Dry January – Our Thoughts After A Month On The Wagon

So we are coming to the end of dry January and two of us decided to give it a go.

The most important question is, are we still going strong?! 

 Yay and Nay!  

One of us fell off the wagon and the other is still firmly sat on her wagon!  

aqua

Why did we decide to do it?  

Dry January isn’t for everyone and a lot of people feel like it isn’t something that is necessary for them, but giving our health a boost and saving some money were our main motivations.  

Health– giving up alcohol for a month will give the body, the liver especially, a good month to rest, and depending on the amount and type of drink you normally choose, abstaining for a month could lead to weight loss.  

But is there actually any evidence that dry January is good for your liver? 

The evidence is limited, however, the team at The New Scientist recently teamed up with the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at University College London Medical School (UCLMS) to investigate. 10 volunteers abstained from alcohol for 5 weeks and experienced the following results:

(1) Liver fat fell on average by 15 percent, and by almost 20 percent in some individuals.  This is encouraging as liver fat accumulation is a known indicator of developing liver damage. It can cause inflammation, resulting in liver disease.

(2) The fasting blood glucose levels of the abstainers dropped by 16 per cent on average which could be a sign of improved blood sugar control.

(3) Total blood cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease, dropped by almost 5 percent

You can read the full report here.The study was small and doesn’t give any insight into how long the effects would last but provides a basis for larger studies.

Money – when we actually sat down and worked out how much we were spending on alcohol every month we were shocked- so we embraced the task with enthusiasm thinking about all the extra shoes we could buy in February….

From extensive market research (!) we are estimating the average price of a large glass of wine (250mls) in London is £7.00, which is 2 units. The guidelines recommend that we drink no more than 14 units a week, SO going without our chosen tipple would save us £49.00 pounds a week and £196 over the month.  

wine

 What have we learned? 

Most of all it’s made us realise how much of our social lives are centred around alcohol.  

We’ve also realised that being the ‘one who isn’t drinking’ at the pub seems to make others who are drinking feel uncomfortable and in some cases leads to encouragement to have a drink, ‘go on just have one’.  It’s certainly food for thought and says a lot about the drinking culture in the UK.  

Giving up drinking frees up a lot of time. Most of us know how a hangover feels and waking up feeling refreshed has meant we have been able to be more productive!  

Finally, we’ve decided that we will take what we’ve learned with us into the rest of the year and reduce the amount we are drinking generally. For us, alcohol is something that absolutely can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy lifestyle, but cutting down has had benefits for our minds, body and wallets and we’d like that to continue!  

Did you try Dry January this year? Made it through the 4th week of January? Comment below and let us know your thoughts. 

flower

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi, due to a bladder condition alcohol is off the radar for me, a glass of white wine being the worst thing I can drink but most things are bad. 😕. 5 years ago when I realised the truth, that near complete avoidance was the only way forward for me, my eyes were opened to the cultural significance of alcohol drinking in Britain. The sympathetic looks and the ‘I couldn’t do that’ comments, you deserve to pour yourself a large glass of something, how many nights out are based on sitting in a pub with a drink in hand really stood out as this drinking culture that we are known for in other parts of Europe. You really notice it when you can’t drink. You notice everyone getting a bit tipsy too.
    After 5 years it really isn’t a problem. I miss really good wine for the taste and occasionally with a meal I have a tiny bit. But reading stories about the rise in alcohol related illness and morbidity in the UK with my new viewpoint from the outside, I am not surprised at all. Lynn

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  2. Pingback: Veganuary!

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