Want to Try a 2-Week Alcohol Detox? Here's What to Expect - Women's Health

Want to Try a 2-Week Alcohol Detox? Here’s What to Expect

Advice from a dietitian.

These aren’t easy times. From isolation, homeschooling, financial stress, and an endless list of other issues – it’s been stressful and emotionally draining for many.

For a lot of us, that means we’ve upped our alcohol intake to help cope (quite naturally). And while bad habits can happen to the best of us, breaking them is a bit tricker. 

That’s where we enlisted the advice of practicing dietitian and exercise physiologist, Kate Save. Kate is also the co-founder and CEO of Be Fit Food, whose rapid weight loss programs are founded on the science of breaking bad habits.

According to Kate, there are three key benefits to expect from a two week circuit breaker:

Dropping a few of the covid-kgs: 

As well as being just empty calories, alcohol often leads to eating a lot more. Think about it… we often eat before we drink to line our stomachs and during drinking because we have the nibbles. We also eat to soak up the alcohol after drinking, and something gloriously greasy the next day to see us through the hangover. 

Most of us know that the liver processes toxins, and that alcohol can be damaging to that, but did you know, the liver actually plays an important role in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and protein? 

If the liver is damaged by too much alcohol, it affects the way your body metabolises and stores carbohydrates and fats, which can inhibit weight loss. 

Alcohol pauses the liver from burning any calories we eat while in our blood stream, and stores those calories in our bodies, even as body fat, until our blood sugar levels return to 0.00BAC. This is because our body is smart, it wants to protect us from the ‘poisoning’ effects of alcohol by burning this off as a priority, however given we often eat before, during and after drinking, it’s no wonder our body fat levels can creep up with regular drinking behaviors. 

Getting a more restful night of sleep: 

The effects of alcohol and sleep have been studied for decades, yet there’s still so much to be discovered. Sleep is when your body heals so a better sleep will do all sorts of wonderful things for your body, including boosting your immune system.

When on the detox, you might find it harder initially to nod off to sleep, but this is only temporary. Just because alcohol may help some people get to sleep quicker to start with, it causes you to wake up during the night, fuels poorer quality sleep and tiredness over the next day.

So keep to it and you’ll find after a few days your energy levels will skyrocket. 

Detoxing the depressant for elevated moods: 

You might feel good with a glass or two in the short term, but it’s a depressant for a reason. Alcohol is an addictive substance that can cause symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. You can’t expect one or even two days sober will leave you feeling like Mary Sunshine, but stay with it.

Like with sleep, it might be tougher during the first few days, but again, the science is real and you will feel much better more energised, and emotionally-balanced to handle stressful situations once you get through that initial withdrawal. 

Remember it’s okay to admit you’ve adopted some bad habits, but just believe you can crack them. For many it’s a case of routine and habit so substitute drinks are a great idea – soda with fresh lime or fruit infused water. Natural iced tea or kombucha work, and while you should watch out for sugar free soft drinks with artificial sweeteners, it’s still better for you than alcohol. 

During your detox, expect a few tough days early but know you’ll come out happier and healthier. Remember to keep good company, do the detox or diet with a friend, or enlist a service where you have professional support to keep you on track. If you are struggling during this time though, a healthcare provider is there to help. 

By Nikolina Ilic

Nikolina is the web-obsessed Digital Editor at Men's and Women's Health, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she spends most of the time in the gym or with her husband and daughter. She was previously a Digital Editor at GQ and Vogue magazine.

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