Actor out to be grog-free

By Joanne Carroll

Actor ditches booze to play Lycra-clad runner with help of online community.

Will Hall gets in shape. Photo / Hagen Hopkins
Will Hall gets in shape. Photo / Hagen Hopkins

Actor Will Hall's fear of wearing lycra motivated him to stop drinking alcohol for six months.

Hall, who starred in Shortland Street and Nothing Trivial, is the newest ambassador for Hello Sunday Morning.

The free online community, named in reference to waking up on Sunday morning without a hangover, requires participants to try abstention.

"When I started working on the second season of Nothing Trivial earlier last year, and I was told that my character was a marathon runner wearing mostly lycra and, eventually, nothing as he likes to swim nude, this was the motivation I needed to try to shed some of that extra weight my beloved beer brings with it," Hall said.

"Unfortunately, I failed miserably. By the end of the first week of work I went out for drinks with the rest of the cast, and by the third round I was reaching for a Moa beer instead of a ginger one.

"I'm hoping that by signing up to Hello Sunday Morning I can stay on track this time and have a proper break from the booze."

He admitted it was difficult getting through Christmas, New Year and summer barbecues without alcohol.

"I went to the races in Christchurch and it was a full day of drinking. People started at breakfast and by 3pm they started to make no sense at all."

Replacing alcohol with sugary fizzy drinks also had its down side, so he was trying to develop a taste for soda water.

"I do miss a good-quality beer. I like the taste of it. But I'll stay off it three months, maybe even longer. I know it is making a difference to my health."

Hello Sunday Morning started in Australia in 2009, and more than 5000 people have joined the programme. It has since been rolled out in the United States, UK, Hong Kong, Canada and launched in New Zealand in May last year.

More than 1000 Kiwis have signed up and it had 514 new users since December 1.

Members stay in touch through the website Hellosundaymorning.org, or by sharing experiences on Facebook. Chief executive Chris Raine said its success would not have been possible without the social-media phenomenon.

"Usually the festive season would be the hardest time of the year to abstain from drinking for a social drinker," Raine said.

"When you can see that you have a whole community behind you, you suddenly realise you are not alone."

He said the average abstainer's weight loss was 5kg, but some could lose up to 25kg. Non-drinking saved money too.


Last man standing remembers all - By Will Hall

It's called Hello Sunday Morning and, no, it's not a church thing.

I was asked to leave church because of my terrible singing and now I'm what they call a C&E. I keep the visits to Christmas and Easter.

Plus, I usually keep Sunday mornings for worshipping something else, like the greasy McMuffin that I hope will cure my hangover.

This is just one of the things I've had to explain to people after I have politely refused a drink.

With the surprised responses, I knew I was doing the right and responsible thing by taking the challenge of not drinking for six months.

So, here I am, sober for a few months and ready to tell all on the lessons I've learned and the benefits I've discovered from taking it easy on the booze while still being in the public eye at events and in the media.

To all of my friends who are worried about me remembering more than usual and telling stories of their not-so-sober nights: you were right to be. This blog could be interesting.

Next week, I'll give you a Sober Insiders' Guide to a Wrap Party at the end of filming on a TV show or film. The production team puts on a massive bar tab and no man is left standing. This time, however, I was.

- Cheers (with a ginger beer), Will

- Herald on Sunday

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