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When you start with a personal trainer they ask you to do a lot of, quite frankly, dreadful things. You have to track your calories (which either makes you hungry or ashamed of how many of those little bastards you’re packing away), you have to weigh every week, you have to plan your exercise…
Essentially, they ask you to plan to take responsibility for the fitness journey that you’re about to go on because as Andy Ramage says in his wonderful book Let’s Do This, “you can achieve any goal you set when you have a plan and show up.”
It makes sense – you’ve got to have a goal to have something to aim towards, to keep you motivated on the tougher days, and to celebrate when you’ve successfully changed your relationship with food and exercise and are at a happy, healthy weight.
However, personal trainers also ask you to do something that often feels uncomfortable… They ask you to get in to your undies and take photos of yourself from all angles. All the wibbly, wobbly angles that you’ve spent so much of your life trying to hide.
This, of course, makes perfect sense too. If you stick to the plan you’ve created, show up and stay on track with your healthy eating plan, and consistently carry out your new exercise routine... It won’t be long before you start seeing a change in yourself. And photos are a fantastic motivator because it’s a real boost to be able to see your progress as well as feel it.
So… Have you started taking your sober selfies yet?
When you give up alcohol, all sorts of amazing things start to happen. You become more focussed as the fog start to clear, you’re more motivated than you ever have been before, you’re calmer, more considerate, less selfish, and generally an all-round nicer person (at least, that’s what my girlfriend tells me!)
But giving up alcohol doesn’t just benefit your mind, it has huge benefits for your body too!
OK, we could get scientific and talk about how your liver starts to repair itself, how giving up alcohol affects your blood pressure, how it improves your sleep (and the many, many benefits that better sleep brings), etc, etc, etc… But this post is a little more vain than that, because giving up alcohol undoubtedly makes you look better on the outside as well as feeling a million times better on the inside!
Firstly, if you want to, giving up alcohol will definitely help you to lose weight. Forget about the extra motivation you’ll feel to get outside and exercise (which is a massive boost if you’re on a weight loss journey)… There are so many bloody calories in alcohol that by stopping drinking you’ll dramatically reduce your calorie intake in one swift action!
But… It doesn’t stop there. Your skin will get better, your eyes will be brighter… And sober hair is a real thing! After you’ve given up alcohol for a couple of months, people will start to notice these things too. They may not pick out specifics, but your overall appearance will undoubtedly change as you start to benefit from the “sober glow”.
But, of course, more importantly than what other people think, you’ll start to notice the positive changes in yourself too… Especially if you’re regularly taking your sober selfies! You’ll see it in the mirror, of course you will… But a bit like when someone you haven’t seen for a while comes round and tells you how much your child has grown… Because you see them every day, you might not appreciate just how dramatic the change is.
So… I know it’s not the most comfortable thing to do, but if you’re at the start of your alcohol free journey then get your phone out, open that front-facing camera and take a selfie. And then take one every week, just like you would do with a personal trainer! It won’t be long until you see a difference – and seeing a difference can be a massive motivator when it comes to staying on track.