Welcome to our Monthly Challenges.
Did you know you subconsciously work harder when there’s an end date to your goals?
The shorter time frame keeps you actively putting effort in, particularly when it’s the end of the month.
Your Goal in January is: No Alcohol
“Dry January” as it’s known, is a popular challenge done across the UK. People use it to undo the ills of excess at Xmas and New Year.
The challenge involves going the 31 days of January without drinking ANY alcohol.
The point of the challenge is to make you aware of your drinking habits and to try and continue your normal routines but without alcohol.
Statistics from Alcohol Concern showed that 2 out of 3 Dry January participants were still maintaining a lower alcohol consumption in August of that year. This is likely from the increased awareness the challenge had brought them.
Two million of us are classified as “heavy drinkers” (35 units/week for a woman makes you a heavy drinker, and 50 units/week for a man).
Image credit: www.bbc.co.uk
This heavy consumption of alcohol increases the risk of heart and liver disease, stroke, depression and several cancers. Around 1 in 5 heavy drinkers will develop liver problems that are potentially fatal.
A single month without alcohol for these “heavy drinkers” can reduce signs of liver damage by 10-15%, as well as a host of other health benefits.
In a small London study, it was found the average Dry January participant lost 3lbs of their body weight. Drinking alcohol interrupts your body’s normal “fat burning” functions, so by getting rid of alcohol you become more efficient at losing weight. To see how many calories you consume on a typical night out, check out this handy calculator.
Your liver plays a part in immunity to infections, storing vitamins and converting food to energy, so by cutting out alcohol it will have more time for these processes.
Energy levels should increase, too. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases urination which leads to dehydration, and this interferes with the way your body provides energy. Dehydration also affects the brain, and Dry January participants report better concentration and memory, as well as a more stable mood.
Finally, alcohol will reduce the quality of your sleep. While you may not have trouble getting to sleep, it isn’t as effective, meaning you are likely to wake up less refreshed than on alcohol-free nights.
- If you’re going to a party, bring your own (non-alcoholic) drink. This will help avoid the situation where only alcoholic drinks are on offer.
- Choose a new drink: Try a soda and lime, diet beverage, or non-alcoholic beer. Fruit juices are packed with sugar so avoid switching to them.
- Get a friend to do this too. It’s much easier if you aren’t doing this alone, as the peer pressure from friends can lead you to give up before the month is over.
- Don’t binge on February 1st. The point of the challenge is not to still treat alcohol as a “reward”. Bring greater awareness to your social drinking and understand the damage it can do to your health.
- Consider “dry days” every week. If you drink most days, instead of abstaining for a full month, simply have three days a week where you agree not to drink. Three days a week equates to 5 months of the year!
Thanks for reading this article. Please SHARE it with friends and family you want to team up with and tackle Dry January together!