21 Day No Alcohol Challenge

Welcome to the first of our 21 day “Hot and Healthy Together” Challenges!!  Brett and I used to be big fans of the TV show “Naked and Afraid”, and over the Christmas break we were discussing some health goals for 2022 (over a bottle of wine of course).  After some discussions on thing’s we would both like to focus on, we opted for a 21 day plan – as this is the time frame on the TV series.  

We made the decision for our first Challenge to be No Alcohol, as we’ve just come off Christmas, New Year and holidays – and drinking too much, every day!  I’m a believer in not waiting for a Monday to start a challenge, goal, new regime etc. so there was no better day to start than on  Thursday straight after Australia Day public holiday!

Day 1 Thursday 27th January 2022

Yesterday was the Australia Day public holiday and we had friends around from 12:30pm to 6pm.  Had 1 bottle of wine and an espresso martini.

Woke this morning at 3am and had trouble getting back to sleep.  Went to couch and woke again at 4:30 to get puppy up.  Slept again on couch on and off until 6:20am.

Woke up feeling pretty good, but not keen to train, just have an easy start to the day.  

I’m embarrassed to say I can’t even remember when I would have not drunk for 21 days straight.  I know definitely since lockdown in March/April 2020 that we started to regularly drink most nights.  On and off over the last 2 years we’ve done some weeks alcohol free, but by Thursday we would have just 1 drink (Brett beer at Kalka, myself wine with dinner home alone).  I feel I do have a good control on my drinking with regards to knowing when I’ve had enough and stopping, even a social situation with friends still drinking (I just drink water).  But we have been drinking more than the recommended guidelines for the last 2 years.  And I know there have been times when I’ve come home from work and poured a glass of wine, and thought to myself I really don’t know if I feel like it, but would still have it.  We have 100% been using alcohol as a way to relax after work, or deal with stress.  We also actually enjoy sitting at the table after dinner on a Friday or Saturday night, drinking wine and listening to music together and spending time talking.  

Brett is also notoriously famous with his friends on social media for his ‘full moon drinks’, but he has already said he can easily swap that to a non-alcoholic beverage 😊 

We have also found ourselves a couple of ‘alcohol-free buddies’ to join us for the 21 days.  One of our Be Hot Trainers, Zena, and her hubby, Pete, have made the commitment with us.  They own their own business and work big hours – and similar to Brett and I, with having a drink or 2 at the end of each day to ‘relax and wind down’. 

Day 2 Friday 28th 2022

Had a big morning at work, woke up feeling good but a little tired once finished (this is quite usual getting towards end of week).  We caught up with friends at the beach this afternoon.  Usually, we would take a bottle of wine and my girlfriend and I would enjoy a couple of glasses, but we both kept it alcohol free (thanks Anna for the support!).  Had a fantastic afternoon and felt very relaxed.

Emu Park.  Cheers to water

Day 3 Saturday 29th 2022

Woke up early feeling awesome for work.  Again, still a little tired as end of week, and had been a big week with the public holiday in the middle (and a day of drinking).  

This afternoon Brett made up alcohol free Espresso Martini’s. They tasted great! But I hadn’t realised he was going to make them (at 5:30pm) and earlier that afternoon I had an espresso shot.  So found it a little harder to get to sleep that night.

Espresso Martinis (alcohol free) poolside

Day 4 Sunday 30th January 

Woke up at 7am and felt pretty crappy.  I woke at 3, 4 and 5:30am thanks to my precious puppy.  So, from 3am I was on the couch, and I probably should have just got up at 5:30am and trained.  As I didn’t feel like it at 7am, and we headed to the beach at 9:30am. 

Second beach trip in 3 days!  We had a fantastic morning out with family and it was an amazing feeling to wake up hangover free – just need to get the sleep sorted a little more.

We enjoyed our usual cheese and cracker platter by the pool in the afternoon, with a glass of flavoured sparkling water.  

Found the weekend surprisingly easy to get through.  On Saturday night our ‘alcohol-free buddy’ Zena had called at 6:30pm to say she was at a party with a bar tab, but her and Pete were holding strong.  So that was definitely good motivation for us to stick with it! And they should be amazingly proud of themselves for keeping the commitment!

First weekend down and feel great!

Zena and Pete.Holding strong at a party with a bar tab

Day 5 Monday 31st January

Woke up this morning and felt amazing!  Didn’t start work until 8:30am (PT sessions) so I did 45mins of intervals on the treadmill.  I had 3 PT sessions and I definitely felt my mood was better, more patient and less irritable – no Mondayitis! 

