Yes, you read it. I drank alcohol for 2 weeks – why? Well first of all, as you probably know my dad was over visiting me for the festival, and he likes a nice glass of wine, so do I by the way. When you enjoy good company and wine and don’t see your father that often it’s nice to just enjoy ever single day to the fullest and as a good daughter I am, I wanted to make sure he had a great time (I had an amazing time too btw). But after 1 week of drinking and eating out, I was wanting to have a sober week, or at least drink less. And was going to tell my dad he had to enjoy the wine by himself. But then I thought, let’s just continue and see what happens. I’m not gonna lie, I do love going out for meals and drinking prosecco and wine, so in my mind, I thought it’s not really the worst experiment. And the thought of not thinking about gym and nutrition for a while sounded refreshing. (I was so wrong)
So I drank for 2 weeks straight and this is what happened:
After a few days of drinking, I felt so, so tired waking up, I literally didn’t want to get up. I just wanted to stay in bed. Energy levels were pretty much gone.
About a week in I felt like I started to get used to it, I thought – I can do this easily! How I felt the morning after obviously depended on if I drank 3 glasses or 8. But I felt like the hangovers in a way “disappeared”. But around this time my bowel movements started to act up. It fluctuated between constipation, loose or not going to the toilet for a day or 2. I normally go between 2-3 times a day which is considered the optimal bowel movement. And by not being able to empty my intake every day, you can only imagine how bloated I was feeling.
Just over a week in I could “finally” see the pounds gain on. My abs were disappearing. (I was silently screaming inside) I started to feel uncomfortable in my own skin and found it hard to find out what to wear as I felt fat. By all means, I was not fat! I only gained 1.5 kg. Although it didn’t worry me to lose the pounds I put on, but it was all happening so fast. I went from being the fittest I’ve ever been in my life to having a proper handle to shake on in just over a week! It just shows you what bad nutrition can do to your body.
Now, one and a half weeks in, there was some dramatic changes. First, I couldn’t sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night, tired as hell, but my body just didn’t want to put me back to sleep. I was awake for hours just desperately wanting to go back to sleep. Which of course, resulted in a lack of focus, fatigue and absolutely no interest in doing anything the following day. I was thinking if I could stay in bed all day I would. But the worst thing, I started to feel depressed. I started to feel sad and sorry for myself. I was actually crying myself to sleep a few nights. I simply couldn’t take it anymore. I had nothing to be sad for, I had an amazing time, just when that alone time came, I couldn’t stop feeling sorry for myself and cry. And I HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO FEEL SAD ABOUT!
Now those feelings of sadness, depression and loss of energy were no major surprise for me as I know how food can alter your mood. But what was a surprise, was that it was a lot more extreme than I could ever imagine. I consider myself as a very positive person, I hate the feeling of stress, sad, anger, fear and anxiety. I simply choose not to feel those things because I don’t want to. Of course, everyone experiences negative feelings from time to time and I am a very emotional person that cries at least a few times a month if not more. But 90 % of the time my tears are happy tears. Feeling sadness, anger or fear is healthy. Just not on a daily basis.
Now here is what’s interesting: Did you know that 80-90% of your serotonin (5-HT) is produced in your digestive tract? (Serotonin is the happy, feel good hormone if you didn’t know) And how is this happy hormone produced? Without going into too much detail we can assume that by knowing it is produced in the digestive tract, were your gut bacteria lives, can say that what you eat and drink will affect the production of serotonin, no? Studies with germ-free mice showed that they lack up to 60 % of normal serotonin levels as they don’t have any microbes to help to produce the hormone. And if you didn’t know, reduced serotonin levels in associated with depression and anxiety. Now, serotonin also has other biological factors such as regulate bowel function and blood clotting to mention a few. So low serotonin levels may cause other health problems – didn’t I say I was struggling with my bowel movements?
Another interesting fact is that there is 500 times more of the hormone melatonin in your gut too than your brain! Melatonin job is to be in charge of you awake and sleep cycles. I did not find any studies that say that alcohol increase melatonin levels (which would give an increase in awake and alertness). But I thought it would be an interesting fact for you to know.
However, my point is that an increased and chronic intake of alcohol may alter your serotonin levels (along with plenty of other negative consequences), as you probably know it is like poison for the body, and although its is limited studies on this subject on humans, alcohol can alter the gut flora, which will affect your overall mood and other biological functions. So reaching for that bottle when you’re blue, might not be the best thing after all.
And for those asking, it took me 1 day to go back to my normal happy self 🙂
PSS! Don’t try this at home.
*all restaurants located in Edinburgh, Scotland