Feeling the effects of ‘Dry January’?
Those of you who took part in the 31 days without alcohol challenge are probably feeling it now. Dry January is an abstinence movement that follows the over-indulging festive season for the month of January. Participants are challenged to avoid that schooner at the local pub after work for the month as a non-medical detoxifying approach to their overall health. Although the principles behind Dry January are some we can all appreciate, now that those 31 days are done, are you prepared to stick to that no-alcohol diet? If you’re not, did that one-month booze-free really make that much of a difference in the long run? The answer is no.
Any stride towards a healthier lifestyle is to be commended, but acknowledging that Dry January focuses on one month only is also important. Giving your organs (especially your liver) a much-needed break after a month of eggnog and beer can help you shed up to 15% of fat cells if consistent for five weeks. But what happens after those five weeks? January and February are notorious for failed New Year’s resolutions and those lofty health commitments. After as little as just two weeks of abstinence, people begin to crave what they gave up and often end up buried heavier in their indulgences’ in a subconscious effort to make up for the month or week off. So while it’s all well and good to take a month-long break, if you don’t intend to keep to it, look elsewhere for a health and weight loss strategy.
To help you bounce back from the festive season and your attempt at Dry January we suggest you follow these simply tips:
- Be clear and set attainable, realistic and long term goals. While a break is nice, you don’t have to completely give up that rewarding beer at the end of the day. Rather, attempt to limit yourself and the empty calories to just once a week. This combined with healthy eating habits, a Man Shake and regular physical activity will yield better results than a single alcohol-free month.
- Focus on positive inclusion rather than the forbidden fruit. As men we always want what we can’t have, there’s no way around it, so instead of focusing on the forbidden fruit (alcohol), try taking a more positive approach to a healthy lifestyle. Living healthy shouldn’t mean a loss of things you enjoy, your healthy lifestyle should complement the things you enjoy most. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle you can still enjoy the occasional beer during the game with the guys.
- Manage stress and acknowledge areas of improvement. Men often turn to alcohol as a means of coping with uncomfortable, unpredictable and negative situations. Instead of a month off before you dive right back into the old habits, take a step back and figure out what it is that makes a situation uncomfortable, man up and deal with it head-on. Stop using unhealthy vices as coping mechanisms. That applies to alcohol, food and laziness.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day. Month long abstinence and health goals are nice, but don’t expect to see a year’s worth of dedication in that time. Don’t sell yourself short. Pace yourself and get ready for the long haul. Create health goals that you will stick to for longer than a month because we get it, some days just call for a schooner.
Don’t take this to mean a month without alcohol isn’t a step towards a healthier you, but don’t limit yourself to such a short period for change and results. If you didn’t last the month or you’re already knee deep in it again, in the future save yourself the hassle and look towards a more gradual and long-term approach.