THE BLOG
25/01/2016 05:27 GMT | Updated 22/01/2017 05:12 GMT

What I Noticed When I Stopped Drinking for a Year

During January I turned up the dial on healthy - I didn't so much focus on not drinking but rather on making my life so jam packed full of healthy and nutritious things that there simply wouldn't be room for the rest.

Over recent years Mr D and I had got into the habit of sandwiching an excessive and boozy festive season with two slices of exceptionally clean living in November and January. Once I got into the groove I always enjoyed it, especially in January, and I was always almost a little sad to return to business as usual in February. Last year I decided to do an experiment and keep going just to see what happened. During January I turned up the dial on healthy - I didn't so much focus on not drinking but rather on making my life so jam packed full of healthy and nutritious things that there simply wouldn't be room for the rest. I already had a pretty good diet, but I took the opportunity to make it better and and I drank more water, I allowed myself time to exercise more regularly, I booked massages and facials. What's not to love there?

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This is what I got up to last year in addition to the day job and some homemaking, child rearing basics:

I began blogging and was published on the Huffington Post

I spoke to a group of awesome women at Soho House, a club in London

I ran events at my office and at the fabulous School of Life on motherhood and leadership

I set up, oversaw and participated in a coaching program at work

I mentored a mum with a full-on job in the City

I travelled to San Francisco and attended a fantastic women's conference

I interviewed for a CEO job (don't tell my boss)

I enjoyed galloping my horse around fields, taking him showjumping and teaching him to go cross country, feeling the fear but doing it anyway

I really enjoyed hanging out with my kids

Time with my husband was pretty special

At social events, when I told people I didn't want a glass of wine initially they seemed a bit concerned that I wasn't entering into the spirit of fun wholeheartedly enough. But that passed. They almost always without exception told me that they didn't think they were drinking too much. I was able to enjoy myself socially without a drink in my hand - by the end of February I didn't even notice there wasn't one there.

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And I noticed these things about myself: I always sleep really well when I'm off the sauce and that continued for the whole year. 365 nights of lovely sleeps! I fell asleep earlier and slept for longer.

My skin became brighter and my hair thicker. I lost weight from my middle (but not my bum, sadly!).

I felt lighter, calmer but at the same time energized and focused. I felt a creative energy that hadn't been there for years and I was able to tap into it.

I felt like someone had turned up the volume on my sensitivity to things, especially in the first half of the year - I cried more but I also laughed more. I felt more.

Sometimes I was really grumpy or in a bad mood but I didn't feel guilty about it. I guess that's who I am. I felt a lot less guilt generally.

I enjoyed meals without drinking - the food was the star of the show.

Holidays were still fantastic when I wasn't drinking - the places were still lovely, the food delicious, and the environment relaxing.

So I think I'll carry on my experiment for the time being. Are you running any experiments? How are they working out for you? xoxoxo

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