Less Alcohol, Healthier Mindset for 2023

I've been enjoying my alcohol drinks a bit too much during the past several years.

This has not gotten to a point where I've developed a problem. But it's just been too much, which has led to a number of health-related effects: weight gain, less-stable blood sugars, and probably just a stresser on my kidneys overall.

Now granted, with the weight, alcohol alone hasn't been the issue. I've also enjoyed snacking. Working from home for so long has allowed this to happen in the middle of the day while working, as well as in the later evening hours when just relaxing and watching TV or hanging out at home.

However, my reality for a good amount of time has been to have multiple drinks per night — whether it's a beer, craft brew, or bourbon and Diet Coke.

As the saying goes, moderation is key. And I haven't been moderating to the best of my ability.

After experiencing a severe stomach flu in mid-January and being dry for a 2-week period, I'd lost the interest in drinking alcohol or anything carbonated in the immediate aftermath of that illness.

And it stuck.

While I haven't 100% given up alcohol, I have significantly stepped back from drinking since the 2nd week of January 2023.

This certainly wasn't a New Year's goal or a Dry January push, but it just happened to work out that way due to my illness and overall desire to lose weight, as well as be healthier now that I'm in my mid-40s.

Since early January, I've only had 6 drinks to date:

  • 1 glass of red wine at Les Miserables show
  • 1 Manhattan cocktail after a nicer dinner with wife
  • 1 glass of red wine at a wine bar with my wife
  • a bottle of Michelob Ultra during guys' night
  • an Old Fashioned cocktail with friends
  • a tall 23-ounce Michelob Ultra over hot wings dinner
Now, I will have more drinks as time goes on. For St. Paddy's Day, I'm planning to have some non-alcohol Guinness.

One issue I've found with NA beers is that here in the States, they can still contain up to 5% alcohol even when they're dubbed "non-alcoholic." And sadly, they often make up the less alcohol with higher sugar and carb counts... which isn't great for someone with diabetes who must mind their carb counts and dose for anything.

So while I might avoid the alcohol in a NA version of Heiniken, it's twice as much of a carb count than a regular bottle with the lower 4.2% alcohol count.

For me, as someone who isn't vowing to be completely dry, a bit of alcohol every so often is a better option than making up for all of those extra carbs with more insulin.

On top of the alcohol reduction, I'm also working hard to eat healthier foods, add more seafood to my weekly diet (in order to boost my eye health as much as possible), and I'm trying to not snack as often. Even just munching on low-carb carrots or veggies or mixed nuts is a better, healthier option.

Is it working so far?

Yes, it is. Overall, I feel healthier and better — if even just a mindset.

I have noticed that my insulin resistance seems to be lower than it was before, and insulin seems to drop me much more dramatically than it has during the past years. I use Tandem's Control IQ for automated insulin dosing, and that technology does a remarkable job keeping my blood sugars in range and correcting when necessary. But without the extra alcohol in my system, I do feel the insulin's working and dropping me more.

That can be problematic overnight, and I'm needing to adjust my basal rates and correction factors before too long in order to compensate.

Also very noticeable, is my weight loss. My pants do seem to feel much bigger around the weight, and I've noticed that my belt is getting tighter lately.

A recent weight measurement confirms this. It showed that I'd lost about 6 pounds since my first weight measurement closer to the start of the year.

So, that's exciting to see that starting so soon, after only about 6 weeks or so.

I hope to continue this throughout the year, as much as possible. Here's to being healthier!

UPDATE:

My "less alcohol" push lasted through July 4th holiday weekend, helping me lose several pounds by that time. While I returned to enjoying alcohol more frequently, it hadn't gotten back to the point of multiple drinks per night. So that's a continued win.

Comments

Rick Phillips said…
Congratulations Mike. As a guy who has lost a bunch, I knwo it is not easy. Hang in there buddy it is well worth the effort.
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