Wait, You Can't Have Alcohol On This 30 Day Challenge?

How to get through the “No Alcohol” part of the challenge. So there is always a rather short and consistent conversation had this time of year:

“I’m doing one of those 30 day cleanse, start the new year right, healthy eating challenge, etc diets right now.”

“What’s it like?”

“Not bad, lots of vegetables and protein, no grains or bread, or milk, and…no alcohol.”

“Woah, no thank you.”

And then the worst part for me, is the person doing the challenge shrinks back in embarrassment, saying something like, “yeah its crazy, but just for 30 days.”

First, full disclosure, I stopped drinking a little over two years ago. December 14, 2012 to be exact. I’m not saying that stopping cold turkey is good for anyone other than me. But is it really so crazy to suggest that you not have alcohol for 30 days? By most peoples reactions, yes and that’s a bummer. Either way, knowing and accepting this going into your challenge is a big help in getting through it without wasting time being defensive or worse, caving.

So with that in mind, the first ten days or so of the challenge will just be a mess trying to stay on track. Figuring out what you can and can’t eat. Just ordering your coffee (can you have coffee?) is a bit stressful and confusing. To be fair, it’s tough to know what a ghee infused whole coconut cream dirty chai latte is listed as at Starbucks. You know alcohol is a clear no-no and your will is strong. Then the gluten and sugar hangovers clear, your brain is on overdrive, your sleep is akin to that of your 12 year old summer, your little tired frame cemented in restoration from non stop water gun fights, tag, football, pogs (what was that?!), baseball, whatever was your sandlot activity.

Up at the crack of dawn banging your chest you march into your third week, you are now that person, telling everyone about how this new way of eating works, etc, etc. Then you get into your last 10 days and everything is closed on Martin Luther King Day and your buddy Ted has a four day weekend so the guys are getting together Thursday for drinks, and you can come right? Or Rachel is having a potluck and you can bring over a sweet new Paleo dish to inspire people for the new year, but it’s also a crowd you only kind of know and really bank on those two glasses of wine to make the conversations work with this less than forward group. We all have these situations, and like I said above you can pretty much anticipate peoples reactions based on who you’re around. The ones who you are doing the challenge with, good friends, family will gladly encourage 30 days of you making yourself better. The ones who won’t support you, don’t give them the opportunity to be negative.

Really, don’t mention the challenge, the diet, the not drinking. just do you, say you have an early meeting, kids, whatever. It’s just a few more days left in the challenge and it’s just not worth the effort, trust me. Because most likely you’ll convince yourself its just one or two beers. Which on the surface isn’t a bad thing. But to really get the full benefits of these challenges, you have to give it a full 30 days, and nothing stops you from resetting your system quicker than alcohol. Ok, maybe meth is worse, or PCP, I don’t know, it’s bad. It’s bad for you and you’re trying to do something good for you, so just leave it. There will be other things next week after the challenge. Another game, another going away party, another holiday where you can drink. Just not for these 30 days.

Remember what and who you are doing this for in those last few days, I know for many this may seem silly as you have no problem taking a break from imbibing. But after quitting drinking I’ve not had a single friend at one point not mention to me they wish they drank less.  Except for Tony, Tony don’t care. So for my friends and extended family in Pete’s Paleo land, you can do it. The benefits far out weigh any short term loss. It really is just 30 days, but that really does make a huge change in your perspective on food and everything else that goes into your body.

After January the blogs will be reruns of Family Circus cartoons for February to even out the heavy handedness of January.

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