Top 10 Health Reasons to Join Me for SEWber January

Recent research shows that during the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. adults drank alcohol 14% more frequently than they did before the pandemic. (sounds low to me, but I'm Canadian.) According to Nielsen’s market data, total alcohol sales outside bars and restaurants surged roughly 25% during the pandemic. Sales of spirits rose even higher with more than a 27% increase since 2019. It's definitely time to hit the reset button!

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Everybody's Sewber January may look a little different, just like our quilts do! 

Totally clean for 31 days?  Go for it!

Maybe you want to enjoy your gin and tonic on the weekend? Sounds good!

Have one glass a day instead of the whole bottle? Whatever works best for you!

I'm aiming for the full dry, so wish me luck!  I'm not perfect, so it won't be easy and if I do decide to have a glass of wine on day 21, I'm not going to beat myself up. I'll enjoy it and then continue to abstain until the end of the month. My birthday is in February, so it gives me a special treat to look forward to. Hopefully, I'll be surrounded by family and friends this year. 

Benefits of reducing your alcohol intake:

1. You Feel Better

It's easy to forget that alcohol is not healthy for us. Yes, research proves that an occasional glass of red wine can have some benefits, but when you have more than you should, your body has to work harder to process the drug, and your brain has to go into overdrive to keep your body in balance. ​But, when you quit drinking, your body starts to repair itself. When your body isn’t being affected by the toxins in the alcohol, you start feeling better, and you have the energy to focus on other things. Above all, your brain and body can function the way it’s supposed to. When you stop drinking, you gain self-confidence, and your sense of self-worth soars. Cutting back on alcohol isn't always easy, but when you realize you are the one in control and not the alcohol, it's a powerful feeling. 

 

2. You Look Better

Alcohol accelerates the aging process by producing free radicals and other toxins in the body.   After quitting smoking, it is one of the healthiest things you can possibly do for yourself and your skin. Alcohol dehydrates your body and interferes with the absorption of nutrients. As a result, it’s more difficult for the body to rehydrate itself, which results in dry, lusterless skin. Think of that crinkly November leaf. Alcohol also throws off your blood sugar and can increase hormones like estrogen and cortisol. The good news is that your skin will heal and repair itself once you cut back or stop drinking. 

Adverse effects of alcohol on your skin include:​

  • Broken capillaries on the face and nose

  • Inflammation

  • Dehydration

  • Jaundice

  • Loose or saggy skin

3. You Think Better

Of all the reasons to quit drinking, mental clarity is a big one. As your brain begins to heal, you begin thinking clearly, and being clear-headed at work, in your relationships, and in daily decisions are all reasons to cut back or to quit drinking. Your brain is overworked with chronic alcohol use. It not only controls every bodily function, but it is also responsible for responding to stimuli. When you quit drinking, the brain doesn’t have to work so hard to keep your body in balance. Additionally, alcohol consumption damages areas of the brain. But, when you stop drinking, the brain begins to heal. 

 

4. Your Liver Rejuvenates 

One of the many reasons to quit drinking includes letting your liver rest and heal. Your liver is responsible for breaking down alcohol. Binge drinking and chronic alcohol use put added stress on your liver, to metabolize the alcohol, your liver has to work harder. As a result, you can face various health issues relating to your liver.  Fatty liver is common among heavy partiers and most people with a fatty liver don't even have symptoms, even if they can have an enlarged liver or mild discomfort in the upper right side of the abdomen. This is a totally preventable disease and is reversible when treated early. 

​5. You Wake Up Feeling Great

Of all the reasons to quit drinking, this is felt immediately. Imagine waking up feeling totally refreshed and having a productive day. As adults we don’t like to say we’re hungover, that’s for kids! So let's just say that we’re tired, maybe a wee bit of a headache and we just don’t feel 100 percent! A friend's mom quit drinking at aged fifty because she “ became addicted to waking up feeling great”, she's now in her eighties and still going strong! 

6. You can Battle the Blues

Many times, people drink to cope with depression, but it’s important to remember that alcohol is a depressant. That means any amount you drink can make you more likely to get the blues, especially in the winter months. 

Even if you are not struggling with mental illness, alcohol can cause mood swings. You may be easygoing and more open-minded after one glass of wine. However, after a few drinks, you might be more easily annoyed,  and blurt out things you wish you hadn't.

Because your mood can change when you consume alcohol, people you love may start thinking it's easier to just agree with you to keep the peace and that doesn't lead to healthy long-term relationships.

 

7. You can Improve your Heart Health

Alcohol is hard on your heart. After a night of drinking pinot with your book club, you may feel like your heart is going to beat out of your chest when you lay down. Chronic heavy drinkers are particularly susceptible to heart issues. For instance, if you drink more than 14 drinks a week, you are twice as likely to experience heart disease. So cutting back now before any damage is done is very beneficial for your heart health.

 

8. You can Lower your Cancer Risk

Alcohol is a known carcinogen and drastically increases your risk of dying of cancer. Liver cancer is the one we associate with alcohol, but it can also lead to developing cancer in the: breast, colon, esophagus, and other parts of the body. Men who drink three or more drinks a day have a 41% higher risk of dying of cancer. Women who drink two or more drinks a day have a 20% higher risk of dying of cancer. Women who have three drinks a week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly have each day.

9. You Will Lose Weight

It only makes sense that drinking empty calories would cause weight gain, but there’s more to it than that.  Alcohol is burned first as a fuel source before your body uses anything else. So yes your pre-dinner wine gets burned off first, but your cheeseburger may not get used as fuel, which means it is stored as fat! In addition, alcohol can negatively affect our digestive enzymes, making it harder for us to digest tomorrow's cheeseburger even if we don’t have a beer with it!

10. You Will Sleep Better

Do you think that drinking at night helps you sleep?  