Ex-Boozer Chronicles: Healthy Lifestyle for a Healthy Mind?

Over the last 7 months I have noticed I have let my exercise and healthy eating routine slip significantly. I don’t think it is the non boozing, I think it is my job. I find it stressful, and all-consuming, and by the time I get home from work I feel about as motivated as a sack of potatoes. Doing anything after work takes real effort now, and for endless months I have been in a bit of a chocolate and book in bed bubble whenever I can. It’s not only the chocolate and lack of exercise after work, but the fact I often eat a small mound of sugary biscuits at work to see myself through the day. Essentially, I have become an unfit lazy bastard. However, several weeks ago I quit my job, and even though I still have two weeks left, I have decided to make some changes.

I am slowly introducing the healthiness back into my life by making small steps, so 12 days ago I decreed I would do yoga once a day, even only a 10 minute Youtube video, stop eating the work biscuits, and quit chocolate for now. I once read that chocolate activates the same part of your brain (related to the reward system) that cocaine does, and I get that. I feel hooked. Probably a bit of replacement therapy going on there but for months I could easily make my way through most of a big block of dairy milk.

Eventually I said to my partner that it was out of control, and I needed to cut back so we made a rule that no big blocks of chocolate could enter our apartment. I was going to finish off the last few bars of a remaining block but my partner grabbed it from my hand ‘you said you weren’t eating big blocks anymore’ he said in a teasingly stern voice as he held the chocolate high above my head. ‘Fine’ I said, and snatched it from his hand, walked outside, and frisbeed the colourful package off the balcony. I watched as it spun into the darkness, and turned back to my partner ‘I feel a bit bad for throwing it into the neighbour’s yard but it needed to be done. Thank you’.

After that I cut down to a small bar daily but as of 11 days ago I have had none, and I haven’t really missed it. Now instead of a chocolate bar after dinner I do this relaxing bedtime yoga video on Youtube. I light a candle, roll out my mat, and loll about for 20 minutes zenning out, aligning my chakras and all that jazz. I know I might sound like a giant wanker but it really does make me feel better than the lines and lines of dairy milk I was consuming. Even though the transformation process has only begun, I feel a hell of a lot better in general, now I am focusing on getting back into shape. I guess it makes me feel like I am taking control of my life again, and not just letting it throw me around in the tide. I’m not going to lie, quitting a job that made me a sad sack is also a contributor to feeling this way. I highly recommend if you can.

The funny thing is I actually exercised more, and ate slightly healthier when I was a boozer. I don’t know how that worked, and there were probably other factors at play, but I guess I had created a routine that I was comfortable with at the time, and I somehow managed to fit it all in. Then when I quit booze I lost a stress relief tool, and my favourite reward system, so I created a new reward system which essentially sucked, and made me feel unmotivated by life. I still felt better than when I was a boozer but I didn’t allow the full potential of my new sober status to flourish. I’m definitely going to continue to eat chocolate occasionally, and devour a whole pizza in my PJs, but I’m going to cut it back so I don’t end up looking like John Goodman, and having to buy a new wardrobe full of elasticated waistbands.

Once I feel solid about cutting out a truck load of sugar, and reintroducing regular exercise, I can then conquer a few other elements too, like instead of being content with 1 or 2 healthy meals a day, I am going to try to make it 5 or 6 full days of healthy meals a week. Then I can look at increasing the intensity of my workouts, and maybe eventually I’ll climb a big motherf**king mountain, and post a story on Instagram from the top that will make everyone do a tiny vomit in their mouths but I won’t care because I’ll be a boss, the master of my own domain. However maybe I won’t. I might feel so awesome that the only validation I need is my own.

I know this all sounds a no brainer, and from years of research it’s quite obvious that regular exercise and healthy eating are good for your mental health but it’s about doing things when you are ready, when you want to do them for yourself. Whether that be quitting drinking or starting a new health regime, I feel you will only succeed if it’s what you really want and are ready for.

When I quit my job I said to my boss ‘it just feels like I’m living someone else’s life’. Now it’s time to start living it the way I want to again.

Note: Sorry again to the neighbour in front of us about the random Cadbury wrapper in your backyard. If you ever need to borrow some milk we will happily fill your cup (Disclaimer: Only if there is enough left for my morning coffee).

For more Ex-Boozer Chronicles click here

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