Saturday, 14 May 2016

Walking Away From Booze

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

I find that walking is an invaluable sober tool. For a whole host of reasons. Here are five of them:

1. It has no booze associations

However much of a hardened drinker you are/were it is unlikely that you used to go for a walk with a glass of Chardonnay in hand.

(In my case, walking was one of the few occasions when I wouldn't have a glass of wine nearby).

That's why it's a perfect activity around wine o'clock, when you really, really want a drink. Just go. Walk out the door. (I'm channelling my inner Gloria Gaynor here).

Get away from the fridge, the wine rack, the irritations of home and walk. Walk until you feel better.

(N.B. Remember to plan a route that does not go past your favourite pub or bottle shop).

2.  It's a natural drug.

We enthusiastic imbibers rather like our drugs, our highs. And walking is a natural high. It releases serotonin which boosts your mood.

Numerous studies have shown that walking helps reduce depression, anxiety and can even ward off Alzheimer's.

3. It can be social

I avoided parties for a while. But I'm a sociable person. I wouldn't want an alcohol free life that turned me into a hermit.

So, even in the days when I avoided going out too much in the evenings, I would arrange to meet friends during the day for a dog walk.

I'd spend an hour of the day drinking coffee, catching up with an old friend and getting myself, and the dog, fit. That's multitasking ;-)

4. It blitzes the belly

One of the best consolation prizes for ditching the booze is losing weight, especially the dreaded wine belly (see my post: Wine Bellies Can Kill).

Walking not only burns calories and builds muscle, but it can improve your body's response to insulin which leads to reduced belly fat.

5. It reduces your risk of chronic disease

Again, there are a huge number of studies showing that walking can be a wonder drug.

It lowers your blood sugar and, therefore, your risk of diabetes, it lowers blood pressure and your risk of heart disease and stroke, and it reduces your risk of cancer - especially breast and colon cancer.

When I first had the cancer diagnosis (eight months after I quit drinking. To read my story, click here), and I knew that easiest and quickest way to blot it all out, to silence all the thoughts of death and motherless children, would be to pour a large glass of wine (and then drink the whole bottle), walking saved me.

I would take the dog out to the nearest park and then howl. Literally.

(I once bumped into a school gate Mum while doing this. It was what the children would describe as #awks).

Walking calmed my thoughts. It made me feel happier - or at least less desperate. And, crucially, it got me away from the vino.

But tonight I may just be overdoing it on the walking front.

#1 and I are doing the Moonwalk (she's only just old enough, so will be one of the youngest there).

It's a twenty six mile walk through the centre of London with thousands of other women (and some men) all decked out in decorated bras (even the men), in aid of breast cancer charities.

We've raised nearly £2,500 between us, so we've got to make it through to the end!

We set off at 10pm, and should finish at around 7am. I haven't been up all night for a very long time, and certainly not because I was walking. Wish us luck!

I'm not going to post my Moonwalk fundraising page because I'm still a little twitchy about my own anonymity, and a lot twitchy about my daughter's

However if you would like to support us, and help other women dealing with breast cancer, then please please visit my Justgiving page in support of the Haven Breast Cancer Support Centre.

Here's the link:


Love SM x


  1. Well done you and good luck for tonight. I LOVE walking and much prefer it to running (mostly because you can do it with someone else and blether at the same time which I can't do while I'm running!!!) I would love to do the moonwalk and have lots of friends who have done it and/or are doing it. Now that my youngest is not a baby any more and I am coming to the end of a full on distance diploma I've been doing I think I might try for it next year. The streets are full of women out walking in groups here just now,all getting ready for the moonwalk. Have a great time x

  2. I have just found your blog. You have a good way of writing, you say things that make me giggle in a good way. Looking forward to reading more.

    1. Oh, and congratulations on the fund raising, such a good cause.

    2. Thank you, Daniella, and welcome! So glad you found us xxx

  3. I have already given my support to a friend who is doing the same walk. I love walking and I highly recommend a daily 20 walk to everyone. I will be thinking of you tonight.

  4. I have already sponsored my friend who is doing the walk tonight too. I will be thinking of you. Go girl go.

  5. Good luck tonight, that sounds like a lot of fun and is for such a good cause. I love walking too and am appreciating it so much more after recovering from a foot injury. While I'm not up for a moonwalk just yet, I walk for at least 30 mins in the evening now and feel so much better for it.

  6. Good luck with the walk SM and you're rightly twitchy about remaining anonymous. xx

  7. Have a great walk! New studies also show that daily walking can add years to your life!

  8. Great post, so true. Good luck on the walk!!

  9. Have spent all day walking in the sun today, nothing beats it especially hangover free -love it. Have a fantastic night out I rather envy you actually as I'd love to do it. Have decided to hang up my running shoes and concentrate on walking long distance, rather easier on my old joints than marathon running. Might even do moowalk next year! Good luck to you both.

  10. Hi good luck to you and your daughter, a neighbour of mine is doing it tonight, it is on my bucket list..,, I am sure the atmosphere will carry you through....our family has several breast cancer thank you....I too use walking as a stress buster, and my dog loves the fact that as I no longer sit drinking in the evening she gets extra miles...gotta love the fitbit..go SM. Look forward to hearing your account of it when you recover.c

  11. Have fun tonight! I saw the big pink tent on the common and thought of you! By my calculations you will just be starting.. Enjoy!!!

  12. Great post, always useful reminder to get outside and think about things that are important! Enjoyed reading the list!! xoxo

  13. Hope that walk goes well. That sounds hard being up all night, hopefully you can sleep all the next day !!

  14. Hope the walk went well, I've just seen your post this morning. Good on you SM and #1! Xxx

  15. Hope your moonwalk was a huge success! And that you're not aching too much..... Sleep well tonight! X

  16. How are your feet SM?! xxxx

    1. Uuurrrggghhhh. (Worth it though ;-))

    2. I woke up at 5am with cat on head and thought you might be finishing.. chilly after recent warm weather but a superb achievement! WELL DONE!! xxxxxx

  17. Hubs and I just finished walking in the beautiful sunshine for 4 miles!
    I did the 26 miles walking once when I was much younger!

  18. I love walking but I don't do it often enough. Hope your Moonwalk went well. A x

  19. Great appreciation of the simple things makes for such happiness nowadays. I just have trouble finding the time it seems. Sober life has me busy and responsible for things all over the place. Maybe I'll go for a walk next chance I get, take the dog. I'm a sober daddy. Glad to find this blog. If it's OK with you I'd like to add it to my site so new posts appear there. I'm at and I'd love to stay in touch...