Alcohol, is it the final stumbling block?


#1

Hey, it’s been a while since I posted in these parts. You can see my previous story here: https://www.ketogenicforums.com/t/tips-for-getting-past-a-plateau/90968/20?u=mtullius

Since I’ve been not checking in on this forum, essentially the whole pandemic, I took up Ketogains bootcamp for most of 2020, and got into some of the best shape of my life. As part of that I developed a weight lifting habit, and over the last two years (thanks esp. to having aquired quite a bit of dumbbells and barbell stuff right before the 2020 lockdowns) have put on a TON of lean muscle mass.

over that time I have been pretty much generic low-carb. I figured I had cut down a lot. I read about bulking and building muscle. I have gone from a low of 209 to 230, and I’d suppose that more than half of that is muscle mass. My clothes still fit the same, but there’s some stubborn body fat that never went away.

I still haven’t cut and trimmed down proportionate to my overwhelmingly clean diet and vigorous exercise routine the way I wanted it do go, despite verbal acknowledgement from many people that I “look so much better”.

THE ONE THING I NEVER GAVE UP OVER THE YEARS OF GETTING HEALTHY IS … DRUM ROLL… ALCOHOL.

I’ll be honest, I can plow down 2-3 bottles of wine over a weekend, maybe have a shot or several depending, and if i’m stressed have “just a couple of glasses” of red wine on a weeknight. If I go to a ball game or a camping trip I would have beer. I have been doing this for years, all the way through a massive transformation in my body. (note: I have 3 kids and a full time job and am a responsible adult, I have never gotten in trouble for drinking)

After listening to a lot of the podcasts at Mind Pump where they discuss alcohol and training, and looking at many astonishing before and after pictures and stories from people who gave it up entirely (check this out 380 Straight Days of Exercise and No Alcohol | 12 Lessons Learned | by Rich Tucker | Medium

and this 30 Days No Alcohol Experiment (bengreenfieldfitness.com)

I am convinced that giving up my boozy ways is the key to the most epic workout cut of all time.
Protocol: steak, burgers, chicken, green veg as desired, no alcohol. Full body workout 3x per week with some cardio on off days. NO BOOZE FOR 4 months.

Has anyone else had the transformation they always wanted giving up drinking? It’s hard but I feel it might be the final frontier and evolution of my keto-carni-low carb lifestyle. I’d like to hear from you if giving up drinking did something major for your body and if you think I might be right. I have spent the last 17 years drinking whenever, and I think 4 months should be enough time to “see what happens” when I refrain and keep up my routine!

Peace and love to all those fighting for their goals!


#2

Ps. I’m 6 days no alcohol already and I’m happy to report back on the progress of this experiment to anyone who might be interested.


(Robin) #3

Congrats on your 6 days. I am not into building muscle or extreme workouts, but I can certainly relate to anyone who has given up alcohol. I was able to (HAD to, to be honest) give up booze a few years before finding keto. So I can’t speak to how it will affect you now. but I can only guess this WILL be a big boost for you, in every way… metabolically, mentally, etc.

There are folks on here who, like you, decided to ditch the alcohol after they were already keto…. You’ll hear from them. In the meantime, WAY TO GO! You got this!


(Greg Hollingsworth) #4

Alcohol definitely made it harder for me. Could be a special case though, since I’m a T2.


(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #5

Ethanol certainly can be a problem. It is a problem for many and for most of those folks total abstinence is probably the best way to deal with it. Then again, chocolate is the final stumbling block for some but it hasn’t gotten the bad press. Keep us updated on your effort.


(Take time to smell the bacon) #6

The problem is not the chocolate per se, but rather the sugar that comes along with it. I have come to enjoy unsweetened chocolate and have no problem from it.


(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #7

:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: OK, for you and a few others, chocolate means:

For the other 99 and 44/100ths chocolate means:


#8

Has anyone else had the transformation they always wanted giving up drinking?

Yes. Mind, body and spirit.

I look better, sleep better, feel better, and- most importantly- finally had the determination, headspace and self-belief to tackle my ongoing mental health problems and lifelong disordered eating. Above all, I feel proud of myself and today I have a deep, quiet sense of self-worth and personal accomplishment that no-one can take away from me. Four years on, I still wake up often and feel suddenly, tearfully grateful to be sober.

My situation was similar to yours, from the outside - heavy drinking sessions once or twice a week at most, totally normal among my peer group; basically socially acceptable behaviour; no legal or work issues (I secretly crossed the line many times but was lucky with the consequences). However I had miserable hangovers and depressions that would endure for days, and a growing sense over a couple decades that drinking was deeply undermining my ability to live my best life. Coupled with spectacular failures to stick to a dry night, dry month, dry year, etc. For me, over time, abstinence proved to be easier.

Even if your story looks different to mine, we have something in common: your intuition tells you this is a path you should explore. So it’s awesome that you’re giving it a try. That feeling inside - “What is my true and sober potential?” - will never go away, in my experience… it will just get stronger. What have you got to lose by answering the call?

Good luck and keep us updated. Look forward to hearing if and how this helps you achieve your wellbeing goals!


(Butter Withaspoon) #9

Woohoo yes!! Congratulations on managing it this far. Keep the updates coming to inspire others, because it’s not easy to do. I gave up alcohol when I was young because I didn’t like the cloud of depression I got the next day.


#10

When I started my low carb journey my initial experience was the Anabolic Diet by Mauro DePascale. If you don’t know, this is a classic carb cycling plan. On a Saturday I routinely drunk a lot of beers. This worked for a while as I was out of shape but inevitably you peak and it becomes an issue.

Fast forward many years, now I do much better going through longer spells of abstinence. That could be weeks or months. My go to tipple has also changed to dry sparkling wine, as in prosecco (not great for the macho man image I’d like to have but tastes great and is more low carb friendly).

