Why you should do a Sober October
This morning I had a Venti Cold Brew from Starbucks at 4:45 AM. I loved it. A lot. Most of us enjoy our cup of coffee in the morning, a beer with our dinner, or a glass of wine to wind down at the end of day. We think we NEED caffeine to be productive and stay awake or that we NEED alcohol to wind down and enjoy a night. The truth is you do not need these things and if you are regularly consuming them, it could be the root cause of some issues you may be having. Here are reasons why you might considering giving up Caffeine and Alcohol for a month.
Lack of appropriate sleep quality and quantity is associated with obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and a slew of other bad things you don’t want. Also, Sleep is where we rest and repair both our nervous and muscular system. If you’re not sleeping, you’re in a constant state of breaking your system down. This will not only result in a stagnant state of health and fitness but will also increase your risk for injury. On top of that, we all know how poor sleep affects our relationships. Its not good. If you sleep poorly and regularly drink caffeine, alcohol, or both, you’re problem may be as simple giving up the two.
Caffeine is a stimulant and psychoactive drug. Consuming Caffeine in the afternoon increases the chances you will have trouble falling asleep. Ever have one of those nights when you stare at the ceiling for 8 hours? It might be caffeine related.
Alcohol, while it may help you fall asleep, actually disrupts the second half of your sleep and your circadian rhythm. Restless sleep, nightmares, headaches, sweats, and frequent awakening are just some of the problems alcohol may be causing you.
“Circadian rhythms regulate nearly all of the body’s processes, from metabolism and immunity to energy, sleep, and sexual drive, cognitive functions and mood.
In the body, alcohol disrupts circadian functioning directly interfering with the ability of the master biological clock to synchronize itself. Because circadian rhythms have such a powerful, dominating influence over the way our bodies function, the disruptive effects of alcohol can be widespread, affecting sleep and other systems, including: Poor Liver Function, Leaky Gut, Depression, and Disrupted Sleep Cycle”
Adrenal Fatigue is a syndrome that is a consequence of poor functional adrenal glands. Adrenal fatigue affects you by causing a constant state of tiredness or gray feeling. Most people then turn to caffeine or other stimulants to combat their lack of energy. The problem is that Caffeine can contribute to adrenal fatigue. When caffeine is consumed, your pituitary gland signals the adrenal gland to pump out adrenaline and cortisol instantly putting you in “fight or flight” mode just as a stressful situation would. Eventually, if the adrenal gland works too often, it will become unable to respond and cause your state of tiredness or lack of enthusiasm which is the entire reason you drank caffeine to begin with!
While alcohol is not a stimulant, it has a similar effect on the adrenal glad, especially when consumed in a sugary mix. Alcohol depresses the adrenal gland, meaning the gland produces less cortisol. Less cortisol, less stress, right? Maybe. But in the long term it can lead to things like poor sleep, increased systematic inflammation, and increased frequency of sickness. The problem really lies in that when you drink alcohol your liver can’t perform its regular job because its busy detoxing your blood.
Another great reason to give up alcohol and caffeine for a month is simply to incorporate more discipline into your life. Discipline takes practice, you don’t just choose to be a disciplined person and it certainly doesn’t happen by chance. Like fitness and health, it takes hard work. Think of this as a stepping stone to being a person who has the CHOICE to drink caffeine or alcohol rather than the person who MUST drink caffeine or alcohol. This will roll over into all other parts of your life if practiced diligently.
Caffeine or alcohol may be the reason your weight less is stunted. Alcohol is 7 calories per gram on alcohol. To put that in perspective, sugar (carbohydrate) is 4 grams per calorie. Alcohol could be the reason you can’t lose weight solely because you are consuming extra calories that are “empty”, meaning they don’t provide any nutritional benefit. Even just one beer a night may be adding 200 calories to your day or 1400 calories to your week. For some of us this might be a full days worth of calories.
The main reason for caffeine affecting weight loss is because it is more often than not consumed with sugar and cream. A coffee with regular sugar and cream will have a lot of calories and contribute to packing on weight. The other reason is may stunt your weight loss is because it can affect hormone balance. See this article below for more info on that.
Lastly, doing challenging things with our community is fun. We are all the type of people who like taking challenges head on. If you weren’t, you’d be on the couch eating ice cream after work or sleeping in in the morning instead of chasing after fitness goals. Accept the challenge, face it, and overcome it. We improve as a group, so grab a buddy and get after it.
Need I say more?