In case you’ve missed it, I’m on day 21 of Dry January. Just like veganism, I feel compelled to tell anyone who will listen. And a few who won’t.
For those of you who aren’t massive fans of alcohol, this is a concept whereby drinkers avoid alcohol for the month of January. People do it for a whole variety of reasons; mine was pretty straightforward.
Have you ever seen the calories contained in a pint of IPA?!
The decision was incredibly easy, once I stepped onto the scales on December 31st. Like something out of a cartoon, I found myself blinking furiously at the readout, hoping beyond hope that if I could just focus my eyes a bit better, the number of kilos the scales were reporting would somehow decrease.
It was not to be.
I’d also had more than my fair share of beers in the month of December, making my way through two Beerdog Advent Calendars and a fair bit of prosecco along the way. So I physically felt like I’d had enough for a while, and I also rationally knew that this was the easiest way to shift a few kilos in the new year.
How has it been?
Possibly the easiest personal habit I’ve changed in years. I know! I’m as surprised as you are. Unlike my attempts to cut back on snacks, where I had to ensure there were absolutely no snacks in the house, I have several untouched crates of beer in various cupboards in our kitchen.
The presence of beer has had no effect. Keeping my eyes on my goal of weightloss, changing my routine away from a ‘well deserved beer after work’ and moving instead to the elliptical trainer for a workout and something enjoyable on the iPad.Right now, I’m enjoying watching old Eurovision Song Contests on YouTube, the latest series of The Expanse and season two of The Alienist. And every time I step off the machine after an hour, I feel so much better for it.
Am I a superhuman saint? God no.
Let’s think about it. Context is playing a huge role here. I only have to manage my home environment. If we weren’t in lockdown and the pubs were open, there’s a fair chance I’d be tempted to enjoy a beer in one of the local bars with outside seating. If there were no pandemic at all, Friday evening would see me catching up with friends over beers for sure.
So this is one of those upsides to lockdown. I can focus on what works for me, from a routine and habits perspective, and get stuck into exercise and eating healthily, with absolutely no temptation (or abiliity) to go out to the pub.
Something a few people have asked me is whether I miss it. I have to say I don’t. I catch sight of beers every time I open the fridge and not once have I thought ‘Hmm…beer’. Insert Homer Simposon voice here. The whole experience is proving really interesting to me and I hope to see some of the positive benefits once I we get to the end of the month.
I’m also using a Dry January app, which is frankly hilarious.
You track each day you’ve been ‘Dry’ and it rewards you with badges and tells you how much money you’ve saved. All I can say is that the prices bear no resemblence to London pubs and I’ve saved a ton more than the app is suggesting.
The email updates I get from them are clearly meant for other kinds of drinkers. Sharing stories of massive changes in their ability to concentrate, manage their emotions and get out of bed in the morning. I think my intake might have been a bit less than their intended audience…
Will I have a beer on February 1st?
Probably not. It’s a Monday. I’m not going to give up completely, but I also want to limit beers to non-school nights and the first week of February is filling up nicely with work. I’m also interested in the concept of ‘two-totaller’. Instead of being teetotal (what a word!) it means limiting yourself to two alcoholic drinks of your choice at any one time. The remaining drinks can be alcohol-free or very low-alcohol.
This sounds like a healthy approach, rather than an all-or-nothing approach to beer. A friend joked that I’m going to move from ‘Dry January’ to ‘Wet February’, but right now I think it’s only going to be slightly moist.