I strongly advocate for living and enjoying a balanced life, and that means giving in to your guilty pleasures (in small, safe amounts) from time to time.
For me, wine and dark chocolate are definitely my biggest guilty pleasures, which I enjoy regularly, in small amounts and guilt-free.
Wine has a TON of benefits when consumed in moderate amounts (which unfortunately is less than you think) – READ MORE HERE about the wonderful reasons to enjoy a glass of wine.
However, there are even more reasons to go on an Alcohol Detox for a month, aka dry month. This means not one drop of alcohol for 30 days. Which yes is hard for most of us, but 100% worth it.
6 Benefits of a 30-Day Alcohol Detox
1. It’s a chance to RESET. Even if you don’t feel you drink much, a “dry month" will shine light on how your body responds without any alcohol. It's a great opportunity to embark on a healthier lifestyle, too. Many people report that they feel better and healthier overall, sleep better, have better focus, more stable moods, and often lose weight.
2. It’s a chance to STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. You’ll have to look for other things to do that don’t involve drinking… in a way, you’ll be “forced” to discover more/new things that life has to offer! And when you do go out, you’ll be forced to change your habits. Usually you go to an event and immediately reach for a glass of wine or cocktail. But an alcohol-detox will force you to go out and do something different, to focus on things other than the drinks. It's eye opening.
3. You’ll be more PRESENT. When you’re out and alcohol isn’t involved, you may find that your conversations are more interesting when you’re not drinking, and you pay more attention. You’re also more attuned to what’s going on around you, what people are saying. You’ll remember your conversations better, and overall be more present. You’ll probably experience more meaningful connections.
4. You’ll SAVE money, and calories!
5. You’ll experience major HEALTH BENEFITS. A dry month can: lower/stabilize your blood glucose levels, reduce your fatty liver, reduce bloating, boost your immune system, improve your skin, trigger weight loss, and more (depending on how much you usually drink).
6. SAFER PREGNANCY. For the ladies: If you’re thinking of having a baby (or are pregnant), there is research showing that even small amounts of alcohol could be risky. Both Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD; a less severe illness similar to FAS that affects kids similar to ADD & ADHD) are on the rise. To protect your baby, it’s recommended to limit your alcohol intake. But if you want to be safe and 100% eliminate the chance of your baby getting the disorder, that means NO alcohol. So a one month (or more) alcohol-detox is a great way to start. Plus, studies have linked alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk.
If you're interested, how do you get started and manage to stick to it?
Here are a few tips:
Write down your start date, and share it with others. Get supportive friends/family to help hold you accountable, and accompany you during tough/boring times. Even better, find a buddy to do it with you!
Ease into it (and out of it when you're done). Start cutting back on your alcohol intake at least two weeks before starting your alcohol detox
Commit to trying new things during your "dry month" so that you have new activities on your to-do list to replace your usual boozy outings. Choose things that won't temp you to drink. Ex. try new fitness classes (like yoga or barre), plan an early morning Sunday hike (so Saturday night you’re practically forced to go to bed early, maybe stay home and watch a movie), plan fun outings with your kinds, nieces or nephews that you don't usually make enough time for.
Use this as an opportunity to increase you “culture”. Instead of going out to a restaurant or bar, aim to go somewhere NEW that can enhance your culture. Go to a museum or to the theater. Maybe go visit a new nearby city. The options are limitless; it just requires a bit of research and planning.
Apply some yin-yang. Whenever you plan to do LESS of something, it helps a lot to do MORE of something else. So pair up your “alcohol-detox” challenge with a goal of doing more of something else, for example, more exercise, more reading or more charity. Whatever you’ve been wanting to do more of. If exercise is your “do-more-of” goal, then swap the pre-dinner drinks for a yoga/barre class. And/or swap your post-dinner drinks with a walk around your neighborhood with a loved one (that could be your dog!). Personally, I think its a great opportunity to do a food-based detox during your dry month, too.
Know your WHY. Remind yourself constantly of why you’re on this journey, why you’ve made this commitment, and feel free to re-read up on all the BENEFITS of committing to a “dry month”. Also, remind yourself that its just 30 days, and like so many others, you CAN DO THIS.
Once you're done, take a few minutes on your last day to TUNE IN WITH YOURSELF and jot down how you feel. Go back to your initial goals, and ask yourself – Do you feel better? Lighter? Did you try new things? And don’t forget that no matter what the results, you accomplished something huge!
And if you're not ready to fully commit to an entire month yet (that's understandable), start by joining me for one of my shorter food-based detoxes that also bans alcohol - for either 7 days or 10 days - and you can experience the above benefits in a shorter period of time. But remember, the longer your alcohol-detox, the better. Benefits are greater after 30 days than after just 7! But starting off with one of my detoxes is great and brings additional benefits, and after you realize that you CAN do this, it may help you commit to doing a full month down the road.
Note: Always consult with your doctor. This post is meant more for social/moderate drinkers. If you want more info on detoxing and health coaching support, contact me HERE.