After the festive weeks surrounding Christmas, the arrival of the 1st January brings with it the yearly chance to start over. To change ourselves and have a remarkable year. We go ahead and make those New Year resolutions, and surprisingly most of us resolve to improve ourselves in much the same ways.
Top of the ‘Resolution Charts’ are ‘eating better‘ and ‘getting in shape‘, and most of us take it head on by doing some kind of drying out and detoxifying month of January.
I did the detox thing last year, and the biggest problem I found is that by the middle of the month, I was ready to kill for some kind of junk food sugar hit and a glass or two of my favourite tipple. It really wasn’t pleasant at all. I’m talking severe mood swings as I battled my inner demons, which were continually nagging me to break my resolution and give in to my cravings.
In the midst of my anguish, I began to look for a guilt-free way out, and started to do some ‘research.’ The main aim was to find out if ‘Detox January’ actually does anyone any good. If it doesn’t, I had my way out as there would be no real point in continuing with it. If it does, then I needed to find some help getting through it.
Is It Worth It?
The first pieces of research I uncovered weren’t the good news I secretly hoped I’d find.
“It’s the liver which really detoxifies your body, and liver disease is the third most common cause of premature death in the UK. About 40 people die from it every day. The average age of death from liver disease is 57, while it’s about 80 for stroke, lung disease and cancer.”
“To keep your liver functioning best, you need to lose excess weight and drink less alcohol.”
“Most moderate drinkers underestimate their alcohol consumption. Most moderate snackers underestimate the amount of sugar they eat. And if you drink just one fizzy drink each day, you have more fat in your liver.”
Snap. I had my answer. Yes, it’s worth it.
Now I needed to figure out my second question:
How can I get through it?
The internet was full of sage advice on this one. The main recommendations boiled down to the following list:
- Drink plenty of water
- Empty your cupboards of temptation
- Don’t go to the pub
- Go for a walk
- Recruit a friend to keep you on track
- Eat more protein and veggies
- Remember it’s only 30 days
I mean c’mon. Was that it? Was that all the help I could get?
I’ve no idea how I got through the rest of January. I did drink a lot of water. In fact, for a full two weeks, I only drank water. (This had a surprising result – the skin on my face felt amazingly clear. Really fresh and invigorated. +1 for this tip.)
As for the rest – pah!
I suffered and struggled my way through the rest of January, and at times came very close to calling it all off.
Eventually, I managed to finish the month, and I really did feel a whole heap better by the end. BUT I never wanted to repeat the experience, and so I did little more delving.
While doing my research, I also discovered a startling New Year resolutions statistic. Approximately 80% of people have given up on their resolutions by the second week of February.
I couldn’t help but feel how ridiculously high that number is. What happens in the 5-6 weeks since the 1st January that causes people to abandon their quest?
Were my ‘eat better’ and ‘get in shape’ resolutions doomed to fall by the wayside too?
After a lot of reading, I boiled down what I needed to do into just two simple steps.
- Accept you’ll have failure days.
- Swap out your snacks and drinks.
And these are the two points I want to impress upon you in this post. You don’t have to be perfect, and you should forgive yourself any missteps on the way. Little slips don’t mean you have to give up on yourself. They don’t result in total failure, just a minor setback.
If you get a bit savvy about how you go about it all, you can still have a drink, enjoy our snacks and feel like you’re getting all the treats you need.
Here’s what I did during 2017, so I didn’t need to do Detox January again this year.
I swapped out all beer for craft gin and tonic. I measure my shots and use herbs and fruits to bring out the botanicals. I use top notch tonic waters, and I make a long drink. I only have an average of 3-4 drinks each week.
The snacks made a difference too. I changed to healthier fruits, nuts, seeds and beef jerky. When I do have the occasional packet of crisps, I used baked varieties instead of fried ones.
Tasty cordials, coconut and birch waters will help you consume more ‘good for you’ drinks and are much better for you than any kind of fizzy drink.
When you want to indulge in decadence, you’re wholly justified in splurging on the finest versions of your food and drink favourites.
And you don’t have to copy me. You might choose to drink craft beer or fine wine. If you have a crazy night once a month, then that’s fine too.
The important thing is to make a plan that incorporates treats, snacks and alcohol, so you don’t feel like you’re being deprived in any way.
Wishing you the very best New Year!