Alcohol and Midlife

posted in: HEALTH | 10

Many midlife people use January as a time to begin New Year’s resolutions. One of these resolutions is to make January a ‘DRY’ month. Recently I read an interesting article on alcohol in New Scientist Magazine (4th January 2014) where a small group of staff were guinea pigs, working with the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London.

Some of the group abstained from alcohol for five weeks, others continued to drink at their usual levels. All of the group had ultrasound scans to measure their liver fat, gave blood samples and alcoholanswered questionnaires about their lifestyles. The tests were repeated five weeks later.

Alcohol and Changes

Those in the group that didn’t give up alcohol had no result changes while those that abstained had a significant liver fat reduction. Also, and just as important, blood glucose levels dropped significantly and so too did cholesterol levels. Sleep patterns improved, people were more alert, had more concentration and a better work performance. The only downside was that most people on the trial felt their social contact level went down.
All this is very positive and yet it is not so easy to achieve without the right mindset and help. Here are a few Sensibly Selfish midlife tips if you wish to abstain without failing at the first hurdle.

1. Get Help

Going it alone can make everything just that harder.

  • Make sure you have spoken to your doctor about this first. Make sure you are well enough to abstain from alcohol. If you want to see if there is a change in your statistics ask for a blood test/scan.
  • If alcohol plays a large role in your life you may be recommended to contact an AA group near you for support in overcoming an addiction.
  • Enrol your family and friends. If they don’t want to join in they can, at least, support you by keeping you on track. Make sure you tell them well in advance.
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2. Timing

January may not be the best month to do this. Most people give in within the first week of January. Instead…

  • Look through your calendar and choose a month that is quieter than others.
  • Look for significant dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and avoid these if possible.
  • Prepare your calendar – make sure you highlight those 30 days and do not book in anything that will compromise your resolution to abstain for one month.
3. Preparation

Success is all about preparation

  • Clear out those cupboards, check the fridge and remove all possible temptation well in advance.
  • What will you replace your alcohol with? Changing for fizzy drinks full of sugar will not help your blood sugar levels! Make a plan now, set up a tasting session and have all your favourites in your cupboard before you begin. I love water flavoured with fruit.
  • Daily set aside ten minutes in the morning to sit and relax. Focus on what you want to achieve for the day. How you will go about it. How you will reward yourself for not giving in to temptation.
  • Daily set aside ten minutes in the evening to sit and relax and be proud of what you have achieved today. Look inside and visualise your liver getting healthier, your cholesterol and sugar levels reducing.
  • Be prepared for negativity. You will find it comes from those around you as well as from yourself. Do not beat yourself up! You are only human after all. Remember negativity from others is usually a reaction to their own thoughts and nothing to do with you. If you find yourself caving into a drink, get back on track immediately, keeping going is the key.

Let me know how you get on. What are your best tips to help others? What did you find easy, what did you find hard? Most importantly what were your results!!

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10 Responses

  1. Carrie

    What an interesting study! It makes a lot of sense and yet giving up that glass of wine is really hard to do. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that having that glass is a way to reward myself at the end of a long day. I’m curious about this though and may try it. I’ll have to find a different reward system. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

  2. Lyndah Malloy-Glover (@nbalance2)

    Excellent strategies Kay for addressing separation from habitual behaviors across the board at any age. All the best!~

  3. Debra

    Great strategies! Coaching can help shed light into situations. Balance of priorities seems to be an ongoing challenge for many. My advice is to inject something your passionate about into every day.

    • Kay Newton

      Thank you for your comment Debra, I love the idea of injecting something you are passionate about. Daily laughter helps burden the load too!

  4. Jan Edwards

    An interest post, Kay. The benefits of an alcohol-break such as that reported in The New Scientist would be a great motivator for anyone in midlife, I think. As you say, it’s not always easy to wean oneself – even temporarily – off something that’s become such an ingrained part of social life. Your strategies look very helpful, as usual.

    • Kay Newton

      Thanks Jan,
      We all have strategies to cope with challenges. Let me know if there is anything we can add to the list!

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