Although this piece is not strictly triathlon/cycling related I feel that it’s a subject that is pretty close to everyone’s hearts right now. It was in fact a bike ride this morning with a friend that inspired the subject matter of this blog.
Its ‘Dry January’ and like so many folk out there I over indulged during December and am trying to re-balance things with a alcohol free month to start out the year. It seemed like perfect timing as the recommended units of consumption were reduced by the government this month too! To be honest we were both in agreement during the ride that its not all that difficult to do yet are both feeling much better for it and have already shed the December ballast with out much effort. After all its not just the extra calories from the alcohol that you’re avoiding its also the rubbish consumed while under the influence when your will power wilts. No late night kebabs, Haribo, crisps, McDonalds…. You get the general idea, rubbish. Food you would not eat normally. Meaning that the cumulative calorie deficit when not drinking for the month is substantial. Then finally taking the time spent drinking and possibly feeling hung over we channel it towards more productive exploits such as exercise or even simply resting. So hey presto you have dropped the weight are feeling better and #Jantox has been a success!!
So, what next? February starts and the detox is over, do you go back to same old or perhaps try taking some lessons away from the previous month. The conclusion that we came too was if you are like us and suffer from a lack of self-restraint after a few drinks then the key is to find your ‘tipping pint’. The point in the evening or more likely that beverage that you drink that puts you over the will power edge. We have all experienced this, you have one more when you really shouldn’t, then its down hill. Your will power fades and one more becomes several more. After a few more drinks it’s later, so why not grab a bit of grub to soak up the alcohol on the way home. That bit of grub inevitably turns out to be unhealthy gratifying food. So in effect that “one more” has led to several more drinks and an unhealthy meal. Most likely that last drink has had the cumulative knock on effect of upping that days calorie intake by an extra 1500 calories give or take. All of a sudden your body has to cope with another 50% of your daily calorific intake dumped into it just before you go to sleep, not a good time to be breaking down food and drink.
All of this I am sure deep down you are aware of, however sometimes we need it spelled out to us before we even think about doing something about it.
Your ‘tipping pint’… The drink which causes your will to wilt. Everyone is going to be different and you will need to work this out for yourself. For me a 67kg, 177cm highly active person (who has always been a bit of a lightweight) it does not take too much to reach this point!! I know that it is the third pint that tips me. If I have two pints of standard beer (5%ish) I am fully in control of my will power. However the third pint will tip me. I am not drunk, just much more open to suggestion and carry on for a few more drinks. My will power has faded into the background. Added to that, after two pints I can wake up fresh as a daisy the next day, however that third pint really makes itself known the next morning. Which then can have a further effect on productivity and motivation. That run that I was going to do before breakfast, no chance! Snooze button is hit.
What can we do?
I am not saying never have more than your tipping point. A good night out with friends is exactly that. If that is your plan then so be it, you will deal with the consequences the next day and a good time will have been had. What I say you should take away from dry January is awareness of you, your will power and your all important tipping pint:
- Work out what number drink/units consumed etc. it is that causes you to lose your will power.
- Be mindful when you go out and pace yourself accordingly.
- Know full well what are the potential consequences of that extra drink.
- Think calories; its not just that drink but the knock on effect.
- Do you really need that last drink or can you just switch to a soft drink.
- Have a plan before you start drinking, it’s much easier to stick to a plan if you make one.
Come February I will inevitably go back to the bar, there will be the odd celebratory night, even a rare spur of the moment night out. However I will approach ‘a few drinks’ with more restraint and all importantly be fully aware of my Tipping Pint.
This blog is brought to you by BikeBoxBuddy Want to rent your bike box out to friends, family & others, then register here with us and send your own unique web page link to your contacts on Facebook etc. Looking for a box? Use the site to search for box’s for hire in your area!