Tag Archives: hangover

Sweat? That’s just your fat crying

Going to the gym with a hangover was never fun. Sometimes I look back and wonder how on earth I did it without having a heart attack or passing out or at least throwing up. I was a firm believer in sweating out a hangover. I’d often force myself to work out as a kind of punishment for drinking so much and consuming so many calories the night before.   

By comparison, going to the gym with a clear head after a great night’s sleep is pretty satisfying. It’s nice to do something that is good for myself. And I know that when I’ve been to the gym I can indulge my ice cream habit without feeling too guilty about it.

I always do a class at the gym because I need someone else to motivate me whilst I’m there. My gym has some brilliant fitness instructors who a) have bodies to die for and b) are endlessly enthusiastic about everything. Seriously – nothing gets them down. Ever. Their energy and optimism knows no bounds. They are indefatigable and I really like them for it.

A few of the instructors are fond of some, ahem, ‘inspirational’ sayings:

“You made it here, now make it worthwhile!”

“Pain is just weakness leaving the body’!”

“Sweat is just your fat crying!”

My personal favourite is one that I often hear one of the female instructors say towards the end of a class, when there’s just one more set of killer sit ups to do. “Team!” She shouts, “I’m not going to lie. The next two minutes are going to hurt. But in the grand scheme of your day, or your week, two minutes is nothing. We’re only talking about a very short amount of time here. It’s short term pain for long term gain.”

Well, I said it was cheesy. But that last one really sums up how I feel about my sobriety at the moment. There are little hurdles and tricky bits to get through. You just have to man up and get on with it. For me, a bit of short term pain might be turning down the glass of wine I’m offered at a BBQ, or having an awkward conversation with someone about my drinking. Or the moment I help myself to a drink at someone else’s house and without thinking, almost take a beer out the fridge. 

They’re just little challenges that have to be worked through and dealt with. Sometimes the thoughts are only fleeting; sometimes they last a bit longer. Short term pain for long term gain. Here the gain isn’t rock hard abs or dropping a dress size; it’s staying sober for another day. Flexing my sober muscle again and again and getting stronger. Living a sober, happy life that I’m in control of.

It seemed appropriate to write about this today because a lot of us have exercise on the brain. It seems us sober folks are a pretty fit bunch. There are lots of runners and many people setting targets with the aptly named Gym & Tonic. Personally, my goal is to get ready for a half marathon next month. I’ve run ten miles so this is just a bit further, but I’d really like to enjoy this race and not white-knuckle it round. So I bought myself a very appropriate treat this week – new trainers.

trainers

Fingers crossed they have magic powers 🙂

Sushi, ice cream and staying up all night

I finished a run of night shifts this morning. I hate working nights but it’s a big part of my job at the moment. I work nights every other week and have been doing so for a couple of years.

In the past, night shifts have been one of the few times you could guarantee I’d be stone cold sober. Staying awake all night is hard enough without adding a hangover into the mix. So no matter what happened, I wouldn’t drink until the last night shift was over.

Of course, the end of that shift could never come soon enough. When 9.00 am finally rolled round I’d go straight home and open the bottle of wine waiting for me in the fridge. I’d stand in the kitchen gulping back my first glass, barely tasting it. Then a second and a third. Then on to something else. I’d have lots of snacks prepared, to soak up some of the alcohol without taking the buzz off.

When you’re trying to get out of night shift mode, the trick is to get just a few hours sleep and then force yourself to stay awake so you can go to bed at a normal time in the evening. It’s not nice – you inevitably feel tired and groggy. I used to think that drinking during this transition period was a good use of my time. Can you believe that?! A ‘good’ use of my time.

My thinking went like this: I’ll have to get shit faced at some point soon, I can feel the need to do that building. I’m so tired that today is going to be a write-off anyway. If I start now I can drink as much as I like and it doesn’t matter if I pass out. When I come round later I’ll have had a bit of sleep and will be sobering up. I could have a takeaway for dinner and then go to bed. By the morning I won’t even have a hangover!

Logical thinking huh? More often than not, I’d resurface mid afternoon and the monster inside my head would still not be satisfied. So I’d end up going to the shop round the corner, drinking all evening and waking up with a hangover the next day, which ruined my day off.

