Friday 31 October 2014

100 fit days challenge: can you still drink alcohol?

Ffter two weeks of the 100 fit days challenge, Yvonne Hogan is already noticing some positive changes and the inches slowly coming off.

Yvonne Hogan

Published 18/08/2014 | 00:00

"Potent" antioxidant Resveratrol has been found to have wound-healing activities.
Yvonne Hogan, left, and Siobhan Byrne. Photo: El Keegan

With Week Two now under your belt, you should be feeling pretty good. Your eyes and skin should look clearer and you should be starting to notice that some of your clothes are ever so slightly loose. I took my measurements on Wednesday morning and lost an inch from my shoulders, half-an-inch from my waist and hips, I gained an inch on my triceps and half an inch on my thighs and my weight went from 76kg to 75.8kg.

I love the measurements as they keep me on track but it is really important not to get hung up on them. We will not be doing the measurements again for another three weeks because weekly measurements don't really tell you anything useful.

Your weight can go up and down for a variety of reasons - you can hold extra water because it's your time of the month, because you had your cheat meal, because you ate something that you may have a slight intolerance to and so on.

If you are sticking to the food rules and doing the exercises, you will change shape. You will get leaner and stronger and fitter.

The most important thing though is how do you feel? Do you feel lighter because you have stopped eating processed foods?

Are you happier? Do you feel invigorated by the exercises - I probably should have mentioned in Week One that you will be sore, very sore after them for a while but that's a great thing, it means you are doing them right!

By the way, if you have any questions on that score, we have filmed Siobhan doing each exercise and the videos will be available on fitmagazine.ie later this week. Sign up for the daily emails for the alert.

One of the most common questions that I have been asked about 100 FIT days is can you drink alcohol and still follow the plan. The answer is yes, of course. You can have it as your cheat. Lots of people are really fit and enjoy a couple of drinks.

Personally, I don't bother with it anymore. I gave it up in January 2010 to lose weight and I haven't looked back. I truly believe that it was drink that made me fat and unfit and unhappy. I was stuck in the cycle of doing nothing during the week but working and drinking too much wine at the weekends. This would lead to self loathing and sugar cravings - chips, burgers, crisps, biscuits, pizza - you get the picture.

Monday would come round all too quickly and the whole cycle would start again. I was eating crap and I felt like crap and I had no time to think.

So I decided to stop drinking for the month of January to lose some weight. I didn't lose any weight until I went to Damien Maher and was educated about nutrition and exercise, but I had given myself headspace and time to think.

It brought me to a place where I was able to make a commitment to getting fit and happy and taking control of my life. Because that is what fitness is - taking responsibility for and control of your health, your body and your life.

A lot of Irish people fear giving up drinking because they think it will be the death of their social life. They worry that they will lose friends and that no one will want to play with them. I can tell you, that this was not the case. You might lose a few drinking buddies, but you will soon make new friends because you will develop new interests.

For me, giving up drinking was really easy because it was part of a decision to overhaul everything about my life. Within two weeks I realised that I didn't miss it one bit.

All it had added to my life was pounds of fat and lots and lots of unnecessary angst - I am one of those people whose hangover comes in the form of anxiety and self-hatred. Even two drinks made me feel like I had murdered someone.

I just loved not having a hangover at the weekends. It made that time off work so lovely and long. For those around me, it was a bit more difficult. My husband, for example, missed sharing a bottle of wine over dinner, or going out for a few drinks at the weekend.

But as time went on, it just became normal. Being a non-drinker became part of my identity. Well, I am not technically a non-drinker - I like to have a gin and tonic once every three months, or a glass of Prosecco at a wedding, but I will never drink more than two drinks at a sitting again.

I associate alcohol with an unhappier me and I never want to feel that way again. I much prefer to feel fit and energetic and happy. If you recognise any of the above in yourself, my advice would be to ditch the drink for the rest of the 100 days. At the very least, you will gain a bit of perspective. It will be easier to stay motivated if you just knock it on the head.

100 FIT days is an opportunity to make new habits, effect lasting, positive changes in your life, so give yourself every chance at success.

As always, we welcome any questions or comments.

I know that it was alcohol that made me fat ... and after giving it up for that initial six months to get fit, I never really went back to drinking.

 

WHAT IS REALISTIC IN THE FIRST WEEK?

WEIGHT and inch loss will vary from person to person. You may loose less weight than someone else and that's fine.

Remember, once you are sticking to the plan it will come off. Often people find they have a more dramatic loss in the first week or two which will eventually slow down. This is perfectly normal due to water loss in the first week.

It is important to not get too hung up on the scales and look to measure and hop on the scales every 3-4 weeks. Hopping on the scales more frequently will only give you inaccurate results due to fluctuation in water retention that may deter you from getting to your goal if you have been following the plan.

Remember, all that body fat did not just go on overnight, so be patient, train hard and stick to those clean, healthy meal plans in the appropriate portion sizes.

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