Taysiders are being challenged to banish the booze this January and make a healthy start to the New Year. The Focus on Alcohol project in Tayside, which is part of the Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADP) in Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross, is supporting the annual Dry January Challenge and encouraging people to give up alcohol for up to 31 days or as many days as you can manage.
The benefits of taking part in the challenge, which aims to create discussion around alcohol intake, can include weight loss, saving money, experiencing increased energy levels, reducing feelings of anxiety and a reduced risk of alcohol related illness.
Director of Public Health Dr Drew Walker said: “Even if people manage to avoid alcohol for part of January they still experience all the positive benefits, including long-lasting reduction in alcohol consumption.
“In order for people to reduce their consumption of alcohol, it is useful to understand the size of an alcohol unit and pay attention to the alcoholic content of drinks.”
As an example, a small 125ml glass of wine contains 1.6 units, a large 275ml glass of wine contains 3.1 units and a pint of lager contains 2.8 units.
Tips to continue your New Year lifestyle changes throughout the year:
Getting off to a great start – You’ll have a better chance of success if you change your habits and behaviours gradually. Make short, medium and long-term goals. Start with something you can do immediately that will contribute to the big change you want to make. For example, you might decide to replace any drinking you normally do later in the evening with a hot milky drink. It’s a simple change but you’re likely to start seeing results straight away.
Mid-January motivators – Your good intentions might be fading by now so look out for ‘triggers’ that cause the habits you want to change. For example, does a bad day at work always make you reach for a large glass of wine when you get home? If you want to change your habit, you need to recognise the trigger. If you’ve had a stressful day, try going for a long walk or calling a friend to talk it through. You can also reward yourself for keeping up new habits.
How to keep it going – Remember to look out for signs of the progress you’ve made – even if it’s a tiny difference, it will help keep you motivated. Take pictures of yourself during the year and see the changes you’ve made. Talk about your achievements and keep people posted about how you’re doing. Remind them what you’re trying to achieve so they can encourage you to keep going.
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