By Lisa Shaker-Knopp (LowFatLowCarb.com)
Every January, my husband vows to go 30 days without one drink. We call it “dry January”. Not only does he lose weight, he really gets so many more health benefits by going alcohol- free. It is never too late to start. Anytime you give up alcohol for a month or more, you are changing your chemistry for the better.
There is a pile of scientific studies that prove going ‘dry’, even for 30 days, can help you make serious progress towards increasing your chances of losing weight, lowering cholesterol, decreasing your cancer risk, boost your heart health, and you’ll sleep better, too!
Speaking about sleep, even though drinking may make you fall asleep initially, it totally disrupts your sleeping patterns. Many clients I have report much more restful sleep and let me know they wake up with much more energy. For many, the habit of coming home and pouring a glass of wine or a cocktail is more part of a routine that seems relaxing, but then gets in the way of really getting your rest. Not drinking lets you wake up feeling refreshed and sharp.
The other important fact of giving up the alcohol is how much better you will eat. That will speed up your weight loss efforts, as well. Your body can’t make fat and burn fat at the same time; so when you drink your body converts alcohol into glycerol which is equal to three fatty acids and a sugar molecule. Therefore, there is no way to burn fat when your liver is making fat. Drinking on your diet will stop you dead in your tracks for two to three days. Ask yourself if It’s really worth losing that many days??
Alcohol is also a diuretic, which dehydrates. So the skin is not as vibrant. Eliminating the drinking, will make the skin more hydrated, and sometimes skin issues like eczema or rosacea may also improve.
According to the National Cancer Institute, drinking booze has been linked to an increased risk for cancers of the mouth, liver, breast, colon, and rectum; the risk increases the more you drink. If you replace your alcohol consumption with meals that are high in fibrous vegetables, lower in fat and sugar, you can reduce your cancer risk. That is a good reason to slow down on the vino for sure. You can replace your drinks with seltzer water with limes, or detox waters you make yourself. I like to put mine in a wine glass.
Then there is the issue of drinking and heart health. Per the American Heart Association, drinking alcohol can raise the level of triglycerides and harmful fats in the blood. That can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries and heart disease. Also, excessive drinking can lead to stroke and neuropathy. Heavy boozing can raise blood pressure and poison your nerves Also, studies show that going alcohol free might lower blood cholesterol levels, as well. It might not be worth the short lived “high” you get from drinking. You might think twice.
I enjoy an occasional drink, but I have learned that drinking does not help me in my efforts of being lean and healthy. Maybe you can pick 30 days, and challenge yourself to give up all alcohol for the short term, so you can reap some long term results. It is a NEW YEAR, after all.