Three weeks alcohol-free - what's happening in your body?

Lauren Booker | January 2024 | 7 minutes

At three weeks alcohol-free you're likely to have seen some brilliant benefits - but what's going on under the surface?

This text was adapted from Try Dry®: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze. You can buy it in a shop near you, online, or download the ebook for just £1.99.

Getting in shape!

You may be noticing the pounds dropping off as you cut out the booze - especially if you're using your newfound free time to get exercising (which, as we said in week two, will pay off faster without alcohol in your system).

As the average pint can rack up 200+ calories and a large glass of wine about the same it’s easy to see why you might find your waistband loosening after a couple of weeks. One study showed that men are likely to eat more calories but less fruit and milk, while women eat more fat on days when they drink.* Research has also found that you’re likely to eat more during a meal if you’ve had alcohol first.†

Or not...

On the other hand, if you find that you’re not dropping any weight, it could be because alcohol, like sugar, initially boosts the levels of happy chemicals in your brain. So, when you stop drinking, you may start to crave sugar and find you’re snacking a lot more. Don’t worry, that’s normal. If you’re not happy with your new sweet tooth, though, check out this blog on beating cravings.

Elephants never forget

By now, you might also start to notice improvements in your memory, particularly your short-term memory. You might find that you can retain information for longer, you’re less forgetful or that you’re more able to focus your attention.

* Breslow, R. A., et al, 2013, ‘Diets of drinkers on drinking and nondrinking days: NHANES 2003-2008’, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 97(5), 1068–75.

† Eiller, J. A., et al, 2015, ‘The apéritif effect: Alcohol’s effects on the brain’s response to food aromas in women’, Obesity Society Journal 23(7), 1386-93.

Oi – where are my Try Dry® benefits?

Some people will experience these benefits at different times, or not at all. This can be down to how much you were drinking before, other lifestyle changes (if you’re ditching your nightcap for an espresso, you’re not likely to have better sleep) or just the quirks of your particular body. That doesn’t mean your month off isn’t doing you good, and it doesn’t mean you won’t feel better over the longer term – so don’t give up if you’re not experiencing these effects exactly as they’re laid out above. And keep an eye out for benefits I don’t mention!

Download the free Try Dry® app. You can use it year-round to check your units, calories and money saved, and earn badges as you go.

Download the app

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