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Dry January - things to consider

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

I'm not usually a fan of deprivation, but in the case of Octsober (giving up alcohol for the month of October), and Dry January (giving up alcohol for the month of January), it can be an opportunity for reflection on lifestyle change.

My own experience of doing dry January was really interesting from a health point of view.

I didn't change my diet and I kept my exercise routine the same, I just removed alcohol completely. My internal body fat decreased that month by 2.5%, with no other dietary changes.

For some, living without alcohol can be a good way to show yourself that it's become a habit that can be broken. Even if temporarily, it shows it's possible to reduce intake and create health benefits. Also, remember there are financial benefits too.

The NHS recommends:

Knowing your units will help you stay in control of your drinking.

To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level if you drink most weeks:

  • men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis

  • spread your drinking over 3 or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week

  • if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week

14 units is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of lower-strength wine. (More information here) 

Unfortunately, in the fast-paced, stressful and busy lives we lead, and with the ready availability of alcohol and the way it's sold to us as a solution (wine o' clockbetc), the units can creep up and can catch us unawares.

You can use this tool by Drink Aware to check your drinking habits: click here 

Crucially, though, Dry January is not appropriate for everyone. If you have an alcohol dependence, which many people do and is nothing to be ashamed of, it can be dangerous to suddenly cease drinking.

You can find out more about alcohol misuse and problematic drinking here 

In order to know whether you have a dependency, if you suspect that you might, please speak to a healthcare professional, ideally your GP, before reducing your drinking

For others who don't have dependency, Dry January is a great way to eliminate alcohol for a month and see where it leads.

If you are in the habit of reaching for a drink after a stressful week at work, or you find that you have certain stress or emotional triggers, it's a good plan to have some alternatives lined up. So, will you go for a walk instead? Have a soft drink? Listen to music? Meditate? Swim? Snack on fruit or veg or nuts/ seeds? Do have some plans in place for go-to distraction activities and healthy snacks and drinks. Try not to replace alcohol with a calorie or fat dense alternative because you won't get all of the health benefits of quitting.

You can find more handy hints & tips around reducing alcohol intake here 

If you plan ahead, and think about it now, you have a much higher chance of success.

So, who's joining me for a dry January?

As a personal trainer and nutrition coach with a specialism in perimenopause, menopause, pregnancy, postnatal and mindfulness, I can help you to achieve your health, nutrition and fitness goals.

I don't do diets, quick fixes, or fads. Just simple, sustainable solutions with a focus on health metrics rather than physique, aesthetics and weight alone.

I have 50% off a selection of packages and PT sessions, if booked by 30th November. Sign up to my website to access the offer.

Interested in talking to me? Book a free call with me now. Email me or contact me via my website 

Let's do Dry January together.

Best wishes


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