IF Series, Part 5: The World Loves Wine

By on February 9, 2021

There are a plethora of great quotes about wine and I love them as much as I love deep, old, rich, luxurious red wine. I like my wine to smell good, have long legs, and stay in my mouth longer than my throat. Is it getting hot in here or is it me? I haven’t had any wine in five weeks and it shows in my writing. 🀣 If you don’t know anything about red wine you are probably lost but stick with me and will get through this post together. Wine is a metaphor for life and today I have quite a tasting flight for you.

Just like I had in post #3 in this series, I have a disclaimer: We don’t have an addiction to alcohol. We have traveled the world, and unlike in the US, most of the world takes a different view on alcohol. It’s ok to have a glass or two of alcohol with dinner, maybe have an occasional night with more. It probably is not ok when your body craves it, can’t get enough of it, and you can’t stop drinking when you start. I am not an expert in any of the subjects I discuss, they are merely my life experiences and insights. As I have said previously, I lived with an alcoholic many years ago. The destruction was devastating and I never wish that addiction on anyone. Brian and I know our limits. We consciously take time off from alcohol. For example, we typically take 4 weeks off at the start of the year for a good cleanse during “Dry January” and we are currently on week 5 of no alcohol. What wait? 5 weeks! Crazy Americans! I know, tell me about it or should I say let me tell you about it. Haha!

“[Her] lips drink water but [her] heart drinks wine,”

~ EE Cummings

Did you know there are 463 quotes with the word “wine” in them on GoodReads? 70 countries produce wine. There are over 100 bible verses about wine. Why does the world love wine so much? Maybe it is the fond memories, new experiences, a conversation starter with new people, the diversity of wine, the connection to Earth in the grapes, or that the process of making wine is fascinating. There are many reasons but this blog post is about how it adds to our life and how it doesn’t always help us reach our health goals.

“Beer is made by men, wine by God,”

~ Martin Luther

For me, the bottom is line is alcohol is only a problem when my goal is weight loss. During our two years practicing intermittent fasting (IF), I have learned I can maintain my weight while enjoying life with alcohol in it. Hallelujah! I could never make that statement while on Weight Watchers, following the Biggest Loser plan, or using the MyFitnessPal app. When we lost weight the first time, we were told to eat all of the time, count points, and if I had a glass of wine I gained weight quickly and couldn’t lose it. Besides having to eat tiny, unsatisfying meals 6-7 times a time, not being able to enjoy the finer things like a good bottle of red wine was something I couldn’t live with forever.

Just like with food, I don’t want to feel guilty every time I say “yes” to wine. See part 3 in this series to understand my relationship with guilt and eating. I am trying to rid myself of everything that makes me feel guilty. I don’t want to have to say, “No, I can’t, I’m dieting.” UGH – Dieting STINKS! To me, I don’t want to be remembered as the girl who was always on a diet. Honestly, if I died today, that could easily be the quote on my tombstone, “Michelle: The girl who was never happy with her weight and was always on a diet.” Yuck, yuck, yuck! I want my tombstone to say, “Michelle: She lived life to the fullest and always said yes to new experiences.” As a disclaimer, I will be cremated with my ashes spread on top of a mountain with an amazing view and there won’t actually be a tombstone, so there’s that detail. 😊

2017 – Walking the Camino Frances, living our best life with good food & wine

I believe wine is a metaphor for life. First, wine needs patience. Shouldn’t we all be a bit more patient with ourselves, our shortcomings, and definitely with others? Everyone walking this Earth is on their own journey, doing the best they can, and we cannot rush change. Though I wish we could rush change when it comes to racism and sexism, that’s a topic for another day. We don’t know the burdens other people carry around. If I believed in rushing change, I would have had gastric bypass surgery years ago when the scale read well over 300 pounds. That was a choice I couldn’t make back then, though I am not judging anyone else’s choices. I knew if I would have had the surgery, I would find a way around that tiny stomach and would have gained all of the weight back and more. That’s just me. I don’t do well with “cannot,” rather I need, “yes you can.” I can have wine, pizza, and burgers without someone else or a surgically induced tiny stomach creating limitations. I need to find the patience to create my own limitations. For example, I have decided to break up with wine for 3 months (and all alcohol) not because I need to or someone told me I need to, I want the change to achieve my goals. 2020 was rough, and like most of the world, I consumed more than my fair share of alcohol. So I decided to take a break so I can clear my head, my soul, and my liver. 😊 It’s always better when it’s our choice to make a change. I need to clarify one thing in case you see a post on social media, we will have wine on Valentine’s Day along with a romantic dinner for two. We aren’t monsters. πŸ˜‚ We enjoy celebrations with wine and I don’t see that changing… ever. The glasses of wine in the photo at the top of this post are from 2019 when we celebrated walking to the end of the Earth together on the Camino de Santiago. You will often see us celebrating accomplishments with a nice dinner and wine.

