blog dedicated to researching the variables in the formula for happiness & health. All suggestions should be reviewed with your licensed practitioner and taken on your own free will.