Decided To Give Up Drinking For The New Year? 14 Things That May Happen To Your Body

Choosing to go sober for your New Year’s resolution? Not to worry. We’ll never dictate what goals you decide to set for yourself for 2024, but if you choose a life of no alcohol, read more! A lot of people don’t realize the extent to which your body benefits from cutting alcohol out of your system, and so we’re here to help you with that should you choose to go down that path.

It can be challenging to commit to such as goal, so we’re helping you out with some of the positive, fact-based occurrences that happen to your body once you decide to quit alcohol. Read more below and feel free to bookmark this article once the tough gets going.

Your Blood Sugar Levels Balance Out After A Few Days

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Soon after cutting out alcohol, your body will adjust to its new sugar levels. However, while it’s working itself out, you’ll find yourself craving foods that are high in sugar, but that’s just your body adjusting. If you’ve been drinking two or more sugary drinks a night and you suddenly cut them out, your body’s going to try and get that sugar in one way or another.

If you can keep away from the sweets while your body adjusts, you should be just fine. Writing for Better Humans, Malcolm Bedell explained his cravings: “I’ve noticed a craving for sugar that would be enough to render a healthy person diabetic, and make a 5-year-old your best friend for life.”

You Will Stop Binge Eating

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One symptom that typically accompanies drinking is a need to feed. When you’re drinking, it just feels right to snack a little — and, while there’s nothing wrong with that, if you’re drinking to excess multiple days out of the week, you’re also probably eating many unnecessary calories.

The “aperitif effect” is the name researchers have coined for this phenomenon, pointing out that alcohol tricks a person’s brain into entering a “starvation mode.” According to their research, “We propose that the alcohol-associated activity… is the critical step in alcohol-induced overeating.”

Once you cut out drinking, ​that desire for carbs is heavily reduced. ​​​​​​Dietician Jenny Champion affirms that after about 72 hours without a drink you lose your carb cravings and “finally feel back to yourself physically and mentally.”

Your Quality Of Sleep Will Improve

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Do you find that you jolt awake in the middle of the night or early in the morning, bleary and completely unable to get back to sleep after a night of drinking? Alcohol interferes with your sleep — which is when your body reinvigorates itself — and without good, solid sleep, you’re more likely to be a mess all day. Once you cut alcohol out of your system, you’ll probably start sleeping more deeply.

Because of the better rest, you’ll feel more energy and your body will be more acutely prepared to fight off heart failure, heart disease, anxiety, and depression. 

You Will Reduce Your Risk Of Cancers

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Most drinkers don’t want to hear about how they’re more susceptible to mouth, breast, and liver cancer thanks to the way alcohol diminishes your immune system. Moderate-to-heavy consumption can notably increase this risk as well. According to the American Cancer Society:

Even a few drinks a week is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer in women. This risk may be especially high in women who do not get enough folate (a B vitamin) in their diet or through supplements. Alcohol can also raise estrogen levels in the body, which may explain some of the increased risk. Cutting back on alcohol may be an important way for many women to lower their risk.

Your Skin Will Clear Up

If you’re drinking regularly, you’ve probably noticed that your skin is a little dry and your face is puffier than it was in your youth. This is because alcohol dehydrates you, releases toxic byproducts, and causes inflammation, all of which can cause premature aging. Luckily, if you stop drinking, you won’t be stuck with the face of Dorian Gray’s painting forever. Human bodies are incredibly resilient, which means that with care and nourishment, your skin might return to something close to its original luster

How long it takes to notice the effects varies. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, and your skin will love you for it. 

The Fat Count In Your Liver Will Go Down

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Drinking puts a heavy strain on your entire body, but your liver suffers the brunt of night after night of partying hard. However, the liver is — somewhat surprisingly — one of the most resilient organs in your body; it can regenerate once you cut out alcohol. 

Depending on how much you drink, and how long you’ve been putting your liver through hardship, the organ’s function can improve. Along with liver function returning, your fat levels should return to normal within a couple of weeks after cutting out alcohol.

