DRY JANUARY BLOG (PART 4): Exciting news for rugby player Stephen

Stephen having his blood pressure checked, pictured with David Turnbull, health improvement officer, Public Health, Northumberland County Council.
Stephen having his blood pressure checked, pictured with David Turnbull, health improvement officer, Public Health, Northumberland County Council.
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Stephen Parsons is an amateur rugby player and coach at Morpeth Rugby Club, a Northumberland County Council employee and a big fan of the Newcastle Falcons and he's giving up alcohol for a month - Dry January.

News just in! For the first time in ages, I can now fasten up the top button on my shirts.

Stephen playing rugby. Picture by Chris Lishman Photography

Stephen playing rugby. Picture by Chris Lishman Photography

I’ve lost weight!

David in the Public Health team took all my measurements again this morning and, yes, I’ve lost weight, which I am very happy about as this is one of my big goals in Dry January.

I’m feeling better with more energy and, wow, look at me, I can now fasten up the top button on my shirts; something I couldn’t do four weeks ago.

This has been a cracking end but it has also been a challenging week – quite a toughie.

I'm not sure if it’s the dark days, the cold, the snow or the rain, or the post-Christmas January blues, but I was definitely close to going for a drink over the weekend; yes, an alcoholic one. This was not helped by the number of text messages and invites out I was getting from friends from various pubs.

And after a freezing cold session at rugby on Friday night, I had to resist temptation when I saw my team-mates standing there with ‘the beers’ after training. The ‘after-training beer’ has always been one of my favourites and, this week, it was tempting. I stuck to my guns though and the barmaid was visibly shocked with my lime and soda order.

I do miss things about alcohol. I’m not sure if it's the taste or if it’s the social side of drinking and, occasionally, I find myself day-dreaming about it. This is quite weird.

I guess, it’s all part of the process – it’s not just the physical thing, it’s the mental side of it.

As part of my drinking habits, I would usually be out with either the rugby lads, or friends from school. As I’m staying in more, I’m not having the same number of catch-ups and the social elements that come with a beer and putting worlds to right. I guess it’s just different and for the past three weeks, I’ve been frequenting the local coffee shops and, hey, coffee’s fine by me.

It’s all food (and drink) for thought.

The weekend had a ‘blue’ feeling to it – very January – and I decided it was best not to go out over the weekend. I ended up being very productive, getting a lot of the housework done on Saturday and I then had a wonderfully lazy Sunday, sat on the sofa.

Although the lads from the rugby club like to try to tempt me with pints, and they’re loving the media coverage this past week – and my honest picture – I am getting a lot of support from them as well, including hints, tips and alternatives to beer. Thanks guys, I really appreciate it.

I'm also very grateful for all of the sponsorship which I have raised so far for the CHUF charity.

Today’s weight report is a big boost and I’ve set myself a target of a 10-pound weight loss by the end of the month. I’m monitoring the number of steps I do in a day and I’m currently averaging 4,500 over the past couple of weeks. I’ve now set myself the aim of 6,000 per day for February as a target to get more active.

I'm powering on with the challenge, remaining strong despite the natural moments of doubt, and I’m planning events in February which are giving me the determination to continue the challenge.

For any music fans among you, I’ve decided to pick a song for this week’s entry; it’s got to be The Eagles and Take it Easy, in memory of the sadly departed Glenn Frey.

If you would like to sponsor me, please click here: www.justgiving.com/Stephen-Parsons8
RELATED LINKS:

BLOG (Part 3): 12 days in – weighty matters: Why, oh why have I gone dry?
BLOG (Part 2): How hard can it be to go booze-free for a month?

BLOG: Northumberland rugby player tackles Dry January
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