Written by Simon Cushman
National Dry January
January brings with it the typical New Year’s resolutions and setting yourself up to fail at a specific goal or giving something up. 12 Months is a long time to cut something out of your life, especially when it’s in your face as much as alcohol is. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, why not get on board with Dry January.
After a long December of partying, normally drinking, socialising and gorging on delicious food, you can normally become somewhat blinded to what you are putting in your body. Setting yourself a short term goal of a month will help you to focus on your goal, but also to be mindful of what you are and have been consuming without thinking. The Cancer Research website also has a handy money and calorie calculator for you to actually see how much you can save on both from giving alcohol up for just a month.
As an organised event, you can go through this with your friends as well, keep each other on track and motivating together to get through it. You can arrange events for yourselves and still socialise, just leave the alcohol until February 1st. Firstly, here’s some benefits of giving up alcohol for a month and some of the effects of not giving it up:
#1 Financially you will be better off
Depending on where you buy your drinks from and how much you might consume on a regular basis, you can easily save in excess of £100 in a month. That could be a whole new supplement package with money left over for a new t-shirt AND some money to give to charity.
#2 Health wise you will shape up
Not only is alcohol known as ‘empty calories’ due to the 7 kcal in each gram of pure alcohol that cannot be used by the human body, but the countless calories in each alcoholic drink can be higher than expected. Don’t forget alcohol is also a poison, so your body will try to get rid of it as quickly as possible, causing you to become dehydrated and put stress on your body to cope with the demand. Not only this, but think about your hangover, if you were feeling better you would be able to train with so much more vigour which will help your sessions and get you leaps and bounds further. The alcohol in your system will also harm your recovery as it will adapt your hormone concentration and reduce testosterone levels, causing some of your hard work to be lost! Calorie and sugar wise, people often underestimate the amounts on each drink, for example:
#3 Sleep better
Alcohol might help you feel like you are getting to sleep quicker, but the quality of your sleep is hugely effected from as little as one glass of wine. There are 4 stages of sleep you will get each night, the final 2 are the deepest of sleep where you will switch off the most. Having a drink the night before can keep your brain active enough to reduce the amount of time in these stages which can lead to feelings of exhaustion and stress.
#4 A fresh outlook
It has been shown in the research that giving up alcohol for a month can change people’s view on alcohol consumption and lead to a better relationship with it.
#5 New social fun
Even though it might feel like you’re being social by going for a drink or two after work it can actually have the opposite effect, where you are actually unable to speak to people without the comfort of a drink with you. Going without for a month could give you more time to explore new opportunities, take more chances and even meet someone new to have new experiences with.
#6 The Gift of time
Without trying to plan your days around friends and going out and how you are going to recover, without the alcohol, you can plan some more gym training, or a lovely walk outdoors or even a game of something new. You are not limited by the pull of the pub, so you can spend more time enhancing yourself. Not only in the short term, but in the long term, the health benefits of not drinking as much can improve your long term quality of life.
Alternatives drinks to have at the pub:
Soft drinks, just be aware of the sugar content or the artificial sweeteners.
Soda and lime, it’ll give you the taste of a mixer and low in calories as well as being refreshing
J2O, a juice at the bar can refresh your palette and give you a drink to hold on to while you are chatting to your friends
Appletiser, add a bit of fizz and class to your experience
Virgin cocktails can be just as delicious as their alcoholic counterparts, just watch out for some and their sugar content.