It feels like an absolute lifetime ago that I posted about ‘Beating those January blues’ – doesn’t January feel like it goes on forever?! Another reason it may have dragged so much and the reason why I have created this blog post, are those dreaded two words… Dry January.
Dry January isn’t something I have ever successfully done before – over the past two years I’ve declared to friends and family that ‘this is the year I will complete Dry January’ and each time I have failed by Day 2. However, this year was different – I was absolutely determined that I was going to successfully go an entire month without a drop of alcohol, for several reasons. First of all – I wanted to prove that I could actually go a month without alcohol. This may sound slightly concerning, but I honestly think it has been about five years since I went a week without drinking, let alone an entire month – so if anything, I just wanted to prove I wasn’t reliant on it. Second of all – the classic ‘January Detox’. The amount of food I consumed over Christmas was enough to feed a small army, did nothing for my waistline, and I was left feeling slightly puffy, tired, de-energised and de-motivated when New Year rolled round the corner. So I decided that in order to get back onto the healthy eating bandwagon, nourishing my body and going to the gym regularly, the only thing to do was to stop drinking. Having never done it before, and having so many people sneer and say ‘oh it’s soooo easy’ or those people with haunted eyes telling me to NEVER do it, I thought I would document how my Dry January went week-by-week, what I found motivated me, made me crave a sneaky glass, and made me determined to stay strong, etc etc.
January 1st – 7th
Ok. So first of all, on the 1st January, we had the pleasure of picking up our gorgeous new puppy. Meet Gus:
Sorry, I couldn’t not post a picture of him considering I take about 20 a day, and he now has his own Instagram account (aka_gusthegreat for anyone interested in giving this sweetpea a follow!). This actually helped me through the first week. I was so consumed with worry over whether or not he was sleeping okay downstairs on his own, the fact I needed to be alert in case he cried in the night – the mere thought of drinking sent my mind into overdrive – what if something awful happened to him and I needed to take him to the vets and I’d been drinking so couldn’t?! This really did get me through that first week, so finding something that totally takes your mind of it really helps.
Jan 8th – 11th
Gus is settling in nicely and whilst I’m still worried something might happen to him, I’m slightly calmer than I was last week. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was also to get back into a solid gym routine, as I knew that’s when I feel my best, I eat right and generally my mental and physical health is better. Marcus and I also agreed we needed to get Gus into a set routine so whatever we decided in terms of timings, we absolutely had to commit to. So I made the brave decision of a 5:40am wake up to get Gus up and outside for his morning bathroom ritual, then I would have time to head off to the gym and get an early morning workout in before going to work. I’m actually quite looking forward to this – hopefully it’ll help me lose the extra pounds gained over Christmas and make me feel more positive and better generally.
Okay. Now I’m starting to struggle slightly. It’s Friday, and after a long week back at work I’ve seriously got that Friday feeling. Damn, I could kill for a nice glass of red wine right now by the fire whilst watching a movie. MUST. STRUGGLE. ON.
It’s Saturday – I managed to pull through on Friday night so feeling slightly smug with myself. I’ve also lost 2.5 pounds this week, so I can already see the results. This is actually making me motivated to carry on. I can do this!!
OK so it’s 4pm on Sunday and right now I’m wrapped up in a blanket in front of the fire, with my pooch and I am GAGGING for a glass of red. Plus, I’m feeling really bluey about going to work tomorrow – and to make it worse, it’s officially been declared as ‘Blue Monday’ tomorrow. Must focus on something else… HEY let’s write a new blog post about Beating those January blues. That will take my mind off it and motivate me to keep going!!
Now that I’ve successfully established a solid gym routine during the week and I’m seeing positive results, this is really keeping me on track. I’m getting a better night’s sleep, I’m feeling much more alert, I’m actually looking forward to prepping my meals and being healthy – so this is going quite well!!
Out for dinner with the family. Now this will be a real test – we are going to our favourite restaurant in our local town and every time we come here, the wine is flowing and all is very merry. We are the first there, so to avoid temptation when others order, Marcus and I both order a pint of Diet Coke each. Man, this is hard.
Feeling rather smug again today. I managed to avoid the wine last night, so up and feeling fresh today. Let’s hit the gym!!
We’ve gone to look around a wedding venue this morning. As soon as we walk in, we are offered a glass of champagne. I think this is the closest I have come to having a drink – I manage to resist, as I know I’ll regret it – at least if I’m going to do it, do it properly with a bottle of wine on the sofa at home!!! Now we’re having to make wedding decisions and feeling a tad stressed… man I could use a glass of wine right now!!! Must avoid – how do I deter? New Netflix series, that will get me through.
January 22nd – 25th
I’ve established that during the week I am fine – I’m killing it, absolutely smashing it. Feeling like a new woman. Maybe I can become a motivational speaker about the benefits of not drinking?
Oh God. Scrap that last post. Again, I’ve got that Friday feeling, plus it’s sunny outside… I’m dreaming of beer gardens and sweet fruity cider, I could so easily kick back with a G&T right now! Must avoid.. continue with the Netflix series.
So today is Gus’ first walk!!! This will be a great distraction. He’s now had all of his vaccinations, so we are taking him on a big walk on the common where we live – look how excited he is!!
We want to get him used to public places so we can take him out socialising – best place – obviously a pub!!! But at the same time… big mistake. There we are, faced with Sunday lunchtime drinkers, having a whale of a time downing their Pinot Grigio whilst tucking into their roast dinner. After what felt like two hours sat there avoiding eye contact with the gin bottle, we exit the pub and head home (in reality, what felt like 2 hours was only 30 minutes).
OK so I’ve made it this far – the weekends are really difficult but this is the last weekend I have to endure that yearning for wine. To try to keep that motivation up, I message a friend who’s also been doing Dry January – she’s spurred me on as she’s doing the same thing, so feeling much better and ready to tackle the final few days!!!
Week Five – the final three days
I’m operating on a countdown clock now. It’s Wednesday 31st, I’m chilling on the sofa with Gus and watching informative documentaries (just kidding, it’s Geordie Shore obviously)… I’ve made it!
So… as you can see, there were a lot of trials and tribulations throughout Dry January – I’ve had several ups and downs, and my ‘struggle areas’ have mostly related to the weekend. I absolutely love kicking back on a Friday evening, in a jolly mood as the weekend is here with a glass of wine in hand, so this has been the biggest obstacle for me and my weakest point of the entire month. However, Dry January has taught me two things. A – I’m not reliant on alcohol (that’s a relief!) , and B – I have truly seen the benefits of Dry January. I’ve lost weight, established a weekly gym routine, got myself back on the healthy eating bandwagon and generally feeling more refreshed. Whilst it hasn’t turned me T-Total, it has made me realise that everything in moderation is okay and I feel like I’ve truly taken care of my body this month. It’s also spurred me on to setting myself some kind of challenge for every month throughout 2018… so what next?!
I’d love to hear your experiences of Dry January, what you struggled with and the coping mechanisms you used to help you through!