We’ve all heard that drinking too much alcohol can destroy our bodies in lots of ways big and small. And the older we get, we feel some of those effects first hand in the form of a nasty hangover, but drinking in excess can also raise our risk for certain cancers, diabetes, and liver disease. Plus, boozing too much can bring bad moods, crazy sugar cravings, poor sleep, and foggy concentration.
But when we stop drinking, our bodies can bounce back at great speeds from the negative effects of alcohol. So if you’ve ever thought about giving up alcohol, here’s a timeline of how your body will recover once you finish that last glass of rosé, according to registered dietitian Jenny Champion.
- An hour after you quit - Your body is in full-blown detox mode to clear the alcohol, your liver is working overtime and your pancreas starts making extra insulin, which brings on those intense carb cravings.
- 12-24 hours after you quit - Your blood sugar normalizes, but it may take longer if you scarfed down some candy and junk food when those cravings hit. Give your body a hand by trading in the sugar and processed food for fruits and veggies on hangover day, and don’t forget to drink even more water.
- 48 hours after you quit - Your body is getting past its biggest detox hurdle at this stage. You may still feel groggy, have a headache, and be tired, depending on how much you drank.
- 72 hours after you quit - Those lingering hangover side effects are finally over and your carb cravings are subsiding. Champion says this is when “you finally feel back to yourself physically and mentally.”
- A week after you quit - You’ll finally start sleeping more deeply, so you’ll have more physical and mental energy. Your skin will look dewier and more hydrated and your dandruff, eczema, and rosacea will start improving too.
- A month after you quit - Your liver fat decreases by 15%, boosting its ability to filter toxins from your body. You’ll have less belly fat and the four-week mark is when you’ll see the most improvement in your skin.
- Around a year after you quit - A year after you take your last drink, you’ll have a lot less belly fat, about 13 pounds on average. And your risk of mouth, liver, and breast cancer is lower. Plus, Champion points out that if you’ve been spending $30 at happy hour three times a week, after a year you will have saved close to $5,000. No wonder you’ll be feeling so good!
Is one of your New Year's resolutions to quit alcohol? Well, it'll definitely be worth it! Good luck!