You May Lose Weight After A Month

You won’t notice the change overnight, but if you abstain for a few months, you’ll probably see a significant difference in your body — weight loss. After all, those spirits come with a lot of sugars and carbs attached. Obviously, you can’t just stop drinking and expect your body to trim down, but you will be able to use the new energy from all the sleep you’re getting to start working out.

Chopping the empty calories and sugar out of your diet is a crucial first step toward losing weight.

The Alcohol Craving Could Last A While

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Depending on how much you drank, what your drinking habits were like, and how susceptible you are to alcoholism, your craving for alcohol could last for years after you quit. Studies suggest that cravings and relapse are relatively common.

If you’ve spent years drinking, your body becomes used to its unnatural equilibrium, and it could take a long time to feel normal again. Some people crave alcohol every day, while some longtime drinkers like classic rocker Alice Cooper claim to have never experienced a need for a drink once they quit.

Your Immune System Could Get Stronger

Heavy drinking disrupts the human body’s immune system, potentially making you more susceptible to a variety of health issues. Keep in mind that some studies suggest moderate alcohol use can boost the immune system, while others show a connection between low alcohol use and a person’s likelihood to engage in other healthy habits.

But for people struggling with problem drinking, staying away is the best option.

Brain Damage Could Possibly Be Reversed

Long-term drinking can cause major damage to the human brain and can negatively affect your learning skills and impulse control. While cutting alcohol out of your diet won’t completely reverse the damage you’ve done to yourself, it may lead to eventual regeneration in your brain’s cells. 

Studies have suggested that years of abstinence can result in restoration of the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for reasoning and problem-solving.

Your Body Can Better Absorb Vitamins And Minerals

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Now that you’re living clean and sober, your body will be more prepared to absorb vitamins and minerals. Heavy alcohol consumption keeps the body from making use of the healthy parts of foods, which can lead to a condition called alcohol malnutrition. 

With the booze out of your system, your body can focus on taking in essential vitamins and minerals along with the macronutrients: fat, protein, and carbs. With these back in your system, you’ll find yourself on a healthier path.

Your Menstrual Cycle Can Better Regulate Itself

While writing for Blood and Milk, Jo Murphy noted how her menstrual cycle regulated itself after she cut alcohol out of her diet. While she was drinking, she didn’t realize she was so inconsistent, but after some research, Murphy found that stressing out her liver was affecting her estrogen levels, which changed how she ovulated. 

If you drink enough, your body receives signals to stop producing estrogen and progesterone because it believes that something is wrong. This can affect a person’s ability to get pregnant or may indicate other health problems like thyroid issues. Murphy said after four months without alcohol she returned to a regular cycle. 

You May Have More Energy

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Consuming alcohol affects everything in your body: how much sleep you get, how your body takes in the food you eat, and even the kind of food you crave. If you drink regularly, it’s likely you’ve adjusted to just feeling sluggish all the time, but that’s not how things have to be. 

While writing about his year of sobriety for Better Humans, Malcolm Bedell admitted he had so much energy he was “exercising for the first time in a decade, in part because quitting drinking has increased my overall energy levels and attitudes about my physical self.”

Heartburn And Indigestion Can Go Away

An interesting side effect of cutting alcohol out of your life is the way your digestive system responds. Without pumping constant booze into your stomach, the body can better digest whatever you’re eating. If you’re not drinking, you’re also more likely to avoid the grease and carbs an alcohol-heavy diet often invokes.

While discussing how alcohol changed his body, chef Malcolm Bedell wrote:

I was starting to suffer from some pretty ruthless heartburn. I’ve always had a fairly cast-iron stomach, with a steady diet consisting mostly of jalapeños, cheese, and Belgian beer. My wife noticed though that I was spending more and more time wandering around the house with the palm of my hand pressed firmly against my sternum, in an unconscious effort to quell the fire that began to rage in my guts any time I ate almost anything.

However, after giving up the drink, Bedell admitted, “It’s completely gone, now.”