So … this morning I thought I might struggle. Perhaps this was going to be a trigger? But actually, I totally kicked ass. I came home, had a huge breakfast and went to bed for three hours. Got up when my alarm went off and made myself get out of bed straight away. I went into town and ran a load of errands. Stopped by the gym for a yoga class. Bought takeaway sushi on the way home. Watched TV in my pyjamas. Wrote this blog whilst eating ice cream. Life is good.

A boozy baby shower

You might think that a baby shower would be a booze free event. Possibly a glass or two of champagne to toast the mum-to-be but nothing more. Well, the shower I went to last night was nothing like that. It was really an excuse for a great big party, and I think it was the biggest test of my sobriety so far.

I haven’t exactly been living like a hermit since I stopped drinking but I have been avoiding events where I would normally drink. Last night was something I really couldn’t get out of and besides, part of me did want to go.

I started to panic when I realised the invite said please bring a bottle. I know the hostess well and she’s the type who makes sure your glass is never empty. Getting a soft drink out of her would be a lot harder than ordering one in a pub. Then there was talk of going to a few bars after the party. All this was swirling faster and faster round my head. A little voice said: you are going to miss out if you don’t drink. Why don’t you just have one. It’s not fair that everyone else can drink. It’s not like you’re the one who’s pregnant!

Thankfully Belle made me realise that this was just the wolf talking. I think it’s Unpickled who calls this her Itty Bitty Shitty committee. I like both these descriptions. Personally I imagine the alcoholic devil on my shoulder looking and sounding a bit like Smeagol from Lord of the Rings. Come here my precious…     

The thought of some half-naked Hobbit trying to derail my sobriety seemed so ridiculous I decided I would go to the party. I pushed the bad thoughts to the back of my mind and somehow I ended up having a BRILLIANT time.

I helped myself to a diet coke and made sure my glass was never empty. I think only one person asked why I wasn’t drinking. I said I was too tired to stomach any wine, as I’d just come off a run of night shifts, which was actually true. It was so nice being able to chat with friends without worrying about how much wine I had left in my glass, and whether or not anyone would think I was greedy if I topped it up myself. I didn’t mind that people got tipsy and giggly and a bit silly. I haven’t laughed so much in ages. I stayed quite late but left before anyone got really drunk or boring drunk. 

Looking at the photos posted on Facebook I have to say I looked pretty good (even though I was dog tired). I know this sounds like a big-headed, vain thing to say. But until today, the most recent photo of me on Facebook was taken on the 6th April at a lunch with some girlfriends. It was my first day sober and I was still very hungover from the night before. In that photo my face looks puffy and my eyes are tiny, even though I’m wearing a lot of make up. I’m wearing a baggy top to hide my bloated stomach. I’m smiling in the photo but I remember feeling so horrible and not really wanting to be there.

What a difference 12 days make!

Old me vs New me

The old me (it may only be Day 3 but yes that’s what we’re calling drunk Kate nowadays) would have been tempted to have a drink last night. I couldn’t be bothered to cook and in the past this would have meant going to the corner shop for something I could just shove in the oven. Old me would have thought, “oh right, we’re being lazy tonight are we? Well let’s make a proper night of it and get some WINE!” And I would have walked home with oven chips or a pizza, wine, and probably a beer or some pathetic mixer in a can just in case the bottle didn’t quite hit the spot. (It never did)

Instead, new me defrosted some lasagne lurking at the back of the freezer. Rock and roll. And as I didn’t have to cook I decided to give my flat a good clean. Now, I know you don’t really know me, but that is quite unusual behaviour – a) cleaning and b) spending a Sunday afternoon doing it. I’ve always liked having a nice flat but I hate, hate, hate having to actually clean or tidy it myself.

Old me would have woken up with a headache and a swollen stomach. Alcohol always bloated me terribly. What made it worse was all the food I used to eat. After I’d finally had my fill of drink, somehow a normal sized portion of food never quite hit the spot. So I would have seconds, probably followed by something else altogether, a dessert and then maybe later I’d go back to the kitchen again.

Old me would have spent the first half of today in bed. If I was feeling really sorry for myself I’d probably drink tonight as well. But NEW me has been very productive. I’ve had the day off work but still got up early – it’s so sunny at the moment – sorted out some paperwork. Went to the gym and did my favourite class. Went to the dentist. Did some ironing listening to the Bubble Hour.

Maybe it’s just because the sun’s out but today, all feels surprisingly ok.