Dry January, aka ditching the booze for a month, is a common New Year Resolution for many who want to regain control of their lives and reap the promoted benefits of it, like save money, sleep better, and drop the extra holiday weight, just to name a few. More than 3 million people in the UK signed up for it at the beginner of this year. If you're curious as me of who many actually succeeded, research shows that 2/3 of people who sign up successfully make the whole month without a single drop of alcohol. While seven in ten ends up drinking less over the next months as a result. Regardless of the number of finishers, Dry January is a great campaign to sparkle conversations and awareness about alcohol consumption and to help people revisit their relationship with booze.
That said, this is an important challenge for people who are used to binge drinking and cannot stop after the second glass. Excessive drinking can lead to a bunch of negative health effects for the short and long-term. Although taking a month break and then over-compensating in the next months does not make any difference, in the end, it's already a beginning. And it's much to hope that the benefits of it will be shown to be better than the alcoholic amnesia of the weekend, the empty wallets, and the sleepless nights.
During a Ketogenic diet, regular drinking can hinder its benefits, like steady energy and weight loss. "Ah, but I only drink Vodka, so it's okay!" Nope. It's not how many carbs are in the drink, but how the body processes it. Drinking regularly and over a few glasses, turns your body more into an alcohol burning machine, than a fat-burning one. Also, the cravings with alcohol doubles. Raise your hand if you also dream about a cheeseburger at 2 am on a drunk night. Not to mention how easy we can get drunk on Keto. Am I right?
I decided to take this challenge myself as part of my own New Years Resolution. I did not realize that, but for a few years, I felt the pressure to always 'have' to drink at friendly gatherings and that alcohol was a reward. I remember thinking I 'deserved' a glass of wine after a long day, and a drinking night out after a busy work week. The result? Every time I did that I felt tired, demotivated and spent days feeling the aftermath of drinking: total hangover smashed hell.
Because I was so used to it, and everyone else around me drinks, at first, I did not think I'd be able to go with it through the end and let go of the habit. But it was much easier and enjoyable than I thought. After completing this challenge, I realized I had:
- A bunch of extra money to spend on better things rather than drinking it;
- More time and energy to spend on quality activities like a run, learn new things or watch a movie with my loved one;
- Better sleep;
- More mental clarity and focus;
- No more cravings.
Just to name a few. For these reasons, Dry January was 100% worth it. Would I do it again? Yes! This experience really has changed how I will approach drinking in February, March, April... and beyond. I highly recommend taking a month off alcohol to anyone who feels like their relationship with it is getting on their way of who they want to be.
But just to be clear... I did have a few drinks on my bday at the end of January and it was nice. And from now on, I will still have a drink occasionally (and with moderation!) whenever I think it's okay to do so. But not because I feel like I have to. The biggest lessons here are that it's okay to have a glass of wine on a Friday night, but most importantly, it's also okay to not have it, that dinner can be as enjoyable with a glass of water, and a great evening well spent is when you have the people you love around you, regardless of what you're drinking.
If you missed the chance for a Dry January, and want to embark on a Dry-any-month or just really start controlling your life regardless of named challenges, this article is a great read showing what to be aware of and important steps before dishing the wine glasses.
Good luck on your journey and raise those virgin glasses in celebration to your results! And remember: on a Keto Diet, always watch out for the lower alcohol tolerance and other effects of mixing alcohol and Keto.
If you did participate in the Dry January challenge, tell us in the comments below if it was worth it and what were your biggest lessons.
Written by Laís Oliveira,
Content Developer for Keto Cacao.