Giving up Alcohol. Best decision ever.

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Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not a big drinker. I like a glass of wine with my dinner and a couple of social drinks at the weekend. The problem is, with my job, attending events is a big part of it. And there’s always a glass of bubbles, and you tend to pick one up and sip on it. If you add two events a week, to the odd glass of vino, it can add up right under your eyes without really noticing. Back in December I was asked to be part of the launch of On the Dry with the Irish Heart Foundation and be in the campaign imagery to help promote the benefits of giving up the tipple for the month of January.

lorna weightman on the dry

Before I said yes, I had a look at what people did in 2014 and the ultimate goal: what were the health benefits and did they materialise? One particular article stood out where the man in the feature lost a stone, but more importantly, re-thought how much he drank from there on.

I’m not overweight, nor do I eat unhealthily, but shedding a few pounds sounded alright to me. Plus I have a horrific family history with heart issues. It started when I was 11 with Dad having his first heart attack one Friday afternoon while cutting the hedge. Not fun. In 2003, when I was in third year college and about to embark on a J1 on the west coast of the US (had to stay to the East coast on Mum’s orders in the end), Dad had to have a quadruple bypass following a routine check up with the cardiologist. Four arteries were blocked. Two months later, Dad was hauled up in the Blackrock Clinic having open heart surgery.

I’ll always remember going to see him the night before. The anaesthtist came in to give him a brief on what was going to happen, and we got chatting. He was a Trinity graduate. I told Dad he was in good hands with a Doc from my place of study. We laughed but it was tainted with an edge of fear. I’ve never seen my Dad afraid ever, not before then, and not after that moment. Just in THAT moment. The following day, he went into a seven hour surgery and from there straight into intensive care. Me and Mum went to see him and it’s the most life altering sight to see your parent on a breathing machine, along with several other machines making that scary ER beeping noise. But it was all fine. He recovered, with the exception of being rushed back in thanks to a nice little clot in his lung a month after discharge. He spent two more months in the lovely surroundings of Blackrock. But seriously, it’s like a hotel in there. A beautiful view, food’s not bad and the best care. Ever. We’ve never been able to explain, or show how much, heartfelt thanks we had for those nurses and doctors. And the VHI. Thank God for good health insurance. Dad is 67, and as cranky as ever.

But reflecting on that time, was the only catalyst I needed to give up alcohol for one month. One small change, to keep me out of the danger zone as a direct descended of the man with the dodgy heart. Thanks for that Dad.

So come New Year’s Eve at 12 midnight, I was in my friends house having dinner. I took the last sip of my nice Chianti and that was it. No wine, no Friday G&Ts for 31 days. But little did I know how giving up something in which I didn’t over indulge, would change my opinion and my approach to my lifestyle. I decided to make sure I kept up a good exercise routine at the same time. Running three/four times a week for about 4-5km a time. Slowly my fitness started to improve in a matter of weeks. And so has my weight. It’s day 28, I’m nearly there and my waist is two inches smaller. I’ve lost seven pounds. I never knew that alcohol could be so fattening!!

I’ve three days to go. But things are going to change. I don’t miss it. I’ve been drinking soda water and lime or elderflower cordial which in fairness, tastes way nicer. And there’s no hangover. My skin is completely clear. I feel….great.

So what now? I’ve proven I have willpower, not to anyone, other than myself. And I’m the only one I have to prove things to. I don’t think I’m going to stop that’s what. I’m staying on the band wagon a little longer. But not through abstinence. I’m not going to drink during the week. And my weekend limit, is two glasses of wine. No more. I’m going to keep running. Not only is it good for you, it’s liberating. I have been doing my best plotting while pounding the pavement around Herbert Park in my highlighter pink running pants. Attractive I know.

But I’ve a new attitude. So being On the Dry, wasn’t really dry at all. In fact, it was hydrating. To my body and my mind. And I’m not going to argue with that.



  1. admin
    March 8, 2015 / 2:26 pm

    Thanks Mary Cate! Well done to you too!

  2. February 20, 2015 / 10:30 am

    Well done Lorna. I gave up the drink about four or five months ago and I’ve never looked back! I was the same as you, only drank at the weekends but I feel like I’ve so much more energy and time to do stuff on Saturdays and Sundays!