Is the Dry January Challenge for You?
Did you wake up with a hangover today despite your best efforts to celebrate, not inebriate? If you’re thinking that you’re drinking too much and want to get it under control before it gets too serious, “Dry January” may be just what you need!
Dry January started in 2012 in Britain as a public health program to help people drink less alcohol. Dry January is just what it sounds like: no alcohol for the month of January. The goal is to encourage people who feel they are drinking too much to take up the challenge. While it may sound like a gimmick, there is some evidence that it can improve your health. A 2018 study published in the British Medical Journal found that moderate to heavy drinkers who did not drink alcohol for 30 days:
· Slept Better
· Lost Weight
· Had More Energy
· Had Better Blood Sugar Control
· Lowered Cancer Related Growth Factors
· Lowered Blood Pressure
This was just one study for a short period of time. Don’t expect to get these great effects after a month, go back to drinking too much, and maintain these benefits. But’s it’s a motivating way to start that could lead to long-term change.
Here Are Some Suggestions to Drying Out in January:
· Try an App. There are several apps out there, but you may want to use “Try Dry” from the original UK group that started it all.
· Buddy Up with Others: Check your group of drinking buddies to see if they might be interested in trying dry with you. The support of others and group goals can keep you motivated.
· A Slip is Not a Fall. If you end up having a drink it’s not the end of the road! Just get right back at it. You may not go the whole month without a drink, but if you drink less, that’s success.
· Create Alcohol Free Cocktails. I find water boring to drink so when I don’t want alcohol, I often mix sparkling water with some orange and cranberry juice. It’s fizzy and lot more fun than water. Add limes and lemon
· Lock Up Your Liquor! Try to keep your alcohol out of site to avoid temptation!
If you try Dry January, leave some comments about your experience – good or bad!
Happy New Year!
Beth Kitchin PhD RDN