By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Let’s face it. Most New Year’s resolutions don’t stick. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t aim to make healthy lifestyle changes in 2019, but you may want to consider changing your approach. Take, for example, participating in Dry January.
Dry January, also called ‘Dryuary,’ was started by a charity based in the United Kingdom called Alcohol Change UK. Although started overseas, it’s gained popularity in the United States. Partaking in Dry January simply means abstaining from all alcoholic beverages during the month of January.
Your Approach is Everything
Some believe that Dry January sends the wrong message, similar to fad diets or going on a ‘detox’ or ‘cleanse.’ Some people may participate in Dry January and then reward themselves by drinking as much as they want or binge drinking during the remaining 11 months of the year. This, of course, is not advised.
(According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month, consuming about seven drinks per binge. This results in 17 billion total binge drinks consumed by adults annually, or 467 binge drinks per binge drinker. And this is one of the reasons Dry January is actually encouraged).
You always want to implement healthy changes that are sustainable. And if you drink alcohol, this is something that should be done in moderation year-round.
Use Dry January as an opportunity to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol and take in the benefits of going booze-free. Change how you approach drinking, no matter what time of year it is. You may find that committing to Dry January is better than any New Year’s resolution you have ever made.
Recent research from the University of Sussex revealed that people who participated in Dry January overall benefitted in many ways, including regaining control of their drinking, having more energy, losing weight and seeing their skin improve.
The study involved 800 people who participated in Dry January in 2018. The results showed that the participants were drinking less well after the month of January, even as late as August. More specifically, according to a report discussing the study, the results showed:
- Drinking days fell on average from 4.3 to 3.3 per week
- Units consumed per drinking day dropped on average from 8.6 to 7.1
- Frequency of being drunk dropped from 3.4 per month to 2.1 per month on average
"The simple act of taking a month off alcohol helps people drink less in the long term: by August people are reporting one extra dry day per week. There are also considerable immediate benefits: nine in ten people save money, seven in ten sleep better and three in five lose weight,” said one of the lead researchers.
On top of this, even the people ‘who fell off the wagon’ during Dry January and gave in to drinking alcohol still reaped some benefits.
"Interestingly, these changes in alcohol consumption have also been seen in the participants who didn't manage to stay alcohol-free for the whole month—although they are a bit smaller. This shows that there are real benefits to just trying to complete Dry January."
Let’s further explore some of the potential benefits of participating in Dry January (and in general going booze-free):
- Better Skin
There’s no getting around it. Alcohol wreaks havoc on the skin, and your skin is your body’s biggest organ! It’s dehydrating and depletes the body of vitamin A, a powerful nutrient and antioxidant that helps the skin maintain a youthful appearance. Consuming alcohol may also exacerbate acne and over-dilate blood vessels, causing spider veins. There is also credible evidence that alcohol consumption increases the risk of rosacea in women.
- Weight Loss
If your New Year’s resolution (we prefer calling it a ‘proactive lifestyle change’) is to lose weight, Dry January can certainly help kickstart this goal. Alcoholic beverages are nutrient-void and full of simple sugars and calories that can pack on the pounds. Furthermore, when you are drunk or tipsy, your inhibitions are lowered and you will likely become less mindful of how much you are eating and what you are eating at the next party or event you attend. And if you are regularly suffering from hangovers, you are more likely to skip the gym and lay on the couch with an entire pizza.
- Mental Clarity & Mental Health
It is my opinion that one of the best benefits you can get from going alcohol-free is the mental benefit. Depression and alcohol often go hand-in-hand. Drinking too much alcohol may also cause severe nutritional deficiencies by depleting the body of essential vitamins and minerals, like magnesium, selenium and iron. Furthermore, people who drink heavily tend to have poorer diets, lacking nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. If you are not nutritionally balanced, you are significantly more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, mood swings and have poorer cognitive function, including issues concentrating.
When you abstain from alcohol, you may not just notice physical changes but also develop a deeper understanding of why you drink too much in the first place (which may help you get to the root of any mental health issues).
The study discussed earlier revealed that 82% of participants thought more deeply about their relationship with alcohol, 80% felt more in control of their drinking and 76% learned more about why and when they drank.
Many of the participants of Dry January, (93%), had a sense of achievement and more energy (67%). In addition to this, 71% realized that they didn’t even need alcohol to enjoy themselves, which explains why many participants drank less well after Dry January.
More clarity, more control, a better sense of achievement and literally feeling good in the skin that you’re in, are all things that will help you be more proactive about your health. You will likely be more motivated to workout, eat healthily and practice better self-care all year.
Dry January is about exploring your relationship with alcohol. You don’t have to be an alcoholic to cut back or completely abstain. Think about what your health goals are. Or if you’re feeling depressed, remember that alcohol may be contributing to your depressive mood.
Think of Dry January as an experiment. What do you have to lose? Give it a go, journal your experience and really explore your relationship with alcohol.
I’m not a drinker myself, but I love ‘cocktails’ - vitamin therapy cocktails! I utilize these cocktails monthly to address my inevitable nutrient absorption issues as I add another year to my age. The pH IV Vitamin Drips provide hydration and vitamins directly into the bloodstream to help boost my nutritional status. I believe this has successfully boosted my immunity and good health. Also check out our nutrient injections and pushes.
Cheers to a healthy and happy 2019!
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.