We all know someone who’s participated in Dry January, but have you actually considered taking part yourself? This January I have decided to take part; for me January is a pretty quiet month socially so why on earth not? I have taken the pledge to have 31 days alcohol free – though, I have decided that I will add wine into foods that I cook if that’s on the ingredients list, as 100ml is a great flavour enhancer!
Dry January is a charity that was founded in 2012; it had a few thousand people sign up to make their pledge. Today, it now has a few million participants, who are supported through apps, blogs and podcasts! However, you don’t have to physically sign up if you don’t want to (I haven’t). You do not have to give money to the charity, however, you will notice that you will have a few extra pennies by the end of January, so any donations to them would be gratefully received.
When you tell a few people that you are going dry this Jan, you will be met with confusion and lots of ‘But why!’. This is what is really important, like anything, you need to know your why, or else it’s somewhat pointless. Here are some of my reasons:
- 1) I have had enough of drinking so often; Christmas was filled with parties and social gatherings, so there were a lot of ‘chin chin’ occaisions and it got to the point where it was more habit than enjoyment.
- 2) I want to lose some of the fat that I have gained over the last few months. I have an incredibly sedentary job as a Writer 5 days a week and I also have incredibly sedentary hobbies, including blogging, vlogging, reading and watching films. This, combined with holidays, delicious Christmas food and wintery nights, has caused me to have noticeable fat gain. While this really is a first world problem, I do not enjoy being unable to fit in my clothes, I do not enjoy my current physical appearance and I do not enjoy how bloated and sluggish I feel. So bearing in mind that a couple, if not a few drinks is several hundred calories in one sitting, this is a super easy way to reduce my calorie intake, my excess sugar consumption and all the sitting.
- I have never tried to ‘give up’ alcohol. I started drinking as a teenager, going to parties with friends. Then when we were old enough, we began going out weekly in town. Similarly at University (South Wales and Bristol), there was always a party invitation and and fun event to go to and this of course, involved alcohol. It’s come to the point where it’s probably very rare that I ever have 1 week (in the last 10 years) that doesn’t at least involve a glass or two of wine with food on the weekend. Therefore, this is just a challenge (though I am not struggling at all) to prove to myself that I don’t need the habit of associating food and gatherings with alcohol.
- I want to see if I look or feel different.
I am coming up to the half-way point and I haven’t felt like I want to have a drink yet, at all! In fact, I haven’t even thought about drinking! Which just shows how easy it is to say yes when someone hands glass over to you, or how easy it is to reach for the alcohol when seeing friends, when really, you probably didn’t even want it in the first place! It just seems to be the social ‘norm’.
My lack of desire to drink, I feel, is mostly down to the fact that I am conciously being more active. I have a lot of of fitness equipment at home, such as weights and sliders, that allows me to be active whenever I want at home. I have a cute Cavapoo dog, who always needs walking, and would walk all day if you’d let him! I have joined the local gym and I have also started weekly tennis lessons. So I guess that is my first piece of advice; fill your time with moving and exercising and avoid sitting around watching TV. Not only are you occupied with doing something that doesn’t involve sitting, but you will probably feel so great about yourself, that you won’t want to un-do all those calories you burned, by drinking something that is only going to end up down the toilet an hour later!
This isn’t a blog to tell you what a terrible person you are for drinking all time, it’s a blog to share my current Dry January journey, as someone who has never taken part before, and someone who drinks weekly. I wondered before I started, if, by telling myself that I couldn’t have alcohol, it would make me want it even more. I am wrong. So, if you are thinking to yourself ‘nah, there’s not point me doing it because I’ll want it even more‘, try it! You just might surprise yourself. You could always ask a friend or family member to join you, so you have a support system and someone that can make you accountable. Then, if you ever feel like you fancy a drink, you can both go off and do something else that’s more fun and enjoyable together!
There are many benefits of going dry, both physically and mentally. If you’d like to know some of the health benefits of Dry Jan, I’ve complied a short list:
- Improved sleep
- Weight loss
- Improved immune system
- Clearer skin
- A healthier relationship with alcohol
- Reduced snacking consumption
- Reduced blood pressure
- Improved mental health, as a result of feelings such as a sense of achievement
To find out more, check out the Dry January website here.
Do comment down below if you are also on your Dry January journey, I’d love to hear from you!
© 2019. Naomi Laws. All rights reserved.