You’re half way through Dry January. Alongside testing your ability to say ’no’ to a glass of wine on an evening or a few pints with friends at the weekend you’ve got a bit more dosh sitting in your wallet.
But what are the physical benefits? How does giving up alcohol for a month affect your health, or is a month to short for it to have any impact at all?
Dr Andrew Thornber, Chief Medical Officer at the Now Healthcare Group, says Dry January has plenty of benefits on both your physical and mental health.
But, like giving anything up, there will be periods where you don’t feel your best as your body naturally fights some of the changes taking place.
He explained: “The changes will happen quite quickly, but gradually over the course of the month they will become more apparent.
“At first you’ll probably feel a little anxious or restless (depending on how much you drank before) and may have trouble getting too sleep – as drink can help to actually fall asleep.
“However, quite quickly (usually within the first week) your body will adjust and you should start to have much better quality of sleep (less restless throughout the night) and you should start to wake feeling like you have much more energy and less groggy.
“Alcohol is full of empty calories, so over the course of the month and probably moving into week two, you should be able to see a slight changes in your body and those trousers that once were a little tight, should start to loosen up.
“Also if you’re exercising you’ll be able to burn fat/calories much easier than when you’re drinking.”
The Dry January campaign is publicised by Alcohol Concern.
The organisation also lists a host of benefits for taking part:
- It resets your relationship with alcohol – you realise you don’t need it
- You sleep better
- Your skin improves
- You lose weight
- More money in your pocket (the average person spends £50,000 on booze in their lifetime)
- Get healthier – through giving up alcohol for a month you do your insides a lot of good
- Amazing sense of achievement
Drinking alcohol every day for a month is unlikely to leave your body unharmed.
It is well-known that drinking too much for years on end can cause brain damage, liver cancer and alcohol hepatitis.
But alcohol abuse can impact your health much sooner than that – and it’s more serious than a hangover.
“The body is more than equipped to cope with the odd binge or moderate drinking,” said Rob Hobson, nutritional director at Healthspan and co-author of The Detox Kitchen Bible.
“But if you have a long period of consistently drinking large quantities of alcohol then this can impact on your physical health, general wellness and mental health.”