A month without beer?

I decided to take the plunge and go a month without beer – it couldn’t be that hard could it?

Summer was my motivation, or more specifically, dropping a few pounds.

Not so I could fit into a bikini (behave yourself, let’s start with baby steps). No, my motorcycle jacket was getting a bit too snug and I wasn’t prepared to fork out hundreds of pounds for a new one.

The beer diet – or rather the no beer diet – seemed the obvious answer, so I set myself the challenge.

I’d just returned from a beer-run to Belgium with around nine cases and some mini kegs, so my house was full of temptation. But I had it all planned – I’d eat healthy during the day and keep a no-beer diary to motivate me.

Here’s how it went. Or rather, didn’t.

The no-beer journal

Day 1, Monday: Challenge started with enthusiasm. By the time I got home from work to my vast Belgian beer stash I was itching to have one – but no, I’m staying strong.

Day 2, Tuesday: Just got home and not even fussed about beer. Then the boyfriend brought out a mini bottle of Duvel we’d got free from Belgiuminabox, and offered it to me. “I’ve got a St Bernardus here…you can have this one” he said, literally waving it under my nose. I really wanted it. I didn’t take it.

Day 3, Wednesday: Was so hungry when I got home that I didn’t even care bout beer. Hoovered up a salmon and prawn salad and went wild and treated myself to a herbal tea. Rock and roll.

Day 4, Thursday: Shared a picture on Twitter and Instagram of the beer that’s sitting in my kitchen testing my willpower. I can’t drink it but I can still admire it. Black coffee is tonight’s tipple.

Day 5, Friday: Around 3.30pm the bosses surprised everyone with beer and wine. I’d had a stressful day but didn’t touch a drop. Then got home and spent an hour agonising over whether or not to have one little St Bernardus Abt 12. It was Friday night after all. Got half way to the fridge and gave my stomach a squeeze, reminding myself why I was doing this, and stopped in my tracks. I was being weak. Then kept walking and cracked it open anyway. It tastes amazing. Currently having mixed emotions of disappointment in myself and absolute joy.

Day 6, Saturday: Went to Yo Sushi for lunch and managed not to be tempted by the Japanese beers. If they hadn’t dropped Kagua from the menu it might have been a different story though – loved that stuff. Once home I decided one solitary Saturday night drink was not unacceptable. Tried to make a healthy version of a long vodka using fizzy water and fresh lime. It was disgusting and bitter so topped it up with sugar-free cordial. Slightly better but still not beer.

Day 7, Sunday: Gym induction today, time to take this seriously. I kinda hate gyms. There’s too much spandex going on. The trainer dude was nice and laid back and when we discussed my nutrition, we ended up swapping recommendations on where to buy nice Belgian and Italian beers. He tried to convince me “half a beer” was ok (I liked this). Then he went on to say I should probably get rid of my home beer tap (I hated him). Came home and drank black coffee. But the PerfectDraft machine is going nowhere.

Epic fail

After a measley seven days in, there was no more no-beer diary to report. I stopped writing it because I didn’t want to keep having to admit to it that I was failing spectacularly. Though I happily admitted it to Instagram as I proudly snapped pictures of those little beauties.

If my memory serves me correctly the offending beers were Straffe Hendrik Quad, Vleteren tripel, Westvleteren 12, Kwak, Broughton’s Old Jock and a Moretti.

So that’s about six-or-so beers in the 18 days after I stopped keeping the diary. On balance it’s not horrendous – plenty of people would sink that many in one night, right?

 What I learned

I should have been more realistic.  And perhaps I should have paid heed to a fellow beer-lover who reacted incredulously when I mentioned my personal beer challenge on Twitter.

“Why would you do that? Never go cold turkey!”

He was probably right.

So I didn’t go a month without beer. Stuff it, it’s all about moderation right? I don’t drink to excess and sometimes I like to savour one or two nice beers, and I admit that pleasure is much harder to sacrifice than I thought it would be.

So now, in my quest for motorcycle jacket joy, I’m on to a new strategy. Eat like a rabbit and hit that horrible horrible gym.

Actually starting to enjoy it in its own wee way. Sometimes I get the odd chuckle at the weights guys who can’t stop watching themselves in the mirror and yesterday I watched incredulously as a girl lay on a yoga mat taking selfies for about ten full minutes.

And through the laughs, sweat and tears there’s always that nice little thought that I can just have a beer if I really want one – I’ve bloody earned it!


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