After work this evening I had a minor stress with work, I felt rushed as I’d just finished work and was receiving messages, whilst trying to cook dinner and deal with family.  At a time like that I definitely would have just instantly poured a glass of wine, but stuck it out.  Was a little cranky but I feel I calmed down a little quicker.

Day 6 Tuesday 1st February

Early start this morning – 4:20am alarm, but I was pretty much awake from 3am.  Early morning alarms tend to make me not sleep as well and I tend to time check a lot through the night (even though I’ve never slept through one!).  

I did feel great at work though, had to teach boxing and then I walked and felt like my energy was sustained.  I also had a busy morning with video calls and a hair appointment.  

Felt a bit tired after a nana nap and by the end of the day I ended up with a massive headache.  Again, I would usually self-medicate with a glass of wine, but I had a really relaxed time cooking dinner, Bella sat at the bench chatting and Brett was in his first good mood since we started Alcohol free lol.  

Headache eased a little and I just went to bed early. 

Day 7 Wednesday 2nd February

Had a fantastic night sleep, woke up headache free and feeling amazing!  Wednesday is one of my big mornings of PT sessions so it was great to be feeling pumped throughout the whole morning.  

Day 8 Thursday 3rd February

Weigh in day and weighed the same, but my food has not been great with kids on school holidays still, and 2 days of fish and chips at the beach!  Again, woke up this morning and felt great.  Didn’t have work this morning so started the day with Bodypump.  I’m still needing my nana nap in the middle of the day but finding my energy a little better in the morning.

Day 9 Friday 4th February 

Felt great again this morning and had a super early start.  Tonight we went to the in-laws for dinner so it was good to get out of the house.  I must admit I didn’t even really miss not having a wine tonight, considering it was a Friday.  I probably found tonight easier than every other night this week 😊

Day 10 Saturday 5th February

Woke feeling great, and felt great all day.  In the afternoon sat outside with kids and dogs and was definitely feeling like a wine.  Just distracted myself with cooking dinner with Bella and playing some music to dance around to. 

Day 11 Sunday 6th February

Actually woke up this morning feeling like I was hungover!  I feel I slept well but probably only had about 6 hours sleep.  I felt sluggish and my neck felt achy.  But other Sunday’s (after drinking Saturday night) I would have just stayed on the couch.  Even though I didn’t feel great this morning I did 20mins on the treadmill and then 30mins Barre with my daughter and niece.  Still felt a bit “off” all day, wondering if it’s an end of week exhaustion that I usually put down to a night of drinking before???

This afternoon/evening I was very productive with tidying my study, and then washing fruit and getting a little organised in the kitchen.  It felt great to take some time on Sunday to organise the week, instead of kicking back with a wine.

Be Hot Studio. Barre with Kaitlyn and Bella

Day 12 Monday 7th February

Slept for nearly 8 hours and felt amazing this morning – much better than yesterday!  School starts back today and even though it will make mornings and afternoons a little more hectic, I am extremely excited to catch up on some bookwork time with lots of exciting things happening in the business.  My plan for afternoons is to just be organised, and not feel rushed/stressed.  

Day 16 Friday 11th February

I’ve been feeling awesome this week!  I’ve definitely noticed in a drop in my sugar cravings and more stabilised energy throughout the day.  Yesterday I did a 1 day gentle juice cleanse from a local health food store.  I felt really great most of the day, just got a bit ‘’hazy” in the head towards the afternoon, but was fine once I went to work later in the afternoon.
Tonight we headed out to dinner with our ‘alcohol-free buddies’ Pete and Zena – so there were no drinks at all!  It was a great night out, I had a soda and lime and to be honest I didn’t really miss the alcohol at all.  Again, it was just the habit I missed. 

Victoria Tavern. Challenge buddies!

Day 17 Saturday 12th February

I worked this morning until 8:15am but when I finished work we were both out in the garden for an hour or 2 getting some work done.  Something that we are usually not super keen on, especially after a few drinks the night before.  Again, I felt really good all day and my energy levels were sustained throughout the day.  My pup woke me up at 4:44am and I was going to lie on the couch for 30mins until my alarm, but when I saw the glow of the sunrise I decided to sit outside for 15mins and enjoy it.  It was an amazing way to start the day and weekend. 

All week the sunrises and sunsets have been amazing so we decided to take some chicken and salad up Mount Archer to watch the sunset.  I found a non-alcoholic Rose in the fridge that we took up, and we had an awesome evening.  Again, I didn’t miss the alcohol at all, and only had the Rose as a novelty (would have been happy with just water to be honest). 

