Attempting Dry January this year? Here’s how women over 40 can do it right.
For a lot of people, consumption of alcohol tends to increase over the Christmas period, which is one reason many women over 40 decide to go to the other extreme in January and cut out alcohol completely!
For professionals with busy career lives, it can be all too easy to slip into a cycle of habitual drinking. The stress and pressure of a high-powered job often requires some release… so it’s understandable that so many women find themselves on the sofa after a hard day of work with a nice glass or wine or a G&T to relax.
But the problems start when that glass turns into a bottle, leading to nasty hangover the morning after. When this starts to happen day after day and week after week, turning to booze can become a pattern that’s hard to break out of…
Other women find that controlling their alcohol consumption is easy during the week… But at the weekend, it’s a different story. This can lead to a frequent two-day blowout with a horrible hangover come Monday!
How does binge drinking impact women over 40?
So, what is the excess alcohol consumption doing to your body? One study states: “Failure to reduce food intake in response to energy from alcohol makes moderate alcohol consumption a risk factor for obesity.”
So, to put it simply, alcohol and fat gain go hand-in-hand. For women over 40, the added hormonal and physical changes make it even easier to gain weight… and more difficult to lose it.
Many try to do Dry January to break out of the binge drinking cycle, but either:
- Struggle to stick to it for the entire month
- Or go straight back to drinking the same amount once it’s over
In the long run, neither of these really work!
In our latest podcast episode, we explained why Dry January isn’t ideal for professional women over 40. We covered how to keep alcohol under control… so you can lose weight and find your confidence again.
What are the benefits of Dry January?
Dry January isn’t all bad. While it may not be a long-term solution, abstaining from alcohol for a month might be just what you need.
A hard reset is an excellent way to break a bad habit. Whether you’re cutting out sugar or quitting social media for a month… this method is much more effective than trying to ease out of a bad habit. This reset might just be the catalyst needed to cut alcohol for good.
The physical benefits of Dry January are extraordinary for women over 40. Plus, with the physical and hormonal changes experienced by those in their 40s and 50s… quitting alcohol can give your body a much-needed break.
From a negative impact on sleep to a racing mind… you may experience a variety of symptoms from too many glasses of wine. The disruption alcohol has may wreak havoc on your body, leading to poor mood and intense cravings.
Plus, alcohol contains plenty of hidden calories… and no one can lose weight if they’re consuming too much. A few of bottles of wine a week could actually make the difference between losing a stone in 12 weeks… or losing nothing at all!
Ultimately, there are plenty of positive reasons to abstain from alcohol to lose weight. This has a knock-on effect on your work and home life, causing better all-round health!
The problem with Dry January
There’s no-long term plan
Most women over 40 have no plan for the lead up to Dry January. Nor do they account for the weeks afterwards… So, they end up just going right back to their bad habits! They’ll drink when stressed, drink to reward themselves and drink to celebrate.
One of our clients had an extra boozy December this year, as they were planning to do Dry January… sound familiar? In our experience, this is a common occurrence every year. Plus, the celebration when February comes is usually a big one.
Effectively, this cancels out the many benefits of a month of sobriety.
Drinking a moderate amount throughout the year is much more appropriate for women over 40. Plus, it’ll leave you in a better place when it comes to weight loss.
Dry January doesn’t fix the underlying problem
Cutting out alcohol temporarily is only ever going to lead to temporary results. And usually, there’s a reason you’re drinking too much.
So, what is ‘too much’? NHS advice suggests limiting intake to 14 units a week for women. This is equivalent to drinking no more than 6 pints of average-strength beer (4% ABV). Or, it’s the same as 7 medium-sized glasses of wine (175ml, 12% ABV) per week.
If you’re drinking this much, it doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic by any stretch. But, if you’re drinking any more than that – you’re certainly drinking too much to be healthy. Plus, this is FAR too much to lose weight as a woman over 40.
So, what’s the solution?
If over-consumption of alcohol is a problem for you, try to find a long-term solution… a solution which deals with the ROOT CAUSE of this problem. Root causes include…
Boredom is a common cause of excess alcohol intake. For example, if the only thing you have to look forward to each week is that bottle of wine… then it’s going to be very hard to limit your drinking.
With current lockdown restrictions, it may seem like there’s nothing else to enjoy. However, it’s important to find something else to replace this nasty habit. From finding an exciting new hobby to planning something fun… you’re sure to have other activities to enjoy.
If someone’s unhappy with an aspect of their life, it can easily lead to drinking. We’ve all done it; but masking the problem isn’t an appropriate long-term solution.
From relationship problems to financial worries… there may be times where you need to endure grief. For example, when losing a family member or going through a painful break-up.
However, other times you may need to make a different kind of change. If you’re breaking off a failing relationship or changing career paths, it’s useful to have ways to process your emotions.
In our experience, self-improvement work is incredibly effective at battling these issues. From mindset work and therapy, to exercising or connecting with friends… there are plenty of healthy ways to deal with emotional issues.
At the end of the day, alcohol is a sedative and a depressant. It affects the central nervous system in severe ways. At first, drinking can reduce fears and take your mind off of your troubles. It can help you feel less shy, give you a boost in mood, and make you feel more relaxed!
So, it can be a temporary fix for stress. Yet – it will have a negative affect with losing weight or improving your health and happiness long term.
Instead, it’s useful to proactively manage your stress. Find a way to dissipate stress throughout your day-to-day… so it never gets too much to handle.
Dealing with stress
Inside our programmes, we use a daily tool called the Stress Shield. This helps our clients to dissipate stress through a form of meditation, journaling and mindset work. It only takes 7 minutes a day… and it means they can manage stress without turning to booze. This leads to faster weight loss and improved wellbeing – a win-win situation with proven results!
If you’re interested in finding a long-term, sustainable diet which is designed for women over 40, you can find out more about working with us here!