2020 was a tough year. With the pressures of COVID lockdown in Melbourne it sort of crept up on me a little bit. Two young kids, working from home, having dinner earlier…it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I think if you’re doing that three or four times a week and having a couple of beers each time, it very quickly adds up.

When you do that week in, week out, over a six month period, it’s amazing, before you know it, you put on your board shorts for the first time and you get a reality check. Which is why I’ve decided to take part in Febfast.

It all starts Monday – Feelings going into febfast

Transcript of video:

“G’day everyone, so I’m not really a “Dear Diary” kind of guy, but I thought I’m doing febfast, and whether or not you’re doing febfast with me or whether or not this can be a helpful tool for you to just give up the booze at any time, I wanted to share my experience with you. For me personally, I’m giving up the booze for a month as I just know I feel better both mentally and physically when I do it. Last year, in the peak of covid, I definitely found myself drinking a little bit more. And it’s one of those things that it might only be a little bit, but it creeps up on you. And I don’t feel as energized that I feel as motivated to put in a few extra kilos around the belly. So I’m going to do a video diary entry every week and explain to you guys how I’m feeling mentally and physically, what are the challenges that I’m finding and what are the benefits that I’m finding. And I want to share my experience with you on a weekly basis. So stay tuned.”

Week 1 – done!

Transcript of video:

Alright, diary time febfast, we are Monday, 8th of Feb, day eight of febfast.

And it’s really good doing these little videos on a Monday morning, because Monday morning is a really good test of productivity.

And I feel up and about and very productive, productive, productive this morning.

And I absolutely think I would attribute that to not having any alcohol on the weekend. I normally would have a few beers either on Friday or Saturday, which at the time doesn’t really feel like it has an impact, but it does tend to slow you down and you don’t hit the ground running like I am this morning on a Monday.

So I definitely think that’s a big tick. Have I found it hard? It’s interesting old habits do die hard and would absolutely it did feel a bit funny on Friday. I will admit that I wasn’t having a glass of wine or a couple of beers after a busy week at work, but swapped it for a soda water and a kombucha.

Feel really good now.

And I really believe the hardest, hardest time when you’re changing your habits like this is the first week or two. And I keep telling myself that the first two weeks will be the first two weeks will be the hardest, because I’m telling myself that I’m staying strong, staying positive, and so far so good.

Week 2 – easier than Week 1!

Transcript of video:

So here we are, Feb 15, febfast diary number two, and really interesting week because Melbourne went back into lockdown on Friday. So I even had people DM me and say, oh, I bet you’re regretting doing bedfast fast now.

No, I actually think the fact that I’m doing it one, it locked me in so I could kind of not even contemplate it, it was like “nup, I’ve made this decision.” And two it’s actually really help me with perspective and resilience through a pretty tough, otherwise tough time. I feel in control. I feel positive. I feel strong.

And yeah, at the end of week two, I definitely feel like it was easier than Week 1. And I just I just feel good. I feel healthy, I feel fit. I’m doing more exercise and yeah, in a really good place and Week 2 definitely better than Week 1.

Week 3 – almost there!

Transcript of video:

G’day everyone, welcome this week’s Febfast Video Diary.

So a couple of things have occurred to me this week. First of all, I had my first real social outing since being on Febfast on Friday night as I went to the tennis with my wife, Snez. And it’s kind of weird how you convince yourself in your head that everybody else is drinking. And it’s so crazy that you’re not having a beer or a glass of wine at these things. No one cares. No one notices, couldn’t have cared less, had a mineral water instead of where I would have had a couple of beers, felt great, drove home, happy days.

And it really was it was interesting that it was something I’d built up in my head as being so much more than what it actually was. I think that was the point. The other interesting thing is I’ve started to enjoy some really good substitutes. I’ve never drank more of my favorite Remedy Kombucha, but just other things with bubbles, mineral water or whatever it might be.

And I guess the last thing that sort of dawned on me just before I sat down to chat to you guys today is I can’t believe it’s three weeks done already. And four weeks really isn’t a huge amount of time. It’s a perfect time because it’s long enough to, I think, validate or teach you a really valuable lesson. But it’s short enough that it really does breeze by if you’re in the right kind of in the zone mindset. And I’m going to take a lot out of these for weeks. Can’t believe three weeks is gone already and I’m sure the next week is going to fly by just the same.

Week 4!

Transcript of video:

So here we are, Monday, March 1st, Febfast done and how do feel mixed emotions, a little bit proud of myself, although it’s not such a huge deal, but a little bit proud of myself and a little bit sad. And I know that sounds strange because, of course, I have the control to keep it going if I want to. 

But I just feel I feel like it really held me in good stead because I made such a decision that I wasn’t going have a sip for the entire month, that’s not to say I’ve ran out on the 1st of March and had beers for breakfast. But it has, it did give me that structure and that discipline and that accountability in that I think target to aim for.

So that’s a learning in itself. I think for me, I will set myself from now on one to probably three months per year that I have alcohol free and I might even go for a little bit longer. And some of them might do a two month stretch or even a three month stretch, particularly through winter. 

It’s taught me that I don’t need those one or two beers and the peer pressure that perhaps you build up in your head is never as bad as you think it’s going to be. I haven’t lost all my friends this month. I haven’t had my social life go down the drain. I’ve been able to still keep up appearances, socialize, all of that kind of thing. For me, it hasn’t been the full epiphany to never drink again, because I do think that if you can reintroduce it with moderation and balance, that that can be for my personal life, my personal experience, the best balance where I still get to enjoy some social drinking with my friends, let my hair down from time to time with a beer or a glass of red. But I don’t need to go overboard and I don’t need to rely on it to socialize. 

And from a fitness perspective, both mentally and physically never felt better, clearer, sharper, leaner, stronger. I’ve gained more muscle. I’ve lost more body fat. 

And yeah, I’ve been really consistent with my training, really productive with my work and lots and lots of time, no hangovers, all that stuff with my beautiful family. So tons and tons of positives definitely shift your mind to you should live more like this more often. Not necessarily cold turkey, but the benefits are undeniable. It’s been a wonderful experience and Febfast I’ll see you next year and months off alcohol later this year. Coming my way

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change to their lives. Sam Wood has over 20 years experience as a personal trainer and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators in the health & fitness industry. Sam is the founder and personal trainer of 28, Australia’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program, and he's also the proud owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed, based in Brighton, Melbourne.