Patricia Heaton shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. The actress-turned-author not only looks amazing at 63 years old, but she’s made some significant lifestyle changes in the last couple of years that she says have completely transformed her life. The biggest tweak she’s made? Ditching alcohol.
In an Instagram video posted on July 11, Heaton enthusiastically shared that during a month when we celebrate our nation’s freedom, she’s celebrating her own “freedom from alcohol.” Heaton let us in on this big accomplishment after finishing up a three and a half mile walk, and invited folks to message her if they were thinking of doing the same, or needed some support along their own journeys. How sweet!
This milestone follows up on a 2020 interview Heaton did with Parade Magazine, during which she talked about how life has changed for her in her 60s. At the time, she’d just published her new book Your Second Act (Buy on Amazon, $14.54) — a collection of personal stories from women (including herself) who have reinvented themselves against all odds. “Your life is your own, and you don’t have to be on some kind of treadmill just because that’s where you started, or because someone else expects that of you,” she said. “I hope this book helps people reflect on their lives. I hope they see something of themselves in the stories.”
Life Sans Alcohol
During that interview, Heaton openly discussed her sudden decision to quit drinking alcohol in 2018. “I quit drinking two years ago in July. I miss it terribly, but at the end of the day, I feel better,” she said. “I noticed that I was looking forward every night to cocktails. And if I happened to go to lunch, I might have a glass of wine or Prosecco.”
After noticing that she was relying on alcohol to feel relief on a regular basis, Heaton decided it was time to change — before things could get worse. “There’s an actual statistic that women who were moderate drinkers in their 30s and 40s often become alcoholics in their 50s and 60s. I think it’s something about your children leaving the house. The things that used to anchor you are no longer there. You’re a little bit at sea, and so you reach for the bottle to dull the uncertainty,” she explained. “I sensed that a bit with myself.”
Bringing awareness to the why behind her drinking helped Heaton put things into perspective. Looking at the bigger picture, she could see that alcohol simply no longer fit into her life: “As your hormones change, you can’t really process alcohol the same way you did when you were younger,” she went on. “I’ve stopped, and my life has improved significantly. My kids are in their mid-20s and I’ll probably be in my 70s by the time I have grandchildren. I want to be healthy for them.”
On top of foregoing the drink, Heaton told Parade that she prioritizes her health by eating a mostly keto (very low-carb, high fat) diet, and that she tries to swim 50 laps at least four or five times a week. As for her mental health, she celebrates her 60s as a time where she is finally free to be who she wants to be, completely on her own terms. “As you get older, you can start to focus on making choices based on what you’re feeling inside, what you want to do with the time you have left, as opposed to what people expect of you or the false expectations you put on yourself,” she said.
“I’ve also learned to be selective. I want to focus on the things that matter to me, that I know I can make a commitment to. Sometimes you have to try a few things just to figure out what you really want, and you won’t know until you try it. I want to spend more time with family and working on artistic projects that are meaningful to me, that I believe will contribute something positive to the world.” Amen to that!
Many women like Heaton are adopting a life sans alcohol. After hearing how beneficial it’s been and how much more in tune with herself she feels, we’re definitely sold on the idea that it’s never too late to make a change.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.