#JanuaryJoy – Dry January

The health service is full of health initiatives, I should know – each new one brings a slew of patients worried about the recently highlighted health issue. There was Stop-tober (Stop Smoking) recently and this month Alcohol Concern is promoting Dry January and Cancer Reaserch is simultaneously running Dryathalon and using it as a fundraising opportunity.

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So time for a tough question. Do you ever feel like you drink too much? I definitely drink less than I used to (in the Uni years for example!) but the festivities seem like a never ending marathon of drinks and overindulgence. When the party season isn’t in full swing it’s all too easy to unwind after a busy or stressful day at work by heading straight for the fridge and pouring a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

So until 25th of January (when we’re planning a weekend away for Pete’s birthday) and with the exception of next Saturday when I have an annual Black Tie event to attend, I’m staying off the hard stuff, the bubbly stuff, the lot. I know it’s not the whole month, but it’s what will work for me and a good start.

For me this is about health. Cutting out alcohol not only cuts out the calories it contains but hopefully is going to seriously help my will power when it comes to making healthier food choices. You see, put a drink in my hand and I suddenly lose all ability to make sensible choices when it comes to food. For me, a drink goes with nibbles, olives maybe or some bar snacks. Then I’m hungry, and I go for a burger or the cream sauce pasta instead of a healthier choice. That’s before I even get to the dessert menu.

So who’s with me? I’m hoping cutting out alcohol is going to make me feel fitter and brighter. No hangover at the weekend and a healthier start to the New Year. I’d love to hear what your attitude to alcohol is – have you ever given up the booze for a short period like this or wanted to do it? Let’s raise a glass (of tonic, hold the gin,) to Dry January.


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29 thoughts on “#JanuaryJoy – Dry January

  1. I’ll be joining you for a dry January – I’ve tried to do it for the last couple of years as it “resets” my alcohol norms after Christmas. After Jan I do try to drink only a couple of times a month and find it easier when it’s lighter in the day/evenings. I do tend to drink more regularly in the winter months, particularly Nov/Dec – a combination of it always being very busy and the party season.

  2. I’m with you Rebecca. I definitely don’t drink as much as I used to (Uni days again!), and not really drinking for nine months (I had the odd glass of Red wine whilst pregnant) has meant my tolerance to alcohol is now quite low.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do like a glass of wine, especially after a long day, but I don’t really miss it when I don’t have it.

    So I’ll be joining you in Jan for some dry time. There will be an exception on the 17th Jan when we have an awards do at work, but apart from that, no excuses. I’m hoping it will also help with my ramped up Marathon training schedule… And therefore kickstart one of my Resolutions from yesterday.

    Also for the record I’m not that into the way Cancer Research have tried to make the Dryathon into a fundraising activity. Why would I sponsor someone for going dry? What we’ll be doing is giving the money we’ve saved from going dry to a charity… We think that’s a much better idea! It’s a great second #JanuaryJoy!

    Erin x

  3. Hmmm I don’t really drink a lot. The boy does not drink at all (he just does not like the after taste of alcohol), so I guess that makes it a lot easier for me, if no one drinks around you, and there are no drinks around…
    I do have a thing for sweet cocktail, on Christmas Eve I made Sangria (everyone loved it, maybe I can send you the recipe after dry January) and a friend made Cava + Sorbet (red fruits or lemon) + mint leave cocktails.
    I also love Spritz (Prosecco + Aperol + Mineral water (bubbly) + slice of orange).
    What I am going to do on for Dry January Joy is cut out the sugar completely (at least for a week and then we´ll see how it goes), since I am also not drinking coffee (trying to live without caffeine).

  4. Dry January isn’t too tough for me seeing as I’m pregnant anyway but I was surprised about how easy it was to give up alcohol (although I have had the odd glass of wine I’d say I’ve had a bottle of wine in total for the last 8 months rather than each week as was normal!). I’m a bit dubious about doing dry months or weeks as the only people I know who do this are verging on alcohol dependence the rest of the time so usually I prefer a cut down approach. I think my drinking days are behind me now but I am looking forward to my first G&T in a few weeks time!

  5. Maybe its just me but when I discovered that day two was “dry” day, I suddenly started craving gin at 7.30am (whereas, usually, that doesn’t start until I get to work…..).

