Losing body fat

It’s no secret that alcohol is stacked with calories. “So obviously, when you stop drinking, that’s a lot of calories that you don’t end up consuming, which can help create that calorie deficit to help you lose body fat. So you can expect to lose some good levels of body fat when you stop drinking.”

However, Sylvester adds that some people’s experience is actually the opposite and that they can find themselves putting on fat when they stop consuming alcohol, as they begin to eat more than they did while they were drinking. “Instead of focusing on your weight, focus on your newfound freedom,” he says. “It’s going to be easy to lose those few extra pounds once you’ve got a bit of sobriety under your belt.”

Increased energy

“Back when I was drinking, I would go to the gym, but when I got there I’d feel super low energy, and it would be 10 times worse if I had a hangover,” he says. “I’d have to force myself to train and just dragged myself through these workouts, and hated every moment of it… As a result, I hated exercise.” He recalls that when he stopped drinking, his energy levels went “through the roof” and he regained his enjoyment of training again.

Healthier food choices

When Sylvester drank, he would end up binging all kinds of junk food after a night out (which is far from uncommon). “It’s a ton of dead calories that don’t fuel your body,” he says. “When you don’t drink and you’re sober, it becomes a lot easier to manage your nutrition… and good nutrition means fewer peaks and troughs with your energy levels.”

Accountability

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Sylvester says that he used to find it harder to keep promises to himself, whether that be pledging he wouldn’t drink or making plans to go to the gym and then flaking out because he had a hangover. Being sober has helped him become more accountable to himself. “When you don’t have hangovers and those sluggish energy levels, keeping promises to yourself kind of becomes the norm. And I really believe that these little promises you make to yourself spread over into other areas of your life.”

Self-confidence

“When I drank alcohol, I just felt really bad about myself,” he says, adding that the other positive effects of stopping drinking, like weight loss and increased energy, had a huge impact on his self-esteem.

Muscle gain

“I was lifting weights while I was drinking, but I didn’t make a great deal of progress,” he says, but notes that he soon began to get more results when he got sober. He explains that his increase in self-confidence meant that going to the gym became less intimidating, and he was more inclined to push himself and take on new challenges. “It was really cool to see the progress and gains.”

Momentum

“It’s a lot easier to keep something in motion than it is to get something moving in the first place,” he says. “So while it might be really hard at the beginning to drag yourself to the gym, and it might feel like a chore, it gets easier as time goes on.”