Sticking with Dry January might seem like a daunting prospect, so read our five tips to help you stay on track
The recommended amount of alcohol consumption for men and women is 14 units a week – that’s around six 175ml glasses of wine. Regularly drinking over this allowance increases your risk of several types of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, weight gain and high blood pressure. So it really makes sense to try and cut down on your intake – and Dry January is as good a time as ever.
1. Track your progress
Checking off another No Drink Day on your Drink Tracker is a sure-fire way to keep you motivated throughout the month. Just register your details at drinkaware.co.uk and log each time you have a No Drink Day (or if you had a cheeky half a lager), or download the Dry January app for iPhone or Android. You’ll soon build up a picture of how your drinking habits are changing for the better.
2. Reward yourself
Sticking with a challenge that sees your usual drinking behaviour vastly altered means you deserve a treat. Write a list of non-alcohol related rewards, like taking a long bath or seeing a movie with friends – anything that will stop you from pouring that large glass of red wine on a Friday night after a tough day at work.
3. Find an alternative drink
Having a drink is often a case of habit, so replace your usual tipple with a non-alcoholic alternative, or seek out venues that don’t serve alcohol and meet friends for a coffee instead. Assistant editor Liz is taking on Dry January by immersing herself in a world of coffee.
4. Make it a mocktail
Many pubs and bars offer a mocktail menu, but if they don’t, try ordering a ‘virgin’ version of your favourite cocktail instead. Non-alcoholic drinks are cheaper, too. We love this recipe from Highland Spring: combine the juice of 1/4 lemon and 1/4 orange with 1tsp honey in a glass and top with sparkling water. Garnish with orange and lemon zest.
5. Keep reminding yourself of the benefits
According to NHS choices, the immediate benefits of cutting down your alcohol intake include feeling brighter in the mornings, clearer skin, increased alertness during the day and better sleep. As soon as you notice these effects, we’re sure you’ll want to keep on going.
Bear in mind that, once January is over, your tolerance for alcohol may be reduced if you resume drinking. Read 10 ways to cut down on drinking to maintain your new habits.
Find out more about how cutting down on the booze can help your health in the January issue of Healthy Food Guide magazine, out now.