The last time I was in what I term ‘beach shape’ was last summer and that came about through abstinence. Could I have done it with a bottle of prosecco a week? Personally, I expect not as, like many other people, it lowers inhibitions and triggers a cascade of non compliance.


#11

The others encouraged me with their offtopic comments :smiley: Well, there is some relation, addiction…

It raised my fat intake so it was a problem for me… :slight_smile: I even had a seriously overeating keto day due to chocolate once… And it took me years to able to eat chocolate with extremely little or no sweetener… (As for sugary chocolate, I obviously stopped that when I went low-carb. Mine was a good enough replacement for us except my old fav, milk chocolate. I never could do anything even remotely similar…)

The booze problem is so foreign to me. Alcohol is a toxin, it’s well-known and anyway, I never could drink much when I tried :smiley: (My body can handle a little and I cling to that.) At least this one wasn’t among my numerous problems, I had some long fight with carbs and it’s not completely over yet. But close.
Oh and I never was rich enough to drink a lot especially now, no idea how other poor people do it, their mind must work very differently from mine :smiley: Or their addictions are stronger but I think my attitude is very important here.

So I merely can extrapolate from my addictions and compulsions. And I know someone with alcohol and other addiction problems. It must be quite hard but it’s worth it! I am HUGE on health (and other things booze may interfere with) and I am right, it’s way more important than most people seem to think. And we can change a lot, building new habits! Good luck!

(My fight is with coffee. It seems near impossible to give it up, I can do it with food items at least for a while - except eggs - but not coffee. It’s not hard not to drink it most of the time but it has its little siren song that gets me in my weaker moments and it’s such a harmless little thing… And I am not content with limiting it even though I see it’s huge compared to my old habits :frowning: And it’s just coffee! I don’t need it. It doesn’t really affect me. People give up smoke and alcohol and I can’t just stop drinking coffee for 2 days… Well, it being harmless doesn’t help.)


(UsedToBeT2D) #12

I too used to drink a lot. I’ve finally figured out that there is no upside. Same with sugar. One drink, or one cinnamon roll, and I won’t stop. Abstinence is best.


#13

My eating plan got me off alcohol. I couldn’t handle it, my body really treated it as a poison. So basically, my carnivore eating plan made me stop drinking :slight_smile:

A healthy body truly doesn’t want alcohol, our brains want it. I tried to keep in some but in the end, feeling not a ‘good buzz’ but a icky nasty body feeling is what just made me finally said the hell with it. BUT I STILL try every now and then to have a drink :wink: during vacation or whatever and darn if I always come to the same conclusion. I am not a moderator at all either cause I would drink for that great buzz but in the end, 1 or 2 drinks and I feel icky just took all the fun out of it so in the end I avoid now…except for rare occasions I keep trying a drink on vacation and such and still can’t handle it LOL

When I quit it I did feel more energized and better. Not a doubt on that. Being older now I also just started to walk away from my fun younger days drinking too so…age and a healthier body that directs me and I listen, took it away from me basically, which is fine :sunny:


(Sandy Toomer) #14

I gave up alcohol a while back after watching the Val Kilmer documentary (Prime Video) and another video by a medical student showing a cadaver head cross-sectioned and other parts of head & neck that showed clearly the damage to oral tissue from alcohol use ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6q1RH8A3O3c )

When you consume ethanol your body metabolizes it into actaldehyde, which is a Class I carcinogen. ( https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/acetaldehyde )

Food for thought.


(Marianne) #15

This is me in a nutshell. My drinking was not a problem until after I retired and it became something to look forward to every night. I am happiest when I am sipping a drink and out socially with my friends. I used to have no trouble confining my drinking to once or twice a month when I’d get together with my girlfriends and wouldn’t even think of drinking when I was home - not because I was trying to control it, but because I just had no desire to have a drink other than when I went out. Now it’s an issue that I am having trouble “controlling.” I have virtually no hobbies and it brings added contentment and color to every day. I don’t get sloshed and I’m not hungover the next day or really suffer any detrimental effects, however, I worry most about the added calories because I am trying to drop my remaining ten lbs., and I don’t like the fact that my consumption/frequency has become so hard to control. I know abstinence is the only solution, however, I’m not quite there yet. Yesterday I was dry, and I hope I will be again today. One day at a time.

Wise words. Amazing how we can automatically sense someone who has walked the same path, whether it’s food, alcohol or drugs.


(Marianne) #16

God bless - to you, too!


(Marianne) #17

Yesterday whenever I felt the urge, I kept repeating, “one drink is too many and a thousand are never enough.” Kept me from getting into it yesterday.


(Robin) #18

@gingersmommy, Marianne, a very weird thing happened during my weeks of packing. I am pretty obsessive about getting everything done… purged, organized, tossed, packed, etc. So I was going non-stop. Especially mentally and emotionally…

And that was the trigger for a long forgotten craving. I really wanted a cigarette. I would just feel that rush of “Hang on for a minute while I go take a smoke break and get my ■■■■ together.”

It was weird to sit in that moment and acknowledge the “wanting” and just being uncomfortable in not scratching that itch. It’s been such a long time.

But the really terrific news is I did not want to eat to relieve the stress. And I can handle my older demons (booze and cigarettes) after all this time. Although I was shocked to see one raise it’s ugly head.


(Laurie) #19

I used to be a heavy smoker. Some years ago I read a very interesting book about cigarette smoking. Apparently cigs do something to our brain that makes it easier to work non-stop and do repetitive tasks. For this reason, factory workers tend to be smokers (or did when the book was written).

Thank goodness I never got into alcohol. One hangover was enough to turn me off that.


(Robin) #20

Yes, you’re lucky, they are a fabulous, terrible duo.