If you’re trying to drink better or be more mindful of your drinking habits, consider resetting your body with an alcohol-free period. Personally, I was able to create a better relationship with alcohol and food by trying out Whole30. I tried it as an experiment—I was feeling sluggish, my skin was acting up, and my sugar cravings were out of control. I was looking for something that would reignite my energy. While I wanted Whole30 to fix these immediate issues, I didn’t realize that it would actually teach me about mindful drinking and healthy eating in the long term.
What Is Whole30?
You’ve probably heard of it, or at least seen photos on your Instagram feed. Whole30 is a 30-day nutrition reset that removes certain food groups which can have a negative impact on your health. While the program can benefit people who have food sensitivities, it can also be a helpful choice when it comes to alcohol tolerance.
Did It Help Me?
I tried a version of Whole30 in January during a period of goal-setting and resolutions. However, I’ll be honest—I didn’t make it to the end. It turns out I have a slight obsession with cheese. However, I continued to cut down on my sugar intake and alcohol consumption.
What I learned is that you don’t have to remove something completely from your life to see a change. The program taught me to listen to my body instead. Before my Whole30 journey, I knew that my emotions triggered what food and drinks I consumed. I thought alcohol would relax me and food would get rid of my stress, but it actually left me with a stomach ache by bedtime.
By the second week of Whole30, I was eating and drinking better. While I wasn’t able to tell if my alcohol tolerance actually changed, my mindset towards alcohol did. Usually, a glass of wine was my go-to on a Friday night; now, it’s a special occasion.
My association with alcohol and relaxation is different now because I’ve found substitutions that helped me during Whole30. When I wanted wine, I chose a smoothie. When I craved Oreos, I ate fruit instead. By having healthier substitutions at the ready in my fridge, I had options to distract me from what I thought I wanted. At the end of the day, drinking better or eating healthier is a mind game.
Brace for Re-Entry
If you finish the 30 days, it’s okay to celebrate your accomplishment. It’s no easy feat. When you’re ready to reintroduce alcohol, understand that less is more. Your tolerance has probably recalibrated, and you’ll need to take it slower than you did pre-Whole30. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to drink better in the first place. Find the beauty in the balance.
Even if you’re not looking to start the Whole30 challenge, you can reset your alcohol tolerance by simply backing off from your regular peak consumption. As a guide, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends staying within one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. The most important thing, though, is to listen to your body—it’s the only one you have.
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Have you embarked on a health-focused journey? What was your experience with alcohol afterward? Let us know!
About the author
Briana Galbraith is a freelance copywriter and social media specialist. She also volunteers for TeamWomenMN, an organization that encourages and supports women in leadership development. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and yoga. You can follow her travels on Instagram here.