You can’t deny yourself a few cheeky drinks with your colleagues at your work Christmas party can you? Then there’s the booze-filled festivities on Christmas Eve, and the hair-of-the-dog Buck’s Fizz on Christmas morning. Plus the get-togethers with friends and family around Christmas which usually require wine, beer, cocktails and spirits. And just when you thought that was it New Year’s Eve is round the corner and there’s yet more alcoholic merry-making to be done; you’ve just got to see in the new year with a few glasses champagne.
When 1st January hits we’re usually wallowing in self-pity, nursing a hangover and vowing to never drink again after a week or more of parties and indulgence. Do you know the real damage that alcohol can do to your body? Many people don’t, which is why the British Liver Foundation runs Love Your Liver Month every January, and why Cancer Research UK are encouraging people to do Dryathlon, to give their bodies a break whilst raising money for charity.
Here are just a few reasons why you should give up alcohol this January:
- You can prevent long-term damage to your liver.
Being a pretty tough organ, the liver can quickly repair itself after a heavy night, but it needs time to recover. Even if you only have one drink each night you won't be giving your liver a long enough break from the damaging effects of alcohol. Taking just 2 or 3 days off in a row every few weeks will give your liver chance to relax and recuperate and stay in perfect working order.
- You could lose weight.
There are around 233 calories in every pint of beer or cider, 200 calories in a large red wine, and 108 calories in a single vodka and coke. Most of us don’t realise just how many hidden calories we’re consuming in each drink and inevitably this leads to weight gain. Willpower tends to go out the window after a few drinks too, so any plans to eat healthier tend to be cast aside in favour of fatty, calorie laden foods. Cut out the drink completely and you could dramatically cut your calorie intake.
- You’ll feel happier.
Alcohol is a depressant; it may make you feel merry and more talkative whist you drink but in the long term it can lead to symptoms of depression. Lay off the booze for a while and you could begin to feel less stressed and generally happier in yourself.
- You’ll have more energy.
With less alcohol your body will be able to sleep far better and you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed and raring to go in the mornings.
- You’ll stop peeing so frequently.
Alcohol is a diuretic; it causes the kidneys to empty out more fluid than is going in, leaving you dehydrated and needing the loo more often than normal. This occurs whilst your drinking, but over a number of years if your alcohol intake is quite high you may experience an overactive bladder on a permanent basis too.
- You’ll look after your guts!
Sickness, nausea, bloating and diarrhoea are all common in people who drink a lot because alcohol irritates the lining of the stomach and bowel. Plus, it can increase the risk of stomach and bowel cancer.
- You'll save money.
Even if you only have 3 glasses of wine each week, that equates to around £53 per month and £636 in a year. Think of all the brilliant things you could buy if you had that cash in your pocket right now!
- You'll look healthier.
Alcohol can make skin look dull and unhealthy, and for those who drink particularly heavily it can even cause jaundice, a yellowing of the skin. You're also more prone to eczema, rosacea and acne since your skin will be dehydrated and lacking essential nutrients which keep it supple and healthy.
- You’ll avoid life-threatening conditions.
Regular drinking increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, heart disease and various types of cancers. Reduce your alcohol intake and reduce your risk.
So with all these reasons to motivate you, are you ready to give up alcohol and go teetotal?!
We’re not saying it has to be forever; there’s nothing wrong with a few drinks every once in a while, as long as it’s in moderation. But perhaps laying off the alcohol throughout January is not such a bad idea, at least whilst your body gets back to normal after the festive season.
If you fancy doing Dryathlon to raise money for Cancer Research there’s still time to get started. Head on over to http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/find-an-event/charity-challenges/dryathlon before 12th January and you’ll still be able register to get your friends and family to sponsor you.