THE TRUTH ABOUT DRY JANUARY
If you’re doing Dry January because you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and you need a break, then good luck, stay strong, and most importantly of all, come February 1st don't slip back into old bad habits.
If you’re doing it to detox or lose weight then that is of course a good thing, but you will also need to give up a lot more than just alcohol or you are wasting your time: all sugar and sugary drinks, dairy, all processed foods, bread, pasta, etc.
If however you're only doing it because you've been told it's good for you, then read on because actually it's not as beneficial as you're lead to believe. It is far healthier to take 2 or 3 days off every week than overdo it, take a month off, then start all over again.
Take 3 minutes off and read the facts…
Giving up one of your favourite pleasures (wine for example) is going to make you miserable. Whilst there’s no concrete evidence that being grumpy is bad for your health, it will certainly have an impact on your relationships and that can cause stress, which is no fun at all.
Let’s get one thing straight though before we go on: if you have a problem with any form of alcohol, you need to give up completely; if you’re not sure, then seek help (https://www.gov.je/pages/contacts.aspx?contactId=86) for the sake of your health, your family & your friends.
If you don’t have a problem and you are in the majority of ‘casual’ drinkers who are made to feel bad for not doing Dry January then read on…
Where does Dry January come from?
‘Dry January’ is a relatively new term; the first ever ‘Dry January’ campaign was run by the charity Alcohol Concern in January 2013 who registered the trademark in 2014.
They needed funding so they partnered with the UK government (Public Health England) who have heavily promoted the initiative over the last few Januaries. I lived in Australia for 9 years where the ‘Dry July’ campaign has become very successful; they don’t have Dry January in Oz for the same reason that Dry July isn't very successful here: nobody wants to give up drinking beer or wine during the summer months!
There have been a few articles recently in the press interviewing people and the ‘astonishing results’ they have achieved by giving up for a month. The GPs involved work for the NHS in the UK and you can’t blame them for promoting Dry January – the NHS doctors are the ones who have to deal with all the binge drinkers who end up hurting themselves and/or others, especially over the festive period.
Will giving up booze help me lose weight?
If you’re doing Dry January because you need to lose weight then go for it! But….to have any real impact you will also need to cut out fruit juices, fizzy drinks, sports drinks, all foods containing sugar, pasta, bread, processed foods, dairy, energy bars, …(it’s a long list). You can’t just give up wine and expect to lose lots of weight.
If you’re doing Dry January because you think you should detox then I'm afraid you're wasting your time. You’re not going to detox your body by giving up alcohol for a month but not giving up ‘bad foods’ (see above, especially sugar) at the same time. Your body is incredible at detoxing, as long as you help it with good nutrition and exercise.
If you really do want to detox then it’s extremely simple, if not easy (you will need some willpower): just eat more healthily by cutting right down on sugars etc., start an exercise program, and don’t stop! If you're not able to exercise then perhaps follow a regimented detox program like this one: The Foodstate Company or contact a nutritionist - I recommend Pippa Campbell - www.pippacampbellhealth.co.uk/
In a nutshell: it is universally agreed by doctors and health experts that drinking in moderation and taking two days off alcohol every week is far healthier than drinking ‘whatever you want to’ and then taking a whole month off.
Here is one of a number of articles that explains it all in more detail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2259350/Resolved-alcohol-January-It-harm-good.html
Take Mondays & Tuesdays off and drink a LOT of water every day and you'll be far better off all year round…roll on ‘Wine Wednesday’!