january 28, 2020—health check-in recap

Hey all! At the beginning of this experiment, I had asked if people would observe their own personal health concerns for the 30 day experiment, then check back in with any changes they’ve experienced. We’re nearing the end (I can’t even…🥺😢😭)—is anyone wiling to share any changes that you’ve observed in your own body—physical, mental, emotional, heck, even spiritual—over the past month? We know the science of what alcohol does to our bodies, I’m so curious to hear actual personal anecdotes/evidence—doesn’t have to be dramatic, just a change you’ve noticed in your own blessed body over the month… I’ll go first: my mental health has made a STUNNING shift—clarity in thoughts, less negative, less-reactive (except my swearing…that’ll never go away! :)—like a thick layer of smog has cleared from my brain. Next? (p.s. thank you for sharing!!💜)

Responses (edited for privacy/clarity/space):

  • KC: Sure, thinner, not puffy, clear eyes, normal BP, normal heart rate, no palpitations, no belly, skin has cleared up, mental clarity, not hot all the time, not sweating all the time, appetite has improved and sleep has normalized ❣️
  • LO: Much less anxiety and depression, joint pain is better, better sleep, better skin, better digestion. 😍
  • FA: My resting heart rate has dropped from 100-105bpm to 65-70bpm. Amazing! My heart must be thinking it’s on vacation because it isn’t working so hard!!
  • IM: My anxiety has dropped immensely ,I’m much calmer ,happier and more fun to be around .I am having my bloods done on3rd Feb and am super keen to see if my cholesterol has gone down .I will post in the main FB page Jennifer …summing it up ,I feel great but know I have a long way to go yet 🧜‍♀️🧜‍♀️
  • SF:  My sleep! I’ve been a partner at a law firm for 2 yrs now & kept thinking I couldn’t handle the increased stress and always cited the fact that I was up from 2-4AM ALL THE TIME. For 2 years. 
    But I was also drinking every single day.
    I’m still stressed, but I’m sleeping all night almost every night!
  • LD: Blood pressure dropped
  • FC: Sleeping through the night. My resting heart rate was 78-80 at the beginning of the month. Now it is 65!!! My joints aren’t as achy, my belly has gone down, and I’m happier!!!!
  • IE: Less irritable, more optimistic, clearer eyes, brighter skin, less bloated, more confident, more accepting of life and ability to better handle adversities. Glass half full instead of half empty feeling. Engaging more in life, community, and increased compassion for others.
  • CW: Sleep is better, skin has actually changed colour! Resting heart rate down from 67 to 55, calmer, happier, more energy, belly gone down, lost weight, more productive, more motivated, nicer person, sharper witted, more even keel, only need to watch films once, a bit fitter, exercising more, more present.
              Jennifer Hildebrandt CW—watching movies only once!!! WHO KNEW IT WAS EVEN POSSIBLE! 
  • PL: All of the above. Except I started drinking again and gained 2.5 lbs in 4 days. Enough! Back to square one! I just can’t anymore!
  • JM: Tummy gone, clear bright eyes, mental clarity, calmer, sleeping for Australia, skin improved
  • SRK: Blood pressure and resting heart rate are down, anxiety is much better, stomach is flatter, energy levels are up, sleep is better, digestion is better.
  • WB: Better sleep. Better able to manage anxiety. More energy. Less bloated but didn’t lose the 5 or so pounds I was hoping for which was a little surprising.
  • SO: Skin looks amazing, feeling calm, better sleep mental clarity, more confidence, being more present, less irritable, feeling of peace, more grateful……most of changes have come from within ❤️
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt: SO, those internal changes though, right??!! 💜💜💜
    • SO: Jennifer Hildebrandt I am so appreciate these internal changes. They are making my life richer!
  • FA: I quit my 1 or 2 a day habit of smoking cigarettes. My body felt better and the smoking made me physically sick.
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt That’s REALLY interesting, FA!!! Were you surprised when that happened or did you expect it?
    • FO: Jennifer Hildebrandt I think the mostly AF months was very good for me and just said no to nicotine. I smoked for about 9 years, quit for 23 years and resumed in rehab. Also the videos from Annie and Scott helped me really evaluate my health from all angles.
  • SA: My gut health is a lot better. Not great yet, but definitely improving! Skin looks so good and my double chin is gone. I’ve started doing yoga everyday and my body feels happier.
    • JD: SA, my gut health has improved significantly too! Not waking up in the middle of the night with abdominal pain. Have you tried probiotics with a meal. It’s helped me I think
  • CW: Haven’t taken my anxiety meds in well over a week! (Came to realize I was taking them to deal with my hangovers! 😩. Super scary). Energy is soo much better- although I still have exhaustion days). I’m consistently working out. More present for my kids
    • JF: CW, I haven’t taken Xanax since starting! It’s amazing.
