man at sheffield steelers game

I have never been a big drinker, but when I do drink it can sometimes turn into a binge. Dry January is a prime opportunity for me to detox after a Christmas full of rich food and drink, with the extra pounds appearing without me even noticing!

The first obstacle for me was New Year’s Day. I am huge Ice Hockey fan and traditionally the 1st January match goes hand-in-hand with a few beers. But of course, this year that was not an option! But I survived, and still had a good time, a great start!

The reason why I am taking part in Dry January is two-fold:

Firstly, like most people, I do not tend to take into consideration the calories in alcohol. The extra layers have been creeping up on me. Spending a couple of hours in the car five days a week to get to work and dark evenings certainly contribute to my feeling of inadequate fitness levels.

My goal for improving my fitness is to take part in the local Park Runs on Saturday mornings. These 5km runs are a great way to get fit as well as a reason to keep a clear head on a Friday night! I am hoping that regularly taking part in these will also help me to lose that ½ stone I have been trying to get rid of for the last few months!

Secondly, bearing in mind that my job is Health Improvement Specialist for Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust, I feel that I can set an example and raise the profile of physical health in a department/organisation where mental health is the priority.

“Practice what you preach” comes to mind…

I would like to share my experience of Dry January with my colleagues and the people we work with, to show that if you put your mind to something, you can do it!

I have found that the Dry January and Nike Running apps have been fantastic motivational tools for me. Keeping record of my month-long (perhaps more!) abstinence and any exercise I do has been great encouragement!

Like My Limit…Love My Life!

Over half way there…

Dry January has been going well. A little more difficult than I initially thought. There have been times, especially Friday nights, when I fancied a beer and then I remembered I am doing Dry January. I haven’t been out socialising too much as it’s January but when I went out last Sunday for an Indian meal it felt quite different as I usually drive there, have a beer and my wife drives back.

I have also tried to cut down on caffeinated drinks too. Out with Diet Coke and in with more cordial drinks. I am also exercising more and aiming to do a Park Run the end of the month. Training is going well.

I organised a Dry January event at the Becklin Centre hospital last week where we prepared Mocktails for service users and staff. It was great to chat about a variety of things including alternatives to alcohol. People were amazed by the calorie content of some alcoholic drinks!

January has just flown, it’s nearly February now. No excuse now not to do that run!

Good luck if you are taking part in Dry January and if so, please share your story with us @forwardleeds

Dry January Finished!

I can’t believe that January is over and we are now in February. I’m glad that I did Dry January and I have to admit it was a little harder than I originally thought. It’s taught me that I can go without alcohol for a long period of time. The reason I did Dry January was mainly because of my Christmas binge, and after completing it, I have to say I feel so much better. I have started running and the plan is to get fit enough and do my Parkrun. I’m also sleeping better and find it easier to relax at night. I’ve also reduced my caffeine intake.

Long term I’m aiming not to drink so much when I go out. I don’t normally drink a lot but when I go out I do tend to binge. I guess the test will come when I meet up with my best friend at the footy next month.

But, I have to confess that I did have a little tipple on the 1st of February. Not a lot though, it was a school night!

5 weeks after DryJanuary

Things are going well at the moment. I have to admit, I have gone back to having a few drinks on a weekend, but that has mainly due to the fact that I am no longer doing DryJanaury (and can). My biggest test will come when I go watch the football with my friends (in a few weeks time), I need to make sure I don’t binge drink and blow all the hard work I did over DryJanuary. I am also a little disappointed to say, that I still haven’t done the Park Run I aimed for when I started this… yet.

The big news is that I am going to be a Dad in September. My wife and I are absolutely thrilled, and we are looking forward to becoming parents. This experience has made me reflect on my lifestyle and drinking habits. I guess that I will have to now grow up and become responsible!