For most people January is a much needed time of year to detox and reset. With December notoriously known as the most unhealthy month of the year, due to the endless parade of Christmas parties, endless amounts of mince pies consumed and the alcohol-fuelled compulsory events such as New Year’s Eve.
As we’re heading into the middle of the month, we want to make sure you’re on track to hit your Dry January goals. Only a few weeks left!
With each year gaining more and more traction, Dry January has become a staple in the calendar for millions of people. An estimated 4.2million participated in the month-long sobriety challenge last year with even more expected to take part this year. Gone are the days when it was perceived that only problem drinkers had to take an abstinence from alcohol, with the majority agreeing that the effects of alcohol impact their life to some extent.
Going cold turkey from alcohol will bring about many positive changes, some of which you may not have suspected!
Alcohol has been proven to break down the collagen within the skin, meaning that consuming alcohol on a regular basis speeds up the ageing process. It also means you’re more likely to breakouts and the skin looking dull and tired. We bet we’re not the only one who’ve woke up the morning after a big night and wondered why we look so terrible! The good news is that taking a break from alcohol will help reverse some of that ageing you have experienced. On top of your skin improving, your eyes will look more bright and alert. What’s there to lose?
Many people have a night time tipple to help them get to sleep, but what you may not know is that drinking actually means you have a worse quality of sleep. Drinking results in a lower level of REM sleep, which is the deepest, most quality type of sleep. Hitting that dram of whisky or that glass of Merlot on the head will see you sleeping for longer at a higher quality.
Linked to the last point, increasing your sleep will directly increased your mood. You’ll find that you’ll be positive more of the time and have heaps of energy to do everything you did previously plus extra. You’ll realise how many hours there are in a day, rather than writing off one day a week with a hangover. It’s also important to note that alcohol is in fact a depressant so in the long term alcohol will negatively impact your mental health. After a month without alcohol, you’ll notice how much happier you are.
The BBC recently published a study which showed that 55% of British people go out at least once a week for a night out, with the highest segment being the 18-30 year olds at 73%. The average night out costs £70.56 the BBC found. Over the course of a month, this means that you could potentially save over £282. This is assuming that you only go out one night a week, and doesn’t take into account the bottle of wine you had after a tough Thursday at the office. Who wouldn’t want to have more money!?
Some alcohol contains a lot more calories than you may expect. A pint of Peroni contains 235 calories and that frozen Margarita you love can contain up to 400 calories. We often don’t take calories from alcohol into account within our diet, but if you’re having one heavy night a week, you could be easily consuming an additional day’s worth of calories. If you’d like to consume less calories whilst drinking, we’d opt for a slimline G&T at 64 calories or a vodka and soda at 60 calories.
To speed up your weight loss and not just rely on losing those empty calories you previously consumed from alcohol, shape up your diet and watch what you’re putting in your mouth. Myfitnesspal is a great tool to monitor your food intake, and allows you to see which food group and nutrients you need to increase of a balanced diet.
Need a healthy breakfast alternative to a sausage sandwich? We’d recommend this tasty porridge which comes in a variety of flavours from Red Berry & Pumpkin to Strawberry & Peanut butter. To add extra flavour and texture, throw in some Munchy Seeds to have a healthy and filling start to the day, that will see you right through to lunch.
If you find yourself at a bar and don’t want to have a sign above your head saying “I’m doing dry January” by ordering a J20, then find below our best picks of non-alcoholic drinks:
- Brewdog Nanny State
- Seedlip non-alcoholic Gin
- Becks Blue
- Mocktails (available at most cocktail bars)
Tips & Tricks
Here’s some tips to help you stay off the booze for what can seem like a very long month:
- Remember why you’re doing dry January – if it’s for health reasons then think about how much healthier you’ll be at the end of the month.
- Try to do Dry January with a friend so you can support each other and create sober plans.
- Take up a new hobby to occupy your time e.g. writing, going to the gym, learn a new instrument etc.
- Tell as many people as possible you’re going sober so people won’t tempt you with alcohol-fuelled plans.
- Try some of the tasty no alcohol versions of drinks.
There’s a lot of resources out there to help you through Dry January. We’ve listed below some of our favourites:
- Club Soda is an online community dedicated to mindful drinking. Whether you want to never drink again, or just be moderate with your drinking, this community will help support you through your goals.
- The Unexpected Joy of being Sober by Catherine Gray is a hilarious, eye-opening experience of one-woman’s plight to go sober. The book combines personal experience with useful tips on how to go sober(audio version also available).
- Dry January app helps you track how many drinks you’ve skipped and how much you’ve money you’ve saved since the start of the month!
If you think you may have a serious problem with alcohol, then please consult your GP and the AA. You can find more information here: https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/
Top Photo: Courtesy of Bibo Ergo Sum