Thinking of doing Dry July? Let us convince you!
Taking time off from drinking can be a hard one to agree to and stick with. Many people tend to have a drink when they go out in a social group, whether it be a party, dinner or a work event, but don't realise the effects it has on their physcial and emotional health.
Dry July is an opportune time to take a step back and reassess the role alcohol plays in your life, as well as raise money to help people with cancer.
Funds raised by Dry July help to provide better services and support programs for those in need, as well as changing your life for the better, too. But how, exactly?
We asked Chloe McLeod, Dietitian and Dry July ambassador to detail the changes you may start to see in yourself after 31 days of being alcohol-free.
"Alcohol dehydrates the skin, which causes cells to lose their plumpness and elasticity," says Chloe. "This can then lead to wrinkles and fine lines that can appear around the eyes, forehead and mouth."
Not drinking for a whole month and upping your intake of water to 2 litres a day, can ensure your skin stays hydrated and your complexion remains as clear as possible.
Greater social confidence
Many of us lean on alcohol to help us through uncomfrotable social situations. However, when 'dutch courage' isn't an option, we need to find that calmness and strength within ourselves.
"Staying off alcohol can help you learn how to gain skills and confidence when talking to strangers at social events and you can learn how to connect with others in an enjoyable way without the need for a drink," says Chloe.
"Without alcohol, you can feel very empowered, which can lead to more authentic connections without the beer goggles," she adds.
Strengthened immune system
"People who drink regularly may be more likely to get sick," says Chloe. "By abstaining from alcohol you are allowing your body’s natural defences to operate at full strength and protect you from any diseases.
"Cutting back on your alcohol intake can not only help you improve your nutritional deficiencies related to drinking, but it can also lower your risk of developing different cancers. Quitting alcohol can potentially prevent liver cancer, breast cancer, mouth cancer and oesophagus cancer," she explains.
Improved fitness and faster recovery
Chloe says when you're consuming a lot of alcohol it can impact your athletic performance, hydration levels, motor skills and muscle recovery.
"Consuming alcohol after strenuous workouts can actually delay your muscle soreness by slowing down the recovery process which will then increase your soreness longer. Alcohol can make it tough for athletes to see their progress in their training sessions as it is quite difficult to improve when your body is still recovering from last night’s drinking outing," she explains. "When you cut alcohol out of your diet you will start to see improvements in your fitness performances and will recover quicker with a low-level of pain."
This is one of the most common benefits of staying away from alcohol for a whole month.
"Alcohol generally has more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates, so naturally your calorie intake will decrease when you start to cut out alcohol from your daily drinking tendencies," says Chloe.
"Make sure if you are going to replace alcohol with something else that it is not anything high in calories. After a couple of weeks off the drink, you will start to see your clothes fitting looser, especially around the waistline," she reveals.
It's not too late to take part in Dry July this year! Sign up here.