The big, ceremonious, ritualistic time of fresh beginnings, new goals, life pivots, and catalysts is upon us. We’re ready to set our intentions for the year ahead and hope for the best, as long as possible. Some things are in our control—our fitness goals, our money moves—and, as we have discovered in the past two years, some things are very, very out of our control. Here at Poosh, we’re choosing to look at what we have agency over and make the best decisions for our health.
One of the most simple, and yet most challenging, things we can do to make a huge impact on our state of being is to cut back on alcohol. For some, this might not mean much. There are those of us who only drink on the weekends or when we’re celebrating, or rarely at all. However, we intimately know that many of us indulge in a drink or two to unwind most nights of the week.
Cooking something special? A delicious glass of biodynamic wine of course! Meeting a friend anytime after 3 p.m.? For a cocktail, duh. And, naturally, last month was a culmination of celebrations, gatherings, parties, and more in which small bites, big bites, and many, many sips came into play. It’s perhaps the booziest month of them all, and we’re here for it.
Unfortunately, that takes a toll on the body, spirit, and mind in a multitude of ways. A great way to start off the year with a clean slate isn’t fasting or an impossible new workout schedule to keep up with, but clearing out all that special juice, for the entire 30 days.
Hilary Sheinbaum is the author of The Dry Challenge, helping the more will-power-challenged figure out how to officially stop hitting the hooch for Dry January, Sober October, or any other time our bodies are trying to tell us we’ve overdone it and need a reset. She helped us break down just how impactful a month sans the sauce is on our overall well-being.
“[You] can expect to experience a range of positive physiological changes, including better sleep, better digestion, and increased energy—and financial savings! I know this isn’t a physical change, but drinks can get pretty pricey, and they definitely add up,” Sheinbaum points out.
Aha! We knew there was another golden reason to cut back on drinks. Ever want to catch up with a friend and it ends up costing $60 on a random Wednesday and a tough wake-up call the next morning? Not that we need an excuse not to drink, but this is a great one.
And for all those fitness goal-makers ready to go full steam ahead in the new year, Sheinbaum also calls attention to the fact that going without alcohol offers major weight-loss potential, especially for those who love sweet cocktails, beer, spirits, and wine … and the inevitable, uninhibited, late-night munchies that tend to follow. “Real talk: no one is craving a kale salad at 3 a.m.—it’s all pizza and fries.” Dang. Got us.
“You may also notice more hydrated, glowy skin, as alcohol can dehydrate us and cause skin to appear dull. And, according to research conducted by the University of Sussex, Dry January participants are likely to still drink less by August (so people drink less following their dry months, up to eight months later). Eighty percent of the 800 research participants felt more in control of their drinking, 76% learned more about when and why they drink … and so much more. I definitely drink less after a dry month, and year after year, I’ve reduced my consumption significantly.”
And, as Dan Stiller, co-founder and CEO of Better Rhodes, reminds us, it’s not forever. “To me, it is like cake. As a kid, if you said I could have cake at every meal, I would be all over that, but as I evolved and became more conscious of health and wellness, evolved my own tastes, and began to connect more with the ‘meal’ in the sense of friends and family, the less cake played a role. I still love a great chocolate cake, but only on occasion.” It’s about balance.
While these are all ideal beauty and wellness benefits that should have us all enthusiastically on board, it’s not so easy when all our friends are imbibing per usual. Try to get an accountability buddy on board to ease the temptation, and schedule more friend dates that don’t include alcohol to help it stay out of sight, out of mind. Plus, there are tons of tasty alcohol-free, super-healthy mocktails on the market these days.
*Dry January is not intended to help those with serious addiction. If seeking help with this disease, please seek a recovery consultation, a program, and group support.