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Let’s face it. Everyone is a bit bloated and hungover for the first few weeks of January. It’s expected at this point. You’re probably getting over a multi-week bender of booze, food and friendly gatherings that leave your liver hurting and waistline bulging. I’ve probably gained a solid 5-10 lbs over the festive holiday period – it’s gotten pretty standard since alcohol was introduced to my social outings and holiday parties. Am I happy about the bloated, pasty person I see in the mirror come early January? Absolutely not. But I’m also not about to take drastic measures to address it. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to bringing yourself back to the body equilibrium most of us experience for 11 months out of the year. One thing I’m definitely not going to do is a Dry January cleanse. Here’s why.
Dry January has quickly become all the rage over the past few years and it makes sense in premise. Alcohol was probably the main protagonist of your gluttony, lethargy and weight gain once you awoke from the blissful binge of the Christmas period. So, you decide to cut that one thing out entirely, not allowing yourself a single solitary sip of alcohol for the month. Alcohol becomes your designated villain as you punish yourself for the decadence of December. At least for 30 days of the month as everyone knows New Years Day is a mulligan. Cutting out a vice like alcohol entirely for a set period of time does make sense for some people, I get that. For me, it doesn’t work so simply.
For starters, I’m a big proponent of everything in moderation. When you cut something out of your life, whether artificially or not, your brain intrinsically wants it more. I love drinking beers and having a bit of whiskey on the weekends. I also completely understand how damaging the over-consumption of alcohol can be to myself and those around me. Having that sense of clarity is important. If I were to hold off on alcohol for a full month, you can best believe I’d probably overdo the first few times I drink again in February, which just adds to the problems of before.
Instead, I’m using my January to find a bit of balance between working hard and enjoying myself when I can. You can put in a good shift, stick to a solid workout regiment, enjoy a calorie-conscious diet and still enjoy 2-3 whiskey waters on a Friday or Saturday night with very little regret or repercussions on your health. Hell, go crazy and have a few barrel-aged beers if you need to – they’re extra good this time over year. Cutting it out entirely almost creates an unhealthy relationship between the two.
Also, are we really going to ignore the elephant in the room? January is the absolute worst. It’s truly terrible. It’s cold, dark and full of terrors. If you’re planning to traverse this hellscape of a month with little outdoor exposure and no booze, more power to you. It’s just tough for me to do the same. Instead, I’m making it a point to cut down on weekday drinking that became so prevalent the month before. A happy medium that both my body and mind can appreciate. At least I can enjoy my bout of cabin fever with a bit of a buzz. .