Alcohol, Health Goals And The Magic of 100 Days

3 June 2021

The majority of people have a health concern. Too much of something, not enough of something else. A bad habit here, the absence of a good habit there.

Here are some classics:

Too much sugar, not enough greens
Too much coffee, not enough water
Too much alcohol, not enough water
Too much chocolate, not enough fruit
Too much sitting, not enough moving

85 days ago I gave up alcohol for 100 days.

I know it’s 85 days, not because I am counting the days, but because I just checked on an app on my phone (which is counting for me!, see below).

That said, I do know that on June the 18th I will have been alcohol free for 100 days.

There is a stigma around alcohol. Lots of people enjoy it, some people depend on it. In my case I enjoyed one beer after work several times a week and I liked beer and a glass of wine at the weekend.

The problem was I didn’t like feeling sluggish the next day.

Each year I do an alcohol free month, but I find it a real mental battle.

It is not so much the need for alcohol, but when you deprive yourself of something, don’t you just want it more?!

Many of the world’s top life and performance coaches talk of forming a new habit over 100 days, or changing or breaking a habit over 100 days.

When you try to do something for 30 days, your mind is on the finish line and the closer you get, the more painful it becomes to resist whatever it is you are holding off from.

So, when I decided I wanted to change my alcohol habit, I started thinking of when 100 days would be. Ask google, what date it is in 100 days and hey presto you have a date.

What I found was that when that date was in my mind, it became an anchor point. The thought of drinking alcohol no longer became an issue.

I told my three daughters what I was doing and having done that, I knew there was no way I could break it without being the worst father in the world.

I will say there have been times when I have “fancied a beer”. But the moment passes. I drink some water or a zero alcohol beer and it is fine.

Mentally I am alert and on the whole I make better food choices (no more half a tube of pringles!)

I think the 100 day habit is a game changer.

If we are honest with ourselves, we know what our negative habits are. We also know what we should be putting in our bodies or doing with our bodies so that we feel better and live better.

The tendency is to go too hard too soon. You hear people, I am giving up alcohol, caffeine and carbs … and I am going to work out twice a day.

This is NEVER going to be sustainable.

Not enough exercise? Try walking three times a week for 100 days. Write it on your calendar when you are going to do it.

Too much caffeine – switch to decaf. If you drink too much coffee, substitute one of your coffees for tea and then once you get used to “normal” tea, try peppermint or lemon and ginger.

Too many carbs? Switch a portion of carbs for a portion of something green. Anything green.

Too much dairy? Switch to coconut or oat milk in your latte. Initially it doesn’t taste the same. BUT, you get used to it.

I remember in my 20s I had two sugars in my tea. I cut down to one, then none.

If you are putting sugar in you tea, switch to a sweetener. Now maybe a sweetener has chemicals, but the empty calories and sugar spike of sugar is something that is better out of your life than in your life. If sweetener helps ween you off, go for it.

At Clinic Nutrition we promote good health – Eat Healthy Stay Active.

But we are real people and I for one like pies. However, once we start to make better choices, from the nutrition we give our bodies to improved activity levels, things get easier.

And as we feel better, the less inclined we are to go back to the way we were.

It can of course be a yo yo. I wonder what I will be like on June 18th. However the 100 days has given me a real sense of confidence and a realisation that most things get easier. Hard at times but persist.

If you are a social drinker, especially if you are very social!, the 100 day no booze is something which will unquestionably leave you feeling better and living better. And if your friends are still drinking, it really doesn’t matter. You not drinking has no bearing on them enjoying their glass of wine.

I still have 15 days to go to my 100 days. No question now that I won’t complete it. If you struggle with any health goal, maybe give it a try, what’s the date in 100 days time? That’s your anchor point.

APP – The app I got is called “I am sober”. It sounds like something from alcoholics anonymous. But each day it reminds you how many days booze free you have gone and gives strength to continue. It is free, there is a paid upgrade but I didn’t bother.