5 Benefits I saw From Going Dry

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To start the new year off right, I was determined to challenge myself and do something I had never have done before. I decided to do give up drinking alcohol for the month of January (“Dry January”). It is actually pretty common in European countries.

I wanted to give it a try and see how I felt mentally and physically without alcohol for a month. Surprisingly, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Here are 5 benefits I saw from going dry:

1. More energy

One of the major differences I noticed during dry January was the amount of energy I had every day. I never got a midday crash which was an awesome feeling. I was able to power through my day, without any additional caffeine (besides my preworkout in the morning).

When drinking alcohol, you tend to feel more tired the next day. This is because alcohol can reduce the amount of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep you get, leaving you feeling drowsy, low in energy, and you may find it harder to concentrate the next day.

2. Weight Loss 

Over the course of the month, I lost a total of 5 pounds. In the first photo below, you will see that I started off the month weighing 195.1 pounds and in the second photo, I ended the month at 190.7 pounds. 

You might be thinking that it’s not a significant change, but it was a healthy weight lost! And I was also able to still feel strong when it came to lifting.

If you want to lose weight, you should do it at a rate of about a pound a week, ending each day with a 500-calorie deficit. I did change up some of my eating habits this month, which contributed to this, but I also eliminated empty calories from my diet. THIS IS KEY. Alcohol can really ruin all the progress you thought you might have made. That’s the non-monetary cost of alcohol.

3. Lower Heart rate

With my Fitbit I am able to track my resting heart rate. I wanted to see if being dry would have any sort of effect on it and I was pleased to see that it did. In the screenshot below, you can see that my heart rate until January was around the mid 50’s to low 60’s bpm, which isn’t necessarily a bad range, but there was room for improvement. During dry January, my resting heart rate was consistently around the mid to low 50’s! 

Healthy young adults and athletes often have heart rates of less than 60 beats a minute.

4. Saved money

This might have been my favorite thing about dry January! To help track and manage all of my spending I use this app called Albert (which is an awesome app with really cool features live auto saving which is based off of your spending habits). My average spending on eating out and drinks for October, November, and December was $636.04. My average spending in January was $210.82. That’s a difference of $425.22, in just one month.

Why is this? 

Think about it this way: every time you go out to eat and order a drink with your meal, that’s at least an additional $5. Now let’s say you get 2-3 drinks and then your girlfriend (if you have one 😉) gets 2-3 drinks, you are looking at an additional $30 on your bill. If you eat out 3-4 times a month, you are looking at $120 spent on drinks alone at dinner.

Now if you want to go out ‘out’ (like to the bars or club, whatever your thing is) and enjoy the night scene, you will spend around $50 a night (including pregame booze, uber, drinks out, and late-night snack?). If you do that every weekend, you’ve spent $200.

 Add those lovely numbers together, and you get $320 spent on booze-related expenses that month.

5. Better sleep 

Another cool feature of my Fitbit is that it can track sleep! Don’t ask me how it actually does this, just go read this. In the month of January I averaged about 7 hours of sleep a night, which is the recommended amount for my age group. I was able to do this because it was easier to fall asleep,  stay asleep and stay in a good sleep regiment the whole month, even on the weekends.

Alcohol can have the following effects on your sleep:

  1. It can interrupt your circadian rhythm
  2. It blocks REM sleep
  3. It can aggravate breathing problems
  4. It messes up your sleep rhythms

If you are also doing our fitness challenge, we had a weekly challenge highlighting the importance of sleep. Adding alcohol in the equation isn’t the best idea, as noted above.

Recap

Doing dry January was honestly a great experience and I am happy I did it. Typically January is low-key month, so it’s a great time to try it. Will I keep doing it?- not likely, but I think this social experiment has encouraged me to keep my alcohol intake to a minimum.

If you have done dry January before, we would love to hear your thoughts on it! Leave us a comment below or feel free to reach out to us via email or social media with your story!

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About Post Author

Bobby Petrillo

Bobby Petrillo is 24 years old from Charlotte NC. He went to UNCW where he studied accounting and has been working in the IT Audit space since graduating in 2017. Fitness has always been a big part of his life ever since freshman of high school. He is passionate about sharing his health and exercise knowledge to help others achieve their goals.
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