As we approach the end of the year, we start reflecting on what went well and what did not. We will search deep for our desires and sometimes will feel regret on what we didn’t have time to do. What if I can show you a way that your desires will come true in 2019 without promising you a magic pill? What if there are achievable ways to make time for your dreams and growing as a person? What if I told you that there is a way to become happy by making small changes? And it is all in front of you in and it is as simple as water.
This year has been amazing in so many ways. Working with Michael Masha and Martin Riese to become a Water Sommelier has been a life changing experience. Becoming the first graduate of the Fine Water Academy has just been the icing on the cake.
What this year has done has changed my relationship with liquids, in particular with alcohol and my transition to my zero-calorie drink intake.
Yes, you read that correctly. I do not consume any calories when taking drinks. Period. What sounds like a dull and boring experience has become an elevation of my life perspective and a substantial improvement of my health to levels I would have never imagined to be possible. It is an entirely different world.
I only consume three type of drinks: Water, Tea and Coffee. All of them in their natural and purest form do not contain any calories. That requires skipping sugar or milk or anything else. The trick is how to make it interesting, have fun in life and experience joy and flavor with this horrible sounding drink mix.
Let’s start with the benefits.
Go back 15 months ago and you would find me in the evening on the couch in a sad mood having consumed glasses of wine to dull the sadness. I was exhausted, depressed due to heart problems, and morbidly obese. I did not have any energy and was not looking forward to what was coming. My marriage and my relationship to my kids where hanging by a thin thread, spiraling downwards. My doctors did not make my life outlook too promising unless I decided to change something radically.
Then came October 2017. Something made ‘click’ and the pieces were slowly falling into place. I joined a group called ‘One Year NoBeer (OYNB)’ to find that straw of hope to cling on to. Once you sign up, you receive a short daily video on Day 1 , Day 2 and so on. Each video would focus on what can be done to change your life, one single step at a time. I started to take small steps, and made small changes. Eventually the small changes started to lead to big changes. The OYNB community would lift me up, put energy under my wings to make me fly higher and be myself. One day became 28 , 28 days became 90 days and 90 days became 365 days. One year without a single drop of alcohol!
What sounded like a horrific, sad and uncomfortable journey has become the best journey of my life. Back to the present. I lost 75 pounds, maintained my target weight for the past 5 months (BMI 22.5), have perfect blood pressure (114/71) and I am starting to see the shape of a six pack (not in the form of cans but on my stomach). I experience levels of energy I haven’t seen in 15 years and my family could not be more happy with me.
Having control over your calorie intake for drinks gives you better control over your nutrition management and ultimately over your wellness for the day. Instead of a constant roller coaster ride of cravings and energy lows and highs, it is a more stable and joyful experience. One that lets you focus on growth and a balanced approach towards health and happiness.
That single step in October 2017 created a journey which continues to elevate me to new heights.
How to do it?
Being a water and tea sommelier has helped a lot. Through the fine water academy I learned to experience and appreciate water on a different level. I learned to see water as an affordable luxury. I started to learn about the origins and the taste profiles of water and how water can become not just a hydration tool but also an enjoyable part of my dining experience. During my journey I learned that balance is essential to move forward and grow as a person. Complement this with the varieties of tea and coffee and I have all that I need to enjoy my life, while maintaining my health.
When we grow up we are culturally programmed. We are told at a young age that in order to have fun we need to drink alcohol and that it is cool to drink with your friends. Advertising for alcohol is all around us and many studies are trying to convince us that alcohol in moderation is good for our health. What the ads do not tell us is what alcohol is doing to our body, not only the drink, but the sugar and the calories. The ads do not tell us what alcohol does to our energy levels and to our development.
“Having alcohol is borrowing happiness from tomorrow”
We all want to be happy. Our whole life purpose is to stay happy or to become happier. We are told that alcohol is the solution, that once we drink we will be happy. Yet sometimes we do not understand the difference between happiness and pleasure. Pleasure can be good or bad and it might not lead to the road to happiness. A short term pleasure kick might set us on the path to illness. A lot of addictions prove that. Our body likes the feeling once we drink alcohol but regret sets in the next morning when we have a hangover. Somehow we forget and the cycle starts over again, looking for that happiness.
The marketing world around us is so helpful. They present us with shortcuts so we do not have to put in the hard work to grow or to achieve happiness. They suggest us that short term pleasure (over and over) is good for us and that sustainable and long term happiness is a fiction. Here is a pill to make you happy. Here is a pill for weight loss. Have a beer to make you feel better and to get comfortable. Take this drink to achieve great things. Have this comfort food to make you feel better.
Short cuts (the way marketing suggests) almost never lead to happiness. They give us instant gratification but they will be soon over and the problems will be still there, in some cases even worse.
Over the past year I have learned to become happy by drinking water. I enjoy the different tastes and stories behind the waters. I am on a path to show people that drinking mineral water can be cool and can improve your taste experience and your wellness. This is my mission as a water sommelier and I am joined by a few converted who hopefully can join together to reach the broader masses. With my OYNB friends we feel like the unplugged from the movie ‘The Matrix’, seeing real life as it really is. A big part of becoming a better human is to help others and as a water sommelier I am planning to do just that.
Having a life that makes me a happy, while at the same time makes me grow, keeps me healthy and elevates my ability to function as a better human being. It is priceless. I am trying to reach out to you, to help you to see that once you give up a little bit (like booze) you can gain something bigger (a happy and fulfilled life).
I hope you can join me on that quest. Feel free to reach out to me for further details. For my fellow OYNB friends, I have written 10 blogs on the OYNB facebook page on my main success factors to stay sober and have fun for 365 days.