Mount Archer

Day 18 Sunday 13th February

Pup had me awake super early this morning but we went back to sleep on the couch until 6am.  I did feel 100 times better than last Sunday so that was a bonus.  I walked with a friend at 7am and then I spent an hour or 2 in the morning out in the garden – I can’t remember the last time I would have done 2 mornings on a weekend of gardening!!  

Brett and Bella were out all afternoon until 5:30pm and I did struggle with the munchies a bit more today, I think just because I was home and bored.  But usually if I had some peaceful time and watching trashy tv on a Sunday arvo, I would honestly have poured a glass of wine any time after 3pm. We would also usually relax on a Sunday evening with a wine or 2 and usually get woodfire pizza (as they park across from our house), but we decided to have stir fry for dinner.  Again, another win, of not only skipping the alcohol but feeling more motivated in choosing a better meal option. 

Day 19 Monday 14th February 

I felt great this morning and got up early to do Bodypump at 6am, but through the morning I’ve noticed my mood slipping.  I was a bit grouchier in PT sessions today than I had been the last couple of Mondays.  My mood may be hormonal though, and it is also Valentine’s Day and we would usually celebrate with a bottle of red wine and some Thai, but tonight we are just doing a regular Monday night family dinner.  So not sure if that is also affecting my mood subconsciously.  

Evening update: my mood did not get much better, and I got cranky at Brett so we hardly spoke at night and I just went to bed early.  I did have a Non-alcoholic cocktail that I found in the back of the fridge and it was actually really nice, and something I would buy again (I got this one in a gift box).  

Non-Alcoholic Italian Spritz – Naked Life Non-Alcoholic Cocktails & Mixed Drinks (nakedlifespirits.com.au)

Day 20 Tuesday 15th February

I was woken at 3:30am by my puppy and didn’t get much more sleep before my alarm at 4:20am.  Again, I’ve noticed my mood is quite low and feeling tired.  This could again be hormonal, lack of sleep or it has been an overcast and drizzly day.  Due to this my eating has been a little out of control with sugar!  We purchased some sweets yesterday and I’ve been eating them all day.  Which of course then ends up making me more tired and grouchy.  

I’m wondering today if I am ending the Challenge the way Brett started it – in a bad mood lol. 

Day 21 Wednesday 16th February

The final day and feeling amazing!!  I’ve really been aware of some interesting effects of drinking, or not drinking.  We have a big social weekend planned this weekend, and I’m a little disappointed that it’s not a quiet weekend at home.  I do tend to get a little social anxiety, and I know I use alcohol as a way to relax in these situations.  

I’m really proud of both Brett and myself, and Zena and Pete for committing to the 21 days together.  It definitely helped having not only your spouse to support, but friends that you could touch base with throughout the time.  

One of the biggest things I was really surprised about was how much I struggled through the week, and then found the weekends easier!  It’s made me aware of obviously using alcohol as a relaxant during the busy work week.  Moving forward we are planning to continue alcohol free days Monday – Thursday, and then limit how many drinks we have over the weekend.  I know that through the work week I just need to be more mindful of slowly down, not stressing about the little details and enjoying each day/evening with my clients and family. 

With regards to my weight, I lost around 1kg over the 3 weeks.  And I really made no other great changes to my diet except cutting alcohol.  I have definitely noticed though that I have lost cm’s around my midsection.  But more importantly it’s the change in my energy and moods that I’ve really noticed.  Over the last 2 years I have felt an increase in anxiety, and I know this can be a result of the current global situation during this time, but I am also very mindful that alcohol can lead to low moods and an increase in anxiety. 

I’ve also learnt that getting a puppy will greatly interrupt your sleep and make you crave sugar, caffeine and alcohol more lol.  But it also brings so much more joy into life!!

My cute puppy Lily


Welllll what a crazy 4 weeks it’s been, and disappointingly we have not stuck to our guidelines as much as we would have liked.  We finished off our challenge with way too big of a weekend!  And then coming straight off that weekend was my BIRTHDAY WEEK!  My birthday was on a Tuesday so that blew my no-drinking through the week goal. 

We got back on track the following week, but then unfortunately the last week my son tested positive to the virus and we all had to isolate for 7 days at home.  For me this meant no work, no outside walks, no social interactions, no focus.  And with not working each afternoon it was way too easy to have a wine instead!  BUT we are getting ourselves back on track.  I am always aware that you can’t be perfect all the time, and there will always be hurdles thrown at us in life.  It’s not always about how you jump over those hurdles, but also about how you recover when you trip up on them.   

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