The incredible ways your body changes just days after kicking booze and cigarettes.

Five weeks ago I vowed to cut back on my drinking during the week – and maybe even abstain altogether.

If I had stuck to that vow five weeks ago, I would have slept a lot better last night. And been able to concentrate more today. I’d have lost a little weight and I’d be more energetic. Because in just five short weeks, BIG changes happen when you lay off the booze.

I’m a ‘now’ kind of person. I like my results immediate. So I was stoked to find out great things happen physically, mentally, and sometimes immediately, when your daily intake of cigarettes and alcohol is reduced – or eliminated altogether.

quit smoking
Image via. Creative Commons

Read on.

Short term benefits of giving up smoking

Within the first 72 hours:

Your blood pressure drops back to normal.

Carbon monoxide levels in your blood stream drop by half and oxygen levels return to normal.

Your chance of having a heart attack decreases.

Your sense of taste and smell will return to a normal level.

Your energy levels will increase.

Most of the nicotine is out of your body.

Your sense of taste and smell will have improved.

Within 2 weeks:

Your circulation will increase and continue to improve

Within 4 weeks:

Your skin will quickly improve and appear more radiant.

Between 3 months and a year:

Coughing, wheezing and breathing problems will dissipate
Lung capacity will improve by 10 per cent.
Your risk of having a heart attack will drop by about HALF

Long term benefits of giving up smoking

Your risk of having a stroke returns to that of a non-smoker within 5 years


Your risk of having lunch cancer will return to that of a non-smoker within 10 years

Your risk of having a heart attack will return to that of a non-smoker within 15 years

The best news is that it is possible to return to same health you once had.

quitting smoking
Image via. iStock

Cutting down on (or eliminating) alcohol.

Quitting smoking is one thing. Its dangers are well documented and by now should be obvious. But drinking is a whole other beast. It's Australia's great social lubricant and a big part of our lives.

So what are the short term incentives for cutting down - or giving up completely?

quitting smoking
Image via iStock

New Scientist conducted a trial with a group of their staff, who didn't drink alcohol for five weeks. The results were overwhelmingly positive:


Liver fat decreased by 15 per cent.

Cholesterol reduced by 5 per cent.

Glucose reduced by 16 per cent.

Weight reduced by 2 per cent.

Sleep increased by 10 per cent.

Concentration was up by a whopping 18 per cent.

Work performance - get this - grew by 17 per cent!

That's what happens in a mere five weeks - the infographic below shows the long-term benefits.

Image via. New Scientist.

Long term benefits of quitting alcohol

Abstaining from alcohol over several months to a year may allow structural brain changes to partially correct. It can help reverse negative effects on thinking skills, including problem­ solving, memory, and attention.

Among other things, you will save A LOT of money. If you spend an average $60 per week on booze, you will save a massive $31,200 over a decade.

You will also add anywhere from between 10 - 20 years to your expected lifespan. You will reduce your risk of developing cancer, liver or heart disease, and could lower your blood pressure.

The best thing about giving up is that you're aren't just going to back physical health. Mentally, the fog you didn't even know you were in will start to clear.

So think about all the benefits - and especially the ones you'll see quickly -  and your whole attitude to quitting might just change.

If you need a little extra help ...

With quitting the cigarettes - visit QuitNow or call 13 78 48

To kick the booze - visit Beyond Blue or call 1300 224 636

If you like reading about health and wellbeing, you might like these:

There are so many reasons I thought smoking was completely fabulous.

13 "healthy" foods that have more sugar than a Krispy Kreme donut.

Death spoke to me and it was the most beautiful voice, ever.