    In all seriousness, I’ve been cutting down on things “month by month” (September was bread, October was pasta and rice and November was crisps and cheese) because if I try and do it all in one month I’ll kill someone. My PT has now said that I should really try and cut down alcohol until JUNE because its really calorific. Whilst there will be some exceptions (wine tastings, hen do, really bad days at work) I will try, for the most part, to give up alcohol until then. I realise that now everyone will think I’m pregnant or a member of the AA (I am neither).

    • is the ‘cutting out’ thing happening in the leadup to your wedding? I did the same thing, but it was cutting out alcohol which made me feel (and look) the best! We, too, are having a dry january both for the sake of our fitness and our joint savings account… no more glasses of wine at £8.70 each in 2013!

      • Yes, although its also part of my “eat more healthily” thing which will be continued after the wedding. Today, for example, I have had chicken breast and peppers for snacks rather than a twix from the vending machine. Whoop whoop me. Except the depravation from the sugar has given me the world’s worst migrane. I now know why people need to drink two litres of water per day…..to drown out the pain.

        I rarely actually paid for drinks at bar prices but the rare times I have (that sounds so cheap!) I’ve dropped dead in shock. I can get a cocktail for that!!! My midweek tends to be so full of work events that I can drink very nice wine for free Monday to Friday and then we tend to drink “in” on a weekend with a nice meal or sunday lunch. I’m attempting to attend less work events this year (because its just so knackering).

  6. Very interesting post Rebecca! Most of my months are almost entirely dry (except December) as I’m not really a drinker. So this January I’m going to try to streamline my diet and eat more healthfully instead

  7. I don’t tend to drink too much anyway but recently I noticed that it was starting to spill out into the week. So, my dry January will be making sure I don’t drink in the week. Of course this won’t mean binging at the weekend!

    Oh, and yesterday was spent making resolutions and going for a really long New Years Day walk – ultimate January Joy!x

    • I try and do this the rest of the year Jen… it’s not the volume that I drink that I think about but the fact that it can bcome a daily event between work, seeing friends, the weekend and just enjoying a glass with Pete! Staying away from booze Mon-Thurs is a solution for me.

  8. Given up alcohol whilst pregnant, apart from very occasionally glass of wine.

    It saves money, and no doubt is healthier. I can have an enjoyable night out without alcohol. I do miss a glass of wine to relax in evening, and occasional glass of port. Not forgetting G and Ts. I have only really missed alcohol when on holiday though, so will definitely be cutting back, once baby is out.

  9. I’ll be joining you. Gladly!!! I look and feel hideous after a few very unhealthy months. Time for some R&R and healthy living!

    Two years ago I gave myself hideous alcohol poisoning on NYE (not proud, uttterly stupid, but, not entirely my fault!), after a heavy few months of drinking and partying (we have a bar in our office! eek) and so gave up for just over two months until Rio Carnival in March. I lost over stone! Like you say – my food choices tend to be healthier when i’m not drinking. Plus, a big drinking night often ends in a late night pizza slice (or three) or a McDonalds/Wasabi katsu curry pot on the train home and also requires a hangover brekkie (at weekends) or a hangover cheese and bacon croissant (on school nights) in the morning.

    Last year I tried it, but with six 30ths in January, including my own, avoiding fizz and cocktails was just torture!

    In the last two years though I’ve cut out wine, unless it’s with a meal and stick to a glass of fizz or a gin-and-slim most of the time. I do love a cocktail as well, but I do try to be good about which ones i choose. Also, there’s a bar opposite my office that does Low-Cal cocktails. Ridiculous really, but hey, I fall for it!

    • Victoria, I did this and totally thought of you!
      You should totally go for one of your girl’s about town posts. We did the Gangam style dance class and it was ALRRRIIIIIIIIIIIGHT (thats what the Aussie dance teacher kept yelling at 50 million decibels). They do other “music video” classes too.

      • Ha ha! I love that you did a Gangnam Style dance class and thought of me!! brilliant!

        I did a “Strictly Dirty Dancing” class there a little while back for a friend’s birthday – it was so much fun, and all of us developed mini (ok, massive) crushes on the instructor and stalked him on Facebook for a few weeks!

  10. I’m definitely joining you in Dry January. December is so busy party wise and my birthday is just before Christmas as well. I don’t over-drink when I do indulge, but by New Years Eve this year a glass of wine had me feeling well, a bit sick (doesn’t help that it really wasn’t great wine). So, dry January for me and only special occasions after that, at least that’s my intention, but you’re right when you say it’s so tempting to reach for a glass of wine to de-stress on an evening. Victoria I’m really hoping that I will be losing weight like you did!

