It’s the beginning of the year and while some of us may be gung-ho to hit the gym eight days a week, cut out all fat and sugar and never sit down again, that’s really not practical… for anybody. If you’re the type of person who tends to quit their New Year’s resolutions mid-February (or even if you’re not) a great endeavor to take up (especially after the holidays) is “Dry January.” The logic: cut out alcohol for 31 days, give your liver a chance to catch up with you and notice how alcohol affects your body.
Dry January started in 2011 in the U.K. when a woman decided to cut out alcohol for the month of January in preparation for a marathon she was running in February. The next year she started working for the British charity, Alcohol Concern, whose mission it is to reduce the problems (social, health, addiction) surrounding alcohol and started the Dry January campaign. In 2017, five million Britons participated in Dry January and 36,000 people around the globe downloaded the app created by the initiative.
If you’re a little skeptical about giving up alcohol — especially when all you want is to curl up with a glass of wine or some spiked hot chocolate — consider all the benefits people have found. According to the program, 79 per cent of participants last year reported saving money, 62 per cent slept better and had more energy and 49 per cent lost weight. If that’s not enough for you, there is also scientific evidence that suggests going dry for a month means you’ll drink less when it’s over and have a more conscious relationship with alcohol. Addiction specialists also say that giving up alcohol for a time can decrease anxiety and increase mental capacity. Although Dr. Erin Knight warns that heavy drinkers attempting the detox should consult a physician beforehand in case they experience withdrawal symptoms.
Dry January launched an app in 2016 to provide participants with support, tricks, facts, a calorie counter and information from experts. If you don’t feel like signing up, you can still make a personal commitment to abstain from alcohol for the month.
Looks like we’ve finally found a resolution that you’re supposed to quit at the end of January (unless you like how you feel so much that you want to make a lifestyle change).