  • RSH: Anxiety and depression GONE!
  • LS: Less anxiety, I work with numbers and recall is amazing compared to before. Sleeping better. Moving with intention.
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt Donna—the recall piece—HUGE! kinda scary, how much I was forgetting, even on days I wasn’t drinking…
  • CJ: My IBS is significantly better.
    Also, my feet were burning hot all the time (for about 2 years) now back to being normal temp.
  • WD: Being retired I have a lot of “me“ time. I’m finding I’m happier living with me. Might not sound like much but I’ve gained my self respect back.
    • PT: This is amazing! After all, wherever you go, there you are!
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt: WD, that’s HUGE. the internal stuff, to me, is even more remarkable than the external, as it ends up significantly affecting everything else…xxoo!
  • NFE: Lower anxiety and depression. Finding joy in small things. Less bloating. Clear headed. Better use of time during the day (and evening)
    One thing I’m struggling with right now, is I notice my anxiety is creeping in over the fact that this program is ending. Still AF
    • PT:  So happy for you; what a lot of positive changes you have experienced and noticed! There are so many ways to stay connected – instead of worrying, see if you can visualize what you want the next 30 days to look like. Perhaps a new community group, adult education, a hobby or sport. There are so many things to explore!!
    • NFE: PT, you are so right, and I am starting to look at what I what next steps to be for my personal development. Thank you for the reminder!
  • BD: Definitely more calm and rational when stressed (specifically when dealing with my kids!), I feel like a “better” person in general. Nothing to be guilty of, more confidence, proud to have been on this AF journey and really proud of myself for sticking with the 30 days
  • JS:  I’m more at peace with myself. 💜
    Not beating up my self in the mornings and remembering EVERYTHING from the bight before🤷‍♀️
  • EC: I used to have an issue with vasodilation many years ago that caused my legs to itch intensely going from hot/warm to cold – I think some people experience it coming out of the shower or after a workout – this was years ago when I could take or leave alcohol
    Hide or report this
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt THAT’S fascinating, EC!! Good luck with your investigation!
    • EC Jennifer thank you…I’m thinking it’s perhaps been ‘numbed’ by alcohol and now my nerves are operating at full tilt?! It’s so interesting isn’t it how things change so much!
  • TV: More calm and centered within myself and that even with a brand new puppy that pees all over the house 🤣I achieved more goals in those 28 days that i did in years, I sometimes just feel happy out of nowhere and proud!
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt; If anything’s going to challenge your new calm and centered state, TV, it’s a new puppy!!!
    • TV Jennifer Hildebrandt haha! That is so very true !!!🤣
  • RY: Mentally: so much better. Calmer. More mindful. Happier.
    Physical: body feels better, lighter. I’m actually MORE aware of my physical pain because I’m not using alcohol to numb it out — but I have the discipline now to cut out the foods that aren’t serving me: dairy, gluten specifically.
    I’ve also lost about 10lbs and have been working out/doing yoga more than I have been the past few months.
    Spiritually: I feel like I’m able to do “my work” with a clear head, heart and mind.
    ——
    I haven’t had any “data points” and I really don’t have any desire to drink. I’m the most surprised by that mental shift. I’m feeling pretty good about the next 30 days and the next after that and so on.
  • NK: Clearer thought processes,reddish face disappearing,pulse rate lower,deeper sleep and generally happier😀
  • ND: Not being worried about someone smelling booze on me is a huge relief! 
    Another one – for the past several years when waking up after drinking too much, I’d be mad at myself, frustrated, praying for forgiveness…Now the first thought in my mind is gratefulness my prayers are very different. Goals have become more of a statement of faith instead of a wish list. ❤️ 41 days strong! 🙌🏼
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt: ND, i’m all kinda teary now, can so relate to that waking up with the shame, anger, begging…and now, waking with such gratitude…
  • MEL: Anxiety is gone. Lower blood pressure
  • JD: Much more relaxed about everything. getting the best sleep for 20 years! Ps and probably saving my life too
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt: JD—saving our own lives is a GREAT way to say it!!! For real!!
  • KI: Clarity. Being able to commit to taking my dad to a 7:45 AM doctors appointment. No binge eating late at night. Calm in the middle of the Pearl storm. Have a doctors appointment later and will see weight loss I can feel. I have a scale but don’t torture myself with it. BUT my tinnitus is still ringing.
  • JJ: Anxiety and depression almost non-existent. That’s a big one. I remember things better. I’m way more calm and patient, especially with my kids. Not over reactionary. More energy (most days). Most notable difference, I hardly ever think about alcohol, I’m not preoccupied with it as I was before. Mostly think only in terms of how great it feels without 😊
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt It’s been my hope, too, that alcohol becomes small and insignificant, as Annie said it did for her—that’s a dream that actually can come true in these 30 days!! 🥰💜💜
    • JJ Jennifer Hildebrandt it took some time, but I got there. Now to focus on staying here 😉 it’s in your grasp!
  • BE: My acid reflux is way down. Also I do not have a strong gag reflex in the morning anymore. Lets see….skin is less red, have not lost weight but I have lost puffy areas through out my body that I know was fluid retention. No scale but this is based on visuals. No more guilt trips and mentally berating myself as an alcoholic…this word is now banned from my lexicon along with loser and helpless. I am mentally more at peace although I believe I am still battling depression. But the depression is no longer a soul sucking banshee that makes every decision seem impossible, And I once again I have HOPE. I never thought this would be obtainable again but there it is every day.
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt All of this…especially banning words that hurt, not help…word do matter, significantly!!
  • JLB: Significant improvement in skin where I was suffering from dermatitis on my face and dermatologist just wanted to treat with steroids to which I said no and took matters into my own hands. Also huge improvement in gut health not suffering from severe episodes of abdominal pain at night. Still have joint pain but improves during the day as I start moving. I probably need to be better with water intake. Good to hear everyone’s stories!
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt That’s awesome, that you followed your gut (haha, punny) and refused the ‘roids for your skin, JLB, and the other health improvements, too!!!
  • RL: I feel calmer and my anxiety is so much less. I’ve had to deal with a couple very stressful situations this month and I handled them differently than I once would have. I’ve also started practicing Yoga again and I love it. I also have a clearer mind and am more focused than ever on building my business. I am so grateful for this journey.
    •  Jennifer Hildebrandt: RL, I agree, with all of what you said! Thanks for checking back in!! 💜💜
  • JR: Two curious physical changes I never would have correlated with alcohol: 1. My gums no longer bleed when I floss. 2. The ringing in my ears (tinnitus) has significantly decreased. I’m hoping it will be 100% gone in another month.
    • CM: JR, I’ve had both of these too!!
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt: Wild!!! Sooo fascinating, you two!!
  • LM: Less depressed, less anxious, better sleep.
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt I sleep soooo well, too! And my DREAMS! Holy cow!!!!! 😂😂😂
  • AR: Warning: this is a little on the woo woo spiritual side! 7 years ago I had an energy healer work on me. I was at my lowest with drinking. Totally unhappy and very overwhelmed with a baby and toddler. I had an out of body experience that opened the door to healing from childhood trauma that I thought was long ago resolved and in the past. The final piece to the puzzle of my 7 year healing journey has been giving up alcohol for good. Anyhoo, this month I found this amazing reiki practitioner and had a similar healing experience with her. Very intense spiritual stuff happened in our session! I wanted to learn more so I took a level 1 reiki training. It turns out that I’m a strong conduit for this energy and I was able to give someone else a similar experience to mine. I’m a reiki healer now, no big deal!
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt “No big deal,” she sez…that’s incredible, AR—love it!
  • PVM: No weight loss at all (which I’m a bit disappointed with) skin is much better, still having acne breakouts, but they seem to be only hormonally related, rather than all the time, eyes brighter, less headaches. I used to have a headache every Tuesday which I attributed to going back to work after the weekend, but in reality it was probably just alcohol withdrawal from every weekend of binge drinking wine! My resting heart beat has dropped significantly and I’m sleeping so much better. My anxiety is so much better and its brought with it a feeling of clarity which has really boosted my confidence.
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt: I sooo relate to the clarity—it’s profound!! And does impact soo many other things in our lives—confidence, interactions with others, getting things done, feeling at peace and content with life…
    • CD: PVMm exactly the same for me.. just thought I’d loose 6lbs considered I was on 10 bottles wine a week!!!! 😱
  • LI: I have had a long history of arthritis (both hips replaced and both shoulders replaced and I AM ONLY 57!). While the replacements are awesome, I would notice occasional joint pain regardless. Especially in my yet to be replaced knees. That seems to have diminished these past 28 days. I know alcohol is inflammatory, so it makes sense. But I was never 100% sure about it… Well, happy to say I am now!
  • CDH: Thank you for checking in Jennifer Hildebrandt! All of the above, plus my specific health concern, which was joint pain in my hips in the morning and stiffness getting out of bed (Hello, I’m only 59…what’s it gonna look like when I’m 90???) is virtually gone. I’ve had a few slips and when I did, it was back…huge data point!
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt Thanks for reporting your discoveries, CDH! I’m finding all of this so fascinating!!
  • KB: Better sleep, no anxiety, BP normal, active and productive, happier, eyes clearer, skin better, dealing with stress easily. Overall, I JUST FEEL GREAT! even though i had a cold for the past 2 weeks
  • JM: My skin is nicer. I’ve even had other people notice. 
    My digestive system seems a lot happier…I get more excited about small things. And I get like over the moon happy 😂
    I’m not having the 2am wake ups which is FAB. But so far I don’t feel more rested. And I feel like I still have bags under my eyes. Maybe I’m not getting quality sleep for some reason. I’d be curious to wear one of those sleep tracker watches. Also my back pain is gone, so far!
    Things that haven’t changed yet: anxiety; No weight loss yet
  • HCN: Not feeling any heart palpitations at night. I have a fib so this is pretty major for my peace of mind.
  • SYN: I have noticed so many things: I’m more patient, more relaxed(ironically), I wake up refreshed, my skin is hydrated and looks better, my belly isn’t bloated all the time, I lost 6 lbs 🙂, I had some inconsistent bowel issues at first but it’s all good now.
  • CVY: less chest pains, less liver pain, finally sleeping better, always hungry, love ice cream, tea, tea, tea!
  • OCJ: Feel like I’m able to think more clearly and calmer and less reactive. If I’m frustrated about a work issue I seem to be able to be more mindful about it and thoughtful in my response. Skin is improving and lost a little weight however having more constipation and gas😆
  • DK: Less anxiety. More clarity, energy, more laughter, less thoughts on alcohol . Skin and eyes clearer . 
    Overall much happier and when I exercise more endurance.
    Still tired and difficult to get to sleep but once I am asleep it is quite heavy. Very happy!
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt I can relate to the tired feelings, DK—I’m sleeping great, but my energy levels have been low, too—I’m attributing it to the long, dark Minnesota winter; I love our wildly different seasons, but by this time of winter, it’s draining… thankfully “happy” balances “tired!” 💜
  • CL: I am so much more relaxed, less aggressive and argumentative. Feel in control of my life. I honestly want to stay sober from now on as alcohol just does not agree with me. Lost friends due to drink. Hope I can make some on this journey 😁
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt: I’m with you CL—I’m soooo drawn to about what’s beyond 30 days AF. All of the wonderful responses to my question inspire me greatly—alcohol really does nothing I formerly believed it did, and I have no interest in doing any of that to myself again. I’m so sorry about your friends—do you mean you’ve lost friends because you stopped drinking? I believe, in time, the ones we want in our lives will begin showing up right when we need them, now that we’re AF…p.s. are you signed up for the Alum January facebook group? If not, let me know and I’ll find the link for you! 💜
    • LD: Jennifer Hildebrandt lovely words thank you. Not sure if I have.. send me the link please. Be great to stay in contact 🥰
  • ROA: Less anxiety which has boosted my confidence at work and socially. I’ve always been good at appearing confident, but now I really FEEL it! Also not needing as much sleep (easier to get up in the mornings) and I just look a little better x
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt: Nailed it, ROA—I can so relate to “appearing” confident, when inside, I felt like a fraud, or just not focused, or listening well or remembering…all of that affects confidence immensely!
    • ROA: Jennifer Hildebrandt 100%
  • PR: I can wake up earlier a few of the times that I woke up 530 am went to the gym for a HIT class or a strength class … went to 4 work out days in a row last week and 3 days so far this week .. better able to push myself than just stay in bed .
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt: PR, that’s fantastic! I’m sleeping so well, but I dunno, I think the cold, dark MN winters are wearing on me—I still manage to hit “snooze” a few too many times! 😅 then again, I teach fitness classes, so that gives me an out, right??!! 😁
    • ROA: Jennifer Hildebrandt have you read 5 second rule? A section in there on the snooze button!!
  • LIN: My blood pressure went from 145/90 down to 113/77 (at my doctors appt Monday). I’ve lost 5 pounds this month. I also have felt joy bubbling up for the first time in years, and I’ve become much more productive in all areas of my life. I’m a lot less grumpy too!
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt The “less grumpy” is quite astounding, isn’t it, LIN?! I can’t believe how much less people irritate me these days (because it certainly wasn’t ME…! 😁
  • LDM: No more mood swings, skin is brighter, vision has actually improved, amazing sleep, just an overwhelming sense of peace and calm, more feelings of connection in my relationships, gratitude and joy every single day 💗🌸
    • Jennifer Hildebrandt: LDM, yes, to ALL of that! 💜
  • MCR: It’s been more than 30 days for me but my life, mental and physical health have improved immensely! I no longer require anti-depressants, I do not feel weepy, I feel calm and delighted by even the simplest things, my blood pressure, blood sugars and cholesterol all at healthy levels. So much easier to eat well and exercise daily when alcohol is removed. My eczema has cleared up completely. Life is great!!
  • CBL: Brain fog gone and blood pressure lower. Not completely normal yet but I feel like it’s just a matter of time.
  • SCD: The frequency and intensity of my hot flashes have gone down noticeably.

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