It's time for a new blog series, showcasing amazing group humans putting their mindsets, health and well-being at the forefront of their life priorities. In this new series of Monday Motivators, you'll get to meet a whole new group of wonderful extra special humans talking about their achievements, passions - all on theme of what could motivate or inspire you. If you'd like to get involved, please drop me a DM, email or instant chat on my website.
Please let me introduce an amazing lady, Caroline, who has decided to quit alcohol for a healthier, more fulfilling life. Here's her story!
2 years ago my life was very different to how it is now.
Growing up I always had the sense that something wasn’t quite right with me, I always felt like the odd one out and like I wasn’t quite good enough. I have wracked my brains all my life trying to figure out what ‘caused’ all of this because to be honest on the surface I’ve led a fairly charmed existence but these feelings persisted none the less. By the time I was ten I developed crippling anxiety issues which persisted in varying extremes until very recently.
When I was a child food always made me feel better. I felt like I had this emptiness inside me that I was trying to fill. At the same time though I was aware of the weight I was gaining and was bullied terribly for it at school. I knew I shouldn’t eat the way I did but it really was the only thing that made me feel better. Then when I was around 14 I discovered alcohol and that was a total game changer.
Food and alcohol helped me manage my anxiety (so I believed) but these feelings of emptiness persisted. Over the years I was referred to a variety of counsellors and psychologists who tried to help and they always did in the short term but nothing ever ‘stuck’ and my old coping mechanisms would creep back in.
Throughout my 20’s I tried to control my weight and would literally starve myself until I lost a few stone then pile it all back on again. In this time I also became a total workaholic and would work gruelling hours, determined to climb the career ladder, believing a good salary and important job title would ‘cure’ me.
Fast forward to two years ago. I had the job title, I had the salary and I was still miserable. I was six stones overweight and drinking heavily to cope. The job I had strived after was not how I expected it to be and the hours I was having to work were soul destroying.
I knew something had to give. I was 6 stones overweight and drinking a bottle of wine every night, a lot more at the weekends. II wasn’t happy, my partner wasn’t happy and I knew I had to make some changes.
Firstly I stopped drinking. This was difficult to start with. I had tried over the years just moderating what I drank but this never worked, I always ended up slipping back into my ‘old’ ways so I decided to stop until my wedding, around 6 months later. I lost around a stone in weight in that time just as a result of not having the wine calories and the late night drunk pizzas! I was feeling wonderful not drinking and my anxiety had massively reduced so I decided to stop drinking for good, a decision I hope I will adhere to forever.
The following February my new husband and I went to New Zealand for our honeymoon. It was an incredible experience but looking back on the photos from the trip and from our wedding I felt miserable. I was still very overweight.
I decided to start losing weight properly and started to follow a low calories diet plan. I also started exercising regularly which I had not done for years. I tried all sorts of different things, including pole dancing, trampolining, Zumba, piloxing and I even did an insanity class (nearly died!) My firm favourites though are power walking and swimming. I cook from scratch and try to eat healthy, wholesome food that nourish my body instead of just looking for comfort all the time. I love that now when I feel a bit stressed instead of reaching for a bottle I put my tunes on and pound the streets for a few miles instead and I feel so much better, I never would have believed this to be the case two years ago.
Having made these positive changes I was able to gain the strength to admit my job was not right for me. I walked away from it and was offered a different role. It does not come with the fancy job title and was a dip in salary but it doesn’t matter. I love my new job, I love the people I work with and I love the feeling that I am finally looking after myself and doing the right things.
Today I am 4 (and a bit) stones lighter, and I have managed to pay off a lot of the debt I got into when I was drinking. I have actual hobbies now, as well as the walking I have started exploring stand-up comedy. I take time for myself, making sure I get enough rest and live by the motto ‘if it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t.’
I am a complete work in progress, I don’t know what the future holds but I am so excited now to find out instead of just being terrified all the time. Today I am happy and that is the most important thing.
Wow! Absolutely loved Caroline's story and how much on an impact alcohol made on her life and mindset. So inspiring to hear stories like hers! Well done to you Caroline. If you're also keen to ditch the pints, the One Year No Beer project is an amazing support system to get you off the drink and start changing your mindset! Check them out.
Thanks for reading