So this is not another sarcastic drinks post about only drinking dry white wine, dry gin or dry cider. That’s right I’ve actually done it – or more accurately, I’m doing it – #dryjanuary.
I’ll come clean – it hasn’t been the whole of the month – I had a drink on New Year’s Day as that’s still the holiday season and I was determined to enjoy every last minute of it. As it happened I had the 2nd January off as well and fully intended to make use of that to get my final fix before the following 29 days but unfortunately, I developed the cold that I’d been avoiding all Xmas on NYD and didn’t feel like drinking on the 2nd!
Whatever the small print, I’m doing it. Why? Well I’ll be honest – principally to loose a bit of weight. I’d crept up a bit and whilst we’re not talking ballooning here, it was enough that I wanted to redress and I can never do that with food, especially at this time of the year. If anything, I want to increase my intake rather than reduce it. My diet is richer during the colder months than the meat & salad infused days of spring, summer & autumn.
So, not drinking was the obvious other alternative. I know, I know, there’s exercise and believe me, I have plans on that front but it’s not easy to ramp up the level of activity with the life I lead in order to affect things in the time frame we’re talking about here.
This therefore is a status report of sorts. An update as to sanity, “the way it’s affected my life” and most importantly, has it helped me achieve the goal I wanted it to?
Let’s start with sanity. As I sit here writing this, I can honestly say I have no inkling whatsoever for any sort of alcoholic drink in the slightest. That may have something to do with it being 9.30 in the morning but it’s a start. Fast forward 8 or 9 hours to Saturday evening, a steak is sitting on the side gently coming up to room temperature. I would normally be thinking about the bottle I’d be consuming with that particular cut of meat and whether I’d need to open it in advance of the meal…….
The early evening couple of pints at my local are currently on hold and whilst I like to think that takings are down dangerously this month to the point of closure due to my lack of presence, truth is, they probably haven’t noticed I’m not there.
These are the times when I’m struggling…..I’ll level with you – I’m not enjoying it. It isn’t a good thing to not be able to pour a glass of something you love and enjoy it with a great plate of something or just whilst watching a Heineken Cup match as is on this afternoon.
This brings me on to the point you hear so much when people talk of having given up drinking……”it’s changed my life completely!!!!!”
I can only think that the reason why this would be true is if your life is crippled and prohibitive because of one’s relationship with alcohol. In fairness, that said, my life has actually changed…..I’m not enjoying it quite as much as I used to….I’m not able to engage in one of my main passions outside of my day to day life, work and family.
I thought it would give me more energy – as I’ve heard or read so many times – but what has happened in reality is that I’ve started going to bed earlier (mainly in the hope that tomorrow arrives more quickly and the next day and so on until the 1st Feb), getting more rest and so my body has become used to this level of sleep. Getting up at my customary 5.30am has become an impossible task!
I’ve also been going to great lengths to find interesting and enjoyable soft drinks to consume during my hiatus…..from expensive cordials to non-alcoholic beers and even alcohol free wine purporting to be “Shiraz without the hangover.” It isn’t.
The one thing it has enabled me to do – and it’s a moot point whether this is any use whatsoever – is to be able to go to the supermarket to get emergency items past say 8.00 or 9.00pm. Can we really say that’s a plus point?
I think also, the law of sod or the gods of mischief have spotted my attempt at purifying myself and employed their own forms of torture on me. I seem to be noticing more keenly an enhanced level of media traffic from within the industry. Indeed, it’s as though the dry january ‘movement’ or concept is an excuse for the drinks industry to get its middle finger out and go into overdrive. I’ve also, for some reason decided to start listening to a new wine podcast “Batonnage” with Fiona Beckett & Liam Steevenson which is a really enjoyable listen with a lovely relaxed tone to it but also excruciatingly tempting to crack open a bottle and drink whilst immersed in each episode!!!
What though, I hear you ask, about the weight loss, the main reason for putting myself through this 1st world pain? Well, I’m happy to report an initial surge in the first 10 days. The next week has seen a more marginal loss but we’re going in the right direction so that’s a crumb of comfort to cling on to whilst others are enjoying themselves around me.
So I’ve got 13 more days to go including today……13 more days of spending lots of money on posh squash, drinking slimline tonic water and no Bombay. 13 more days of matching food with water!!!! Granted, it’s a lot easier than wine but I think you’ll agree it’s best suited to accompanying a food & wine combination rather than being the main beverage of the evening.
I just need to keep thinking of settling down on 1st Feb to watch France v Wales hoping for a red win whilst clutching a red from the opposing country……actually, I should start planning what it will be – this could help occupy my mind over the remaining 2 weeks!!!
I’ll update once it’s over…….wish me luck!!!