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7 Benefits of Taking a Break from Alcohol




With the holidays shrinking in the rearview mirror—our eating and drinking is settling down.


Or is it?


Breaking unintentional habits created in December may take more effort than we think.


One way to tackle it with intention: Dry January.


Dry January started in the UK in 2013 and has grown into a global event.


It’s a great idea.


Coming off the excesses of the Holidays, giving up alcohol during a normally un-eventful month is an easier sell.


And there are many benefits.


Weight loss, better sleep, liver health, mental clarity, increased physical energy, time for other activities and even money savings make considering Dry January worthwhile.


Moderate drinking as defined by the American Dietary Guidelines, has women drinking one serving of alcohol a day and men getting two.


Heavy drinking is anything over that.


And just for the record: one drink is 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine (not one glass of any size—it’s 5 oz) or 1.5 oz of hard alcohol (that’s one jigger).





Weight Loss

A 12 oz can of beer has about 150 calories. One serving of wine, 5 oz, is 125 calories while 1.5 oz of hard alcohol runs you 100 calories. And that doesn’t include any mixers.


Eliminating these calories will lead to weight loss PDQ.


If you usually had one glass of wine a night, each night and stopped for a month, all other foods staying the same you would lose a pound. Cut out 2-5 oz. glasses a night and that’s 2 pounds. And likely you would lose more as our food decisions improve when we skip the drink.



Better Sleep

Alcohol disrupts the restorative REM sleep. So while it might help you fall asleep, it interrupts the second half of the night resulting in 2am wake-ups, daytime fatigue and decreased concentration and memory.


And better sleep means less hunger hormones coursing through your veins. Now you’re losing even more weight!



Giving Your Liver a Rest

Even if you stick to moderate drinking, alcohol is a toxin to the liver. Each liver has it’s own sensitivity and it’s hard to know what that is. But our liver is a great regenerator and stopping alcohol can reverse any damage (inflammation and/or fatty deposits) moderate intake may have caused.



Mental Clarity

Even small amounts of alcohol can affect the brain within minutes—that’s why many of us imbibe. But the pleasant feeling isn’t the only brain change. Impaired decision making and memory lapses aside, we can wake up with a headache and distractibility, robbing us of a productive day.



More Physical Energy

When we sleep better and don’t flood our brains with a disrupter, we are more rested and feel energized.



More Time

Once we’ve had our happy hour, it’s hard to motivate to do much else. Without the drink our evening opens up to other activities: a walk, reading, a themed club or social activity, a hobby, the gym, pursuit of a goal.



More Money

If you’re not buying nightly supplies, you’ve got money in your pocket.



With so many reasons to take a break, consider how modifying your alcohol intake might change your day-to-day life (and your waistline).


January’s the perfect time to give it a go!



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