Is it time to rethink your relationship with alcohol?  As you are setting your healthy intentions for the new year, acting on the intention to reduce your alcohol consumption can have a real, lasting impact on your overall health all year through.  

You may have heard of Dry January and Sober October before. They are essentially campaigns that urge people to abstain from alcohol for one month. And while we don’t typically promote participating in trending fad diets or campaigns, resolving to avoid or even limit your alcohol consumption in January or October, or any time of year for that matter, is something we can get behind.

The ill-effects of alcohol on the body are numerous. Studies have shown that when you commit to eliminating alcoholic beverages from your diet, after just one month, the mental and physical benefits can really start adding up. In moderate drinkers who abstained for one month, results indicated improvements in sleep, mental cognition, reduced cholesterol, lower glucose levels, blood pressure, overall weight-loss and a reduction in liver fat by 40%.  

Whether you choose continue to say “no” to alcohol in the long-term, or simply reduce the number of drinks you have per week, this is one healthy intention that will pay dividends for your body and mind in the long term.

Abstaining from alcohol benefits your body and mind

By reducing or removing alcohol from your diet, you may experience the following positive side-effects

  • Improvements in insulin resistance
  • Improvements in mood and mental cognition
  • Better sleep and more daytime energy
  • Decreased inflammation in the body and stronger immune system
  • Reduction in weight (alcohol contains empty calories, and may increase appetite)
  • Improvements in skin appearance, texture and elasticity
  • Reduction in symptoms of headaches, hot flashes, digestive upset
  • Improved general health in the long-term (assuming you continue to limit alcohol)

How to make your intention to reduce or abstain from alcohol work for you

  • Tell your friends. Many of us drink socially, so sharing your healthy intention with your friends may help you avoid unintended pressure for a cocktail. And who knows, they may just join you for a dry-January of their own.
  • Swap your daily wind-down cocktail for a tea ritual. It’s a healthy and anti-oxidant rich alternative, and with the variety of teas available, there's one to fit your every mood.
  • Change up your happy hour with a beverage that provides additive nourishment like Kombucha. It is becoming a thing among the dry-January crowd for its fizzy sweet-and-sourness that feels adult while still being healthy.
  • Still crave a glass of wine, but don’t want the alcohol? Swap your glass for a Non-alcoholic vintage. And if beer is your go-to, there are many non-alcoholic brews popping as well.
  • Can’t see yourself going dry? Go for reducing your alcohol consumption, and the benefits will still add up. To get started, try designating certain days of the week as alcohol free. Then, on the days you choose to imbibe, limit yourself to no more than 1 or 2 drinks.

If you slip up, it’s ok, keep going!  Remember that it takes 66 days on average for a new behavior to become a habit.  And if along the way you are still reducing your alcohol consumption, you are winning.

It’s worth reminding that abstaining or reducing alcohol one month doesn’t mean it’s okay to overindulge the next. If you are like many folks, you may just find your relationship with alcohol has changed (in a good way) as a result.  

Making healthy choices into healthy habits can seem daunting. But you won’t be going it alone when you work with a Gennev health coach. They will provide you guidance and support as well as accountability that will enable you to achieve your wellness goals.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for treatment information and support in your area.

The information on the Gennev site is never meant to replace the care of a qualified medical professional.  Hormonal shifts throughout menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, and simply assuming something is “just menopause” can leave you vulnerable to other possible causes. Always consult with your physician or schedule an appointment with one of Gennev's telemedicine doctors before beginning any new treatment or therapy.

Author

Gennev Staff

December 29, 2022

Medically Reviewed By

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