Moving on, wine is complex and multi-layered. Just like with life, there are so many complexities it can be near impossible to stick with a diet 100% of the time. Which is OK!! Sometimes we need a vacation, a break, a burger, and a beautiful glass of wine. It is why I am no longer dieting – IF is my lifestyle. Sometimes it will be low in carbs and other times high in carbs. I am not changing what I eat rather when I eat and, I believe, that makes all the difference. Before IF, my hormones were so messed up that one week on vacation or even one weekend of amazing eating would throw everything off, and I would not be able to lose the weight I gained. I was in a complex spiral of weight problems and hormone nightmares. Once I decided to never diet again but rather understand the journey I was on more clearly (with the help of a fantastic doctor), change was real. I needed patience, I needed to understand the complexity of hormones, and I needed to work through the layers of misinformation I have put my body through. I have been dieting since I knew what the word meant and my body needed time to believe I would never put it through a diet again! Ever, never. I don’t know if my metabolism will ever be “normal” again but I sure am trying to love myself, my hormones, and my metabolism again. IF is not a diet to me. Like wine, IF can be complex to achieve your goals but it doesn’t have to be complicated forever. The simple side of fasting is: you eat, you fast. The layers that can make it complicated include what your goals are for fasting, how long you fast, what you eat when you feast. That is all personal, is always changing to meet your needs, and most importantly you need to reach to the experts for help. I am not an expert.

Third, a wine needs to be paired well to be at its best. I’m quite lucky to have a partner who jumped on the IF journey with me from the start. I pray you are able to surround yourself with people who lift you up, support you, and encourage your decisions. We all need more cheerleaders and fewer critics. A good marriage is made up of two people who can be completely different but pair well together. Brian and I aren’t always on the same page, aren’t always looking for the same outcome, and sometimes we do more harm than good when trying to achieve a goal. We have a saying that when we are good together, we are unstoppable but when we are in the mood to sabotage, we can be very bad together. πŸ˜‚ For example, if we are fasting on a random Saturday and I said to Brian (or he said to me), “I really want pizza tonight and some wine,” it would be extremely challenging for either of us to continue to fast. When we are “flexing our fasting muscles,” we are unstoppable but we can just as easily push the other person into the deep end of a deep-dish pizza. πŸ˜‚ How do we focus on achieving our goals? Boundaries, topics that are off-limits, and forgiveness is a must. Food is an off-limits topic on fasting days. Further, we recognize though we are individuals, we share a home that needs boundaries so what’s in the pantry, the fridge, or the liquor cabinet needs to support both of our goals. It also means we have created a schedule based on how we pair together. Those are just a few of the things that we found have worked. Every couple is different. The ultimate goal is to determine how you pair with the people around you to bring out the best in each other.

Finally, wine has many varieties. Yes, it does and just like with people we come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities. πŸ™ŒπŸΌ You don’t have to like every wine but you can appreciate the differences they bring to a meal. Did you know that wine tastes different based on what food it is or is not served with? It’s shocking how different the same glass of wine can taste with fish, steak filets, or nothing at all. Sometimes it’s amazing and sometimes it’s downright skunky. Wine not only needs to be paired well but everyone has a different palate so the varieties are important for enjoyment. We don’t have to like every person that comes into our lives but we should be kind, fair, and non-judgmental. It is not our job to judge where someone is on their journey, what they look like, or what choices they make. Our job is to support other people and to be an example of kindness and forgiveness. We should appreciate that variety is the spice of life and we all need a bit of spice! 🌢

Do I miss wine when I am cleansing? Sure, when I see it on TV or when I am enjoying a good meal and know what wine would be amazing with it. However, my goals are more important. I can’t always say that because sometimes wine is more important. πŸ˜‚ It’s a bit easier to take a break from wine right now because of COVID. We are not going out like we normally do and our social life is null and void. For better or worse, this time of COVID has created a space in my life to be more like wine. Instead of drinking wine, I am learning to be patient, I appreciate who I am paired with, and I am keeping my life full of variety with other things I enjoy. Sometimes it is OK to hang out in the wine cellar and wait until it is your time to pop the cork.

Next week will mark 6 weeks on our new IF regimen. I will show you some photos of our journey because we can already see a difference in our bodies! Hint: We both have already lost more than 13 pounds each! I will talk about the lessons we have learned throughout our 2 years of practicing intermittent fasting. Thank you for coming along. Thank you for supporting our journey with your kindness. Subscribe to our blog for notifications each time a new blog comes out.

Be kind to one another. Love yourself. You have one person and one person alone to look at in the mirror for the rest of your life. It’s important to love what you see in the reflection. For better or worse, love yourself more than you love wine. ❀️

To go back and re-read this series from the start, click here. To read post #6 in this series, click here. Want to know more about IF? Something you want to be explained further? Leave a comment! I always welcome topic inspiration.



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