A Guide To Dry January, And Why You Should Try It

A Guide To Dry January, And Why You Should Try It

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The holiday season is now over. We’ve had our fun, celebrated with loved ones, and enjoyed some well-earned creature comforts throughout the season. But now that it is over, and it’s time to get back to our normal lives (and keeping new year’s resolutions, which we’ll discuss later), why not try a new approach to starting the new year on a healthy note? By this, we mean Dry January. What is Dry January? Well, in short it is a public health campaign which encourages abstaining from alcohol for the first month of the year. Given that studies have shown that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, drinking excessively increased by 21% in the United States, it’s no surprise that this challenge is trending. To some who may have overindulged during the holidays, this will be a welcome reprieve from the excess. For others, it may be a bit more of a challenge, nevertheless, one worth pursuing. Aside from helping us move on from the season, it has proven to be enormously helpful for both our physical and mental health. So, without further ado, let’s explore the ways Dry January can jumpstart our health in a safe and easy way, and get our year off on the right foot.

Huge Savings

Let’s go ahead and start with the one that everyone loves and needs. Given the sometimes-frantic nature of the holiday season, complete with excess food, drinks, and gifts, many of us find ourselves with our bank accounts a little lighter than we would like. And let’s face it, alcohol is expensive. By cutting out all alcohol for the month, we can save a surprising amount of money, which is always a great incentive!

Weight Loss and Less Bloating

While alcohol is known to be high in (empty) calories, they are also liquid calories which means they do very little to make us feel full. A lot of our holiday weight gain (if any) can be attributed to alcohol, given our habit of not counting those calories. Not to mention that many of the seasonal holiday drinks (eggnog, for example) are also very high in sugar and fats. So not only do we gain weight, but we bloat, which is just an all-around uncomfortable feeling, we all hate it. Finally, there is the fact that when we’ve been drinking, we tend to eat more foods with less nutritional value. It’s a vicious cycle but committing to a challenge like Dry January is a great way to break it!

Improved Sleep Quality

Who doesn’t want better sleep? Now, while it is true that when we drink, sometimes it seems as though we fall asleep as soon as our head hits the pillow. But more often than not, it tends to be a restless sleep, where we wake up just a few hours later feeling bleary eyed and not much better than before. This is because research has shown that alcohol can interfere with our body’s interactions with adenosine, an organic compound in our bodies that helps our blood vessels dilate and relax. And even if we do sleep through the night, we tend to wake up feeling groggier than usual. Combining this with the fact that sleep is an essential component of healthy weight loss, this reason seems like very strong motivation to try staying away from alcohol for a month.

Hydration is Much Easier

This one may seem like a surprise, but it shouldn’t be. Alcohol is widely known to be a diuretic, which in short means we find ourselves running to the bathroom more often than if we just drank water. This, coupled with the fact that our body has to work to get rid of the alcohol in our system, means that it is much harder for us to properly hydrate. Cutting out alcohol for the month and making sure to hydrate properly makes sure we can keep our bodies healthy. And in keeping with our larger theme, hydration is also a known benefit to weight loss. But beyond that, being hydrated can also make our skin look brighter and less dry! Given that it’s already cold enough outside, no reason to make our skin suffer more, is there?

It Can Help Develop A Better Relationship with Alcohol

Over the last few months, we have driven the point that an important step towards healthy weight loss is building a better relationship with food. That was meant to illustrate both the dangers of overindulging in calories, as well as the realization that we should be more mindful about what we eat and show more consideration regarding what we put in our bodies. As we pointed out earlier, alcohol is very high in empty calories, but more importantly, drinking to excess carries a whole laundry list of other serious health problems. By taking a break from alcohol, we can change our relationship with it, and maybe even realize it’s not as necessary as we once thought. The occasional drink is fine (once Dry January is over, of course), but a little bit of restraint goes a long way in changing our overall approach.

Stack the Benefits of Dry January With The Benefit of Medical Expertise

The goal of Dry January is to try and develop better habits regarding our health headed into the new year. This obviously improves all facets of our overall health, but it is most visible in our weight. This is why we felt the need to share this challenge with our patients. When all is said and done, weight loss falls under the category of medical science. By seeking the help of trained professionals, you not only have better resources to succeed, but the support structure and care you need to continue building better habits. Building and sustaining these habits into the new year and beyond is essential to keep the momentum going in the new year! The professionals at Olivera Weight Loss have over 40 years of experience in helping people reduce their weight to a healthy BMI, in a clinically proven and medically safe way, and with the means to help their patients keep it off.

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