Wow. What an incredibly cool experience. Not only did the fourth annual #AlcoholFreeFor40 Challenge bring about immensely positive changes in participants’ energy, sleep, appearance, attitude and mood, it also resulted in measurable, quantifiable improvements in weight, blood pressure and cholesterol, inflammatory markers.
All in just 30 days.
Here’s a summary of our findings from this year’s #AlcoholFreeFor40, below, which were compiled and analyzed by Eat Fit Ambassador Jala Lockhart.
Of the 197 participants who attended the pre-challenge metrics (body composition, blood pressure, labs, and up-close photo of face), 80 returned for the post-challenge comparison metrics. The data below is based on participants who attended both screening events.
Drinking habits: At the onset of the challenge, 34 percent reported six or more drinks a week, 23 percent reported 3-5 drinks a week and 38 percent of participants reported alcohol 0-2 times a week. At the end of the challenge, 74 percent reported that they successfully gave up drinking alcohol completely for the duration of the challenge. Of those who did not give up alcohol entirely for the challenge, nearly one-third reported a significant decrease in the amount of alcohol they consumed.
Mood, energy and focus: 66 percent of participants reported beneficial changes in these subjective measures; 27 percent saw improvement in hair, skin and nails.
Weight and body composition: 86 percent experiencing a drop in total body weight as well as body fat. Ten participants lost 10 or more pounds during the challenge, and muscle mass increased in 43 percent of participants.
Inflammation: 20 percent of participants had elevated hs-CRP levels (a marker of inflammation) that improved with the challenge. Half of these dropped down into the window normal limits; the others were still slightly elevated but still improved.
Lipid profile: 25 percent of participants saw a 30-point or greater drop in total cholesterol, and 43 percent experienced a modest drop in cholesterol. Sixty-five percent saw a decrease in triglycerides. It should be noted, however, that not all participants fasted for the labs, which can influence lipid profile results.
Liver enzymes: All but one of the participants who started out with elevated AST had normal levels at the end of the challenge.
I shared a snapshot of the overwhelmingly positive feedback in my column a few weeks ago, and here are two more success stories centered on measurable, trackable metrics:
“I no longer have pre-diabetes. I also have no more reflux, my blood pressure is lower, I’ve lost weight and I’m sleeping better – all HUGE positive results for me.”
Another participant had GGT levels (an marker of liver health) nearly twice the upper limit at the beginning of the challenge; this was within normal limits at the end of the challenge, along with inflammatory marker CRP that dropped from slightly above normal to normal. Triglycerides went from 665 to 236 (still above the upper limit of 150, but nonetheless a tremendous improvement). All with the added bonus of a loss of 2.5 pounds of body fat.
All in all, the #AlcoholFreeFor40 challenge has been such a positive experience for so many of our participants – many who live in or around NOLA, and many who have joined us from as far as Maryland, Seattle and Spain – and truly so incredibly rewarding for me, as well. Thank you all who have joined us in this journey!
We do the challenge each Lent, but you can try it anytime. Here are some tips if you do. The Facebook group remains active throughout the year.