For many of us, this week heralds the start of Dry July – a month free from alcohol, and a chance to do a full-body reset.
Social culture means there aren’t many times when its ‘acceptable’ not to drink, but 31 days alcohol-free can do wonders for your health.
Funds from Dry July go towards making the lives of cancer patients more comfortable, so by jumping on board you are helping out these people in need, and doing your own body a world of good.
Here are seven things that can happen to your body when you stop drinking alcohol. So read on and be inspired.
You’ll lose weight
It’s probably not a surprise, but all those extra calories in that cheeky glass of red after work add up very quickly. When you reduce or cut out alcohol, your overall calorie intake will reduce, as long as you don’t replace alcohol with another high calorie substitute. Drinking just two cans of beer each day means chugging down an extra 8100 kilojoules each week. That’s the equivalent of eating a whole extra days’ worth of food!
Your insides will love you
Alcohol has a big impact not only on the outside of your body, but also the inside. Over indulging in booze can result in many unseen issues, from high blood pressure, to cardio-vascular disease and liver disease. Reducing, or cutting out alcohol, gives your body time to recover and over time your risk of alcohol related illnesses will reduce significantly.
Your mental health will improve
It’s no surprise that with every ‘up’ there comes a ‘down’. Alcohol may seem like a mood elevator whilst you’re dancing and having a great time with your friends, but it is actually a depressant that can have serious negative effects on your overall mental wellbeing. Low moods can be exacerbated and low energy levels make situations feel worse. Taking some time off allows your brain to level out and you’ll be able to think with more clarity, dealing with any mental health issues in a more positive way.
Your skin will start to thank you
Within just a couple of days alcohol-free, you will start to notice your skin looking and feeling more hydrated. As a diuretic, alcohol dehydrates the body tissues and skin, which therefore can lead to wrinkles and premature aging. If you suffer from skin conditions such as dandruff, eczema, or rosacea you may also notice a difference.
You will get a better night’s sleep
Drinking alcohol before bed is linked with more slow-wave sleep patterns called delta activity. This is the kind of deep sleep that allows for learning and memory formation. At the same time, drinking before bed increases alpha wave patterns in the brain—a kind of cerebral activity that usually occurs when you're resting but still awake. The result of this occurring is disrupted sleep and is usually why we toss and turn after a big night out. Giving up alcohol will likely leave you feeling more refreshed and sharp the next day.
You’ll have more energy
A less than restful sleep can mean waking up groggy and finding it harder to concentrate throughout the day. When you stop drinking you might find that your energy levels increase, you’ll be able to go harder at the gym and you’ll feel sharper at work.
You’ll take a big step towards reducing your risk of cancer
Drinking booze increases your risk of at least six different cancers including bowel, liver, mouth and throat. This increased risk is seen with all types of alcohol, even red wine. Quitting alcohol or reducing the amount you drink will go a long way towards cutting your cancer risk.
I encourage everyone thinking about doing Dry July to give it a shot – it’s an awesome way to start making good health changes to your life and contribute to a good cause, and there will always be another opportunity to drink. Head to www.dryjuly.com/register to get involved.