If you overindulged on the booze during the festive period, you may have decided to cut back on your alcohol intake as part of your New Year's resolutions. But while it’s common for many people to attempt a ‘dry January’, how about making it a lasting lifestyle change?
Although a drink now and then won’t do you any harm, regularly exceeding the recommended guidelines puts both your short-term and long-term health at risk. While we’re not suggesting that you go teetotal, cutting right back and making alcohol an occasional treat will do you wonders.
Let’s look at the benefits of giving up and our tip tops for sticking at it.
Regularly exceeding recommended guidelines will leave you feeling pretty rotten. By stopping drinking, or cutting right back, you will reap the benefits almost immediately. Alcohol can cause headaches, heartburn, indigestion and an upset stomach. It also disrupts your sleep so you’ll probably find that you’ll sleep better and therefore feel much more refreshed.
It may also help you to lose any excess weight you’re carrying because alcohol is high in sugar and therefore calories. And as alcohol doesn’t come cheap, especially if you drink in bars or pubs, you’ll be saving yourself a few pennies too.
Unfortunately, a month-long detox won’t be enough to prevent any long-term damage, such as liver disease or cancer, caused by regular heavy drinking. Any short-term benefits you gain during your month of abstinence will be cancelled out if you go straight back to your old habits afterwards.
As well as liver disease and several cancers, heavy drinking over a long period of time can increase your risk of:
Whether it’s cutting down or stopping drinking altogether, the start of a new year is a great time to set yourself a goal or lifestyle change. To help you stick at it and avoid falling off the wagon, here are some top tips to help you stay on track.
If you’re having difficulty cutting down your drinking, or think your drinking is affecting your day-to-day life, see your doctor. He or she will assess how much you drink, the reason why you drink and can offer you support and advice to help you cut down.