Fatty livers, credit card bills and hangovers… why we are giving up the booze and going dry in January.

As sure as night follows day, promises of a healthy January have followed our booze and binge-fuelled December. In an attempt to keep that promise, several members of the team have signed up to ‘Dry January’. For a gaggle of seasoned drinkers, this is going to be no easy task, but it is one we are determined to stick with. Right now, a mere three days after New Years’ Eve, we’re all feeling pretty confident, but come mid-January (we have our eye on you, Friday the 17th…) our resolve will undoubtedly be slipping. So, I have decided to write this blog to act as motivation for the month.

Five reasons why Dry January is an excellent idea…

1. Our livers deserve a break.

Obviously, we drank far too much in December. Our livers were working overtime and now they need a break. According to Drink Aware, if you ‘drink more than eight units a day (four pints of lager) if you’re a man and over five units a day (two medium-sized glasses of wine) if you’re a woman’, for two or so weeks, you are likely (not probably or maybe, but likely), to develop something called ‘fatty liver’.

Fatty liver does not sound good. We do not want fatty livers, and we’re frankly ashamed of ourselves for getting them in the first place. However, the good news is, we can sort this out by a period of abstinence.   The liver will apparently start shedding the excess fat if you stop drinking for around two weeks. So after Dry January, we should be just fine again.

Importantly though, we must stick to the recommended daily guidelines from February onwards to ensure our fatty livers don’t return.

2. We need rest.

December was too busy. Yes, it’s fun seeing all your friends and family, and yes it’s great going to Christmas parties galore, but we are tired. The late nights were an issue, but even when we got to bed at a decent time, the sleep was not good. We know this from our own experiences, but the science backs it up too.

A review of the available literature and research on the effects of alcohol on sleep was carried out in 2013. The report’s author, Irshaad Ebrahim, medical director at The London Sleep Centre, summarises the findings like this;  “At all dosages, alcohol causes… a more consolidated first half sleep, and an increase in sleep disruption in the second half of sleep.”

So, doing away with the alcohol will improve the quality of our sleep – all night long. We’ll feel fresher, brighter, and, personally, I’ll be happier. I get grumpy without good sleep.

3. We will get stuff done.

Generally speaking, we spend too much time in the pub or in our pyjamas the next day. But not this month! No. We live and work in one of the greatest cities in the world, and this month we are going to make the most of it. Museums, parks, markets and other tourist attractions we’ve never been to… we are going to get out and see it all in January.

We’ll also be able to just be generally more productive and more active. There’ll be more time for our hobbies, or for trying something new. Plus, it’s Oscar season so there’s loads on at the cinema. Personally, I’m going to make a concerted effort to get back into that language I’ve been (half-heartedly) learning. This is the month that stuff WILL get done.

4. We will save loads of money

Drinking is not a particularly cheap pastime, especially in one of the world’s most expensive cities. Combine that with the year’s most expensive month, and our post-December finances are in a shambolic state. We need a month of bank account lockdown to right this wrong, and if we lay off the booze we will be halfway there.

Also, some of the money we do save can be put to good use in other ways. It will help us with the ‘get stuff done’ mantra. It will also help us achieve our other New Year’s resolutions. We can spend the money we save on booze on a gym membership, or some exercise classes, or a new pair of running shoes. There are plenty more wholesome ways we can find to part with our hard-earned cash.

5. We will lose the Christmas weight.

This is not the reason we are doing Dry January, but it will be a happy by-product of the month. First and foremost, we want to get rid of our fatty livers, but if we lose a couple of inches from elsewhere too, then that will be a good result – we certainly added a couple on in December.

There are around 160 calories in a pint of beer or an average sized glass of wine. Drink a few of them on a Friday night and it won’t take long before you’re well over the recommended daily calorie intake. Add that to the Mince Pies, the Christmas chocolates and the Christmas cake, and December was not a good month for calorie control.

Another personal incentive… I have my first wedding dress fitting on the 1st February. Enough said.

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