  11. After drinking way to much wine and having an horrific hangover on New Years Day, I’ve been motivated to do a dry month. So I’m going to try the whole month, with the exception of my sisters 30th on 19th.

    I’m also going to try and get myself into a good habit of drinking lots of water and reducing the daily caffeine intake!x

  12. Great post. Apart from 2 days, I will also be laying off the alcohol in January and trying to eat a bit more healthily by eating less bread, making sure I get my 5 a day and also upping my water intake. I dont believe in banishing everything as i am likely to fail then binge so instead if I go for unhealthy options I am going to cut down on portion size (eg have half a pizza & salad instead of a full one!)

    I’ve been drinking nearly every night since Christmas Eve and its now got to the point where I am looking forward to going back to work to get back to normality.

  13. I was never a huge drinker but after pregnancy and breast feeding meant a 15 month hiatus (although I did still have the occasional drink while breast feeding) I have still never got back to the pre baby drinking. It’s a great idea though FF and so I’ll give the dry January a go, who know maybe I’m more of a drinker than I thought! x

  14. I am definitely feeling very unhealthy, liver-wise at the moment. I am not planning an entirely dry month, but am going to aim to cut out booze 5/7 days per week, Sunday to Thursday. I think it’s going to be quite tough as I do love a glass of wine or two after work, but hopefully I’ll be able to stick to it, as the festive season really took it out of me!

  15. I’m doing a dry January as something strange happened last year and I went from being someone who barely drank to someone who got drunk and I did not like what that did to me. As I have had a few health issues (weak immune system/liver and mental health things) that have massively benefited from ditching booze, I’ve often gone months without drinking and when I do, tend to try and go for the good stuff, but this past year most social occasions have been based around booze and I’ve realised how many of my friends and family can be pretty heavy drinkers. So I’m knocking drink on the head for January and hoping that resets me to being someone who barely drinks again. I liked being there it was nice and I felt a lot better.

  16. Just to add in my recent experience-I’m 6 months pregnant and cutting out alcohol has been the biggest adjustment so far! I used to wonder how I could go a week without, let alone 9 months. I wasn’t a huge drinker and would usually go Mon-Thurs unless there was an event, but I did love a drink and love being social, celebrating or relaxing with a glass of wine.
    It’s been easier than I thought in many ways. Nights in or nights out with close friends are fine without a drink, and I find myself able to stay out as late as usual. However, boring work events are even more boring without a wine to get me through, and going out after work on a Friday or getting home from a hard week is tough without the relaxing properties of a nice chilled white.
    What I hope I’ll learn from t his enforced dry spell is not to drink just for the sake of it; that one or two drinks is often enough, and to chose better quality drinks and savour them more. Although come and see me when I’m back in work with a sleepless baby in a few months and no doubt I’ll be necking a cheap white with no label vodka chasers…!

    • Interesting POV Sarah – it’s good to hear from someone who thought it would be hard – I often feel like that might be one of the hardest things about pregnancy but then all the food restrictions are pretty much my favourite foods too! x

  17. I’ve just come over to check in on #JanuaryJoy as I’m planning some posts and I want to point out that NONE of my tweets were aimed at you. I promise. I’ve only just seen this.

    As another commenter said, I really do not like the angle Cancer Research have taken here. I fully appreciate they need to raise as much money in as many ways as they can but for me, this has crossed a line. It doesn’t make any sense to me that you should be sponsored for not drinking? Sure, donate the money you save but sponsorship makes a weird sport of it or something.

    Sorry. Have very strong feelings about that one.

    Anyway, I’ve been a mum over four years now and have probably been drunk about six times in that time. I very rarely drink wine at home but I now get very tipsy VERY quickly! The groggy hungover feeling is just not worth having with a small noisy boy around. I feel much better for it. I absolutely hate the feeling of being drunk now and my skin is definitely better than when I was going out regularly.

    • Ha ha don’t worry – not only did I miss your tweets (- there was quite a twitter storm today of chat!) but I’m ambivalent about the whole thing.

      I really hadn’t given the sponsorship thing a second thought until people mentioned it here. I just noted it when I clicked through to check the official names Alcohol Concern and Cancer Research were giving their campaigns. I’d no more ask someone to sponsor me to stop drinking than fly to the moon. It was just a personal health choice for me… On reflection though it is quite odd, but as the saying goes, there’s nowt as queer as folk! 😉

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