Feb Fast, Dry July, Ocsober . . . the first themed alcohol-free month of the year is upon us. But what do you actually gain by abstaining from the grog for four weeks?
Your health will improve
Reduced blood pressure, lower blood glucose levels, improved cholesterol, better liver health, smaller risk of developing diabetes . . . do we need to continue? You’ll also lose weight — it’s easy to forget all those calories that instantly jump out of your diet when you cut out grog — and your skin will clear up — alcohol dehydrates the skin, causing acne and redness. Sure, it might be a placebo effect or the result of making other better lifestyle choices — you’re not going to have a kebab swimming in garlic sauce at 4am if you haven’t just spend six hours in the pub — but what does that matter when your body feels a million dollars.
You’ll save money
A bottle of beer or a glass of wine every evening after work, a couple of after-work knock-off drinks on a Friday afternoon, a bottle of wine at dinner on Saturday night before a few whiskies at the bar, then a couple of cans at a Sunday barbecue . . . add that all up and we’re talking about hundreds of dollars than remain in your pocket rather than your publican’s or your bottle shop’s. Plus, the month off will reduce your tolerance for alcohol, so you’ll save money when you’re back on it in March.
You’ll sleep better
Alcohol disrupts your sleep, and a better night’s kip improves your mental performance the next day (news to absolutely no one who’s had to drag themselves to the office the morning after the night before). It also makes it easier to leap out of bed to work out in the morning, further benefitting your health, and you’ll also discover a time of the week you mightn’t have seen in years: weekend mornings, with a clear head and the whole hangover-free day ahead of you.
Your mind will function better
Take a break from the toxin and your mind will feel less cloudy — especially when you’re enjoying more quality sleep. Setting a goal and sticking too it will also strengthen your willpower, and being forced to socialise without the assistance of liquid courage will boost your confidence. Oh, and we’d all love a month of waking up on a Saturday morning without the crippling embarrassment of scrolling through all those texts you send your ex late last night . . .
A month of abstinence doesn’t earn you a license to binge the other 11 months of the year — like any fad diet, reverting back to old habits after a brief detox isn’t doing your body any good. But even if Fed Fast is a gimmick, cutting out alcohol will make you more self aware when it comes to what you consume — and if exposing bad habits leads to healthier decisions, the month off has laid the foundation for permanent, positive change.