This October, I embarked upon a difficult journey: a whole month without alcohol. Cannabis, however, was still allowed. Instead of the typical Sober October, I called this a “Cali-Sober” October. Before we look at how it went, I want to add a few disclaimers:
- Unfortunately, I failed in my efforts to not drink any alcohol—I enjoyed a few margaritas on my sister’s birthday and had red wine with a few amazing red meat-based meals my husband made. How can you say no to that? Overall, though, I succeeded in limiting my alcohol intake.
- I made no other changes to diet, exercise, sleep or my daily I am a light exerciser: I take my dog on “sniffs” and occasionally do twenty minutes of yoga. I sleep 7–8 hours every night and eat dinner closer to bedtime than I should. I love lattes and anything chocolate. None of this changed when I went Cali Sober.
Did Sober October Affect My Weight?
Far and away, the most noticeable change was the impact on my weight and body shape.
I have read that (to minimize heart risk) your waist circumference should be no more than 85% of your hip measurement. Mine was 87%. I would describe my typical body composition as “skinny fat,” which to me means that everyone thought I was thin, but I wasn’t healthy.
Cutting down on alcohol—again, with no other changes to my diet or exercise routine—helped me lose 5 pounds. I also cut 2 inches from my waist and lost an inch from my hips, resulting in a final waist-to-hip ratio of 84%. You’re welcome, heart!
How did going Cali Sober for October help me accomplish all this? Let’s go through the math:
1. Various blogs on the internet confidently state that a person must lose about 8 pounds if they want to lose an inch from their waist. Making wide generalizations like that is obviously silly, because it depends on what their starting point weight is.
Let me explain. If Bob has a 44-inch waist and Carol has a 33-inch waist, Bob’s waist circumference is going to be 33% larger. However, the area inside that circle is nearly twice the volume. So, for Bob (44-inch waist) to lose an inch in circumference, he would need to get rid of a lot more volume—hence, he would need to lose more pounds.
1. We also need to consider the effects of the metabolism. The human body is set to burn alcohol calories first. So, a glass of wine with dinner may only add 150 empty calories to your day, but those 150 calories are burned before food calories. If your glass of wine is consumed with a lovely risotto just a few hours before bedtime, all the glucose in those carbs will be converted immediately to adipose fat (the fat around your waist).
2. We definitely can’t forget about bloat, either. Alcohol is an inflammatory substance and can cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to bloating. For me, this was really noticeable as a consequence of my drinking. When I “broke” my sober October, my waistline increased by an inch the very next day, then went back down after another day of not drinking.<
How Going Cali Sober Affected my Mindfulness
I had never noticed before, but as it turns out, I’m actually really thirsty and have low blood sugar at the end of every workday. Apparently, I haven’t been drinking enough water. Before Sober October began, the first thing I would do after getting home was to reach for some chilled white wine…because I was thirsty.
That’s crazy. Drinking a glass of water (or even a juice to get a bit of sugar) makes a lot more sense.
My general awareness of how I was feeling and what I needed improved significantly once I stopped using alcohol as my go-to. When it came to stress, fatigue, thirst and hunger, I became much more attuned to what my body was asking for.
Forcing a gap between desire and action enabled me to observe the source of my craving and make a more informed choice. Instead of settling in on the couch with my wine, I started to take walks, drink water, do yoga, and call my friends.
How Sober October Affected My Social Life
As I brought up in my previous blog post, I had been worried about my ability to still be social. Unlike my last Dry January, where I became a chore-completing hermit, I still spoke to friends and hung out with my family. We even started having family movie night. The flexibility of going Cali Sober allowed my husband and I to sit with a cannabis beverage, snack on some cannabis popcorn, or pop a weed gummy. I didn’t have a cannabis product every night during October, but it was fun on the nights that I did!
Would I Recommend Going Cali Sober for Sober October?
I would definitely recommend trying out a month of being Cali Sober, especially if you have any concerns about your alcohol intake (like I did). While it’s been a stressful year for me and my family, I realized that the solution wasn’t to drink more wine. Ultimately, going Cali Sober helped me feel healthier, happier, and overall more relaxed.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. Sober October’s over, but there’s still Dry January and Booze-Free February. If you’re in, you can pick one, then pick up the cannabis products you need to get through it at People’s. Whether I was looking for edibles, drinks, cannabis flower or anything else, they always had me covered—and the free delivery didn’t hurt, either.