Hey guys! Was it just me or did January FLY BY?! I didn’t even realize dry January was over until this morning (and I could have been drinking all day yesterday!.. joking). But on a serious note, I wasn't even paying attention anymore because that's how much I didn't miss it! How did everyone do??
For those of you just getting on the band wagon, dry January is a challenge that you eliminate alcohol for the entire month of January. 4 weeks and 4 weekends- no drinking! After posting in the beginning of the month that this was going down I was SO blown away by so many of you that were also joining in on the “fun.” Countless people reached out saying they were up for the challenge! Which is great, because if you’re not going to be drinking you might as well have some sober buddies there with ya!
I recently reached out to a bunch of these dry-January participants to see what they learned, what was the most challenging, what surprised them and how this is might affect their lifestyle (if at all) going forward. Being completely honest, I for one had some challenges along the way and didn’t go dry 100%. (I know, I know!!) Here is when I “broke” the challenge:
A pre-planned event out that was a Christmas gift- Rodeo at Madison Square Garden. Tough to pass on a beer surrounded by cowboy hats and bull riders.
Weekend getaway to Montauk with my love to celebrate some good news. Tough to not cheers a glass of champagne when you are celebrating! (and champagne is my weakness!! ..something about those bubbles).
Last weekend night in our favorite beach town before we moved- there was a BBQ restaurant and their margs are AMAZING, so we split one to enjoy our last night there.
So yes, I “failed” the challenge if you will. BUT there was a lot that I learned along the way and looking back at these events that I had a couple of drinks, they were pre-planned, 100% ‘worth it’ and I didn’t overdo it. Overall, I’m super happy about the month’s challenge. Trying to eliminate alcohol has always been something that I’ve wanted to do eventually. Although it is fun, it’s terrible for your body, your health, kills your progress in the gym, ages your skin, kills your organs, there really is no use for it in our bodies.
…. Also I read one time in an interview with J. Lo that she attributes looking so young in her 40's because she doesn’t drink or smoke. Genetics and endless glam squad support doesn’t hurt either- but the no alcohol has validity. *Side note: when it comes to aging, the sun, alcohol, smoking, nutrition, and skin care DOES go a long way – and it starts in your 20's and 30's.
Now, I’m not QUITE ready to eliminate alcohol all together in my 20’s but maybe one step closer. I’m making a lifestyle change to avoid alcohol Monday-Friday (yes including Friday night) and Sunday unless there is a pre-planned event that is 100% “worth-it” i.e. Christmas eve or my birthday- in which case, bring on the bubbly!! I feel generally healthier, could bring my fitness to another level, I felt sharper and more energized, slept better, skin looks better, my body looks and feels great- overall better without alcohol!
This outcome came as no surprise to me so I asked a few of the other Dry January participants to see what they had to say! Check it out..
“After having cut alcohol out of my diet for a month, I can honestly say I that I now have a completely different outlook on the role it plays in my life. I don’t need a glass of wine to relax. I can relax just as well with a cup of tea. After surviving a bad day, rather than rewarding myself with a cocktail, I rewarded myself with a workout, or with a home cooked meal. At first I tried to avoid social situations that would involve alcohol because I was afraid I wouldn’t have the willpower to resist a drink. However, after a very lonely first week I realized that was silly. So, I still went to the bar, watched football, and went out to dinner, replacing my usual sauvignon blanc with a club soda. And you know what...it was just as fun! On top of it all, I feel amazing. I feel more rested because the quality of my sleep has improved. My mind is clear, and I’m not experiencing the fuzziness that I sometimes felt the day after consuming alcohol. Though the month is ending, my goal is to continue limiting alcohol in my life. It’d be unrealistic for me to say that I’ll never drink again, but I’m proud of myself for completing this challenge. So much so that I plan to celebrate! Just not with a drink. “
“When I was proposed the idea of dry January I had to mentally drag myself in kicking and screaming. Coming off a binge of the food family and inevitable alcohol the holidays bring I didn’t want it to end. I thought that having such an abrupt stop to such gluttony was an impossible task, however, it was the exact shift in mental paradigm I have been yearning for. The first weekend was downright impossible, Friday night had friends over and drank seltzer while they drank beers; Saturday night went to my Mothers birthday party and drank seltzers with my family staring at me in utter confusion; made it to football Sunday and invited no friends over so I could drink my seltzer in quiet. Once I made it through the first week I felt a boost in confidence… Maybe I can do this? Day after day it got easier and easier. Switching my usual drinks for seltzers and swapping bar nights for gym nights. As I was obviously feeling the positive physical results it was the mental effects I was enjoying the most. .After just 31 days I had a complete mental revolution. I had the ability to say NO. It wasn’t just for the booze either. After this experience I can look out for myself and do more of the right things with a higher confidence.”
"I participated in “Dry January” this year, so when I saw Amanda was too and encouraging others - we immediately connected about it! As a person who has cut out alcohol before, you think it would be easier, but the reality is you know what you are faced against. Bridal showers, birthday’s, work events, the usual weekend rendezvous and sometimes even the “its Thursday and I just need a glass of wine!” night. The first few days are always cake because its new, and you’re excited but it really can be the peer pressure that breaks you. I am very proud to say I only succumbed to these challenges twice! A vodka club (Tito’s to keep it gluten-free and club soda to avoid an even nastier hangover) and a glass of wine with a friend at dinner. Here’s what I will say - was it worth it? Not really! When your eliminating anything from your body but especially something as toxic as alcohol, it takes some time for your body to completely rid of it from your system so by having “just that one” - you’re just going to find yourself continuously hitting the reset button and what was meant to be one dry month, turns into three months of attempts. Am I beating myself up about it? Absolutely not! I still felt amazing on every other day and when you rid yourself of the hangovers (even if its just being sluggish the next day) you really begin to notice how much more time you have in the day, many more active things you’ll want to do and productivity hits an all time high! I believe your health is made up of small incremental decisions and when I eliminate alcohol - I find myself make more and more of these decisions everyday!"