Everyone knows that alcohol isn't the healthiest thing for your body. Drinking is a vice, and a plenty good one for a lot of people, and like most vices it comes with direct consequences. Besides hazy mornings and oh-no-why-did-I-send-that texts, it has very real physical effects. So whether you're thinking about taking a detox for a bit or you want to quit altogether, here's how your body fares after you go off the booze train for a bit.
This is when your body is going to start to do the work of clearing your system, so depending on how much you drank before, it could be rough—or it could just be slightly uncomfortable, body-wise. "This may feel like a slight hangover," says celebrity nutritionist Karin Adoni Ben-David, who specializes in different clean diet programs for clients, including detox programs. Your body could sweat, have a rise in blood pressure, or even exhibit shakiness if you were hitting the booze a bit harder than most.
After One Week of No Alcohol
Hello, good restful sleep. "Your sleep will improve, as drinking before bedtime does not allow your body to go into deep REM sleep," says Adoni Ben-David. Think that glass of wine was helping put you to bed? Think again—it was basically passing out, and you weren't getting the benefits of real, restful sleep. "It may take a minimum of seven days to get the full benefits [of restorative sleep.] However, after you quit drinking alcohol, you'll ultimately sleep better."
After One Month of No Alcohol
Physical effects abound. Mostly, you'll lose weight and your skin will look amazing. "When you stop drinking and change nothing else about your diet or level of activity, you're likely to lose weight," says Adoni Ben-David. "We all know the formula, calories in versus calories out; and alcohol contains lots of calories."
"Alcohol is also a diuretic, meaning it causes water to exit the body," she continues. "One of the things it does is it decreases the production of a hormone that helps the body absorb and hold water. As time goes by, being dehydrated has noticeable effects, such as dry-looking skin, dandruff, and eczema. Once you quit alcohol, your skin will thank you."
After One Year of No Alcohol
Your body will improve, overall. Fat surrounding the liver will decrease, averaging about a 15% to 20% decrease in liver fat. "This is a significant health factor since fat accumulation in the liver can lead to liver damage and chronic liver disease," says Adoni Ben-David. Oh, and getting sick? You'll do less of that, thanks to a stronger immune system. "Excessive drinking has been linked to many immune-related health effects," she says. "Alcohol can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to infections."
Furthermore, if you're trying to get pregnant in the following months or years, you'll reap the rewards. "You will increase your chances of conceiving," says Ben Adoni-David. "If you're trying to have kids, your chances will be better once you stop drinking because alcohol reduces fertility. Even moderate drinking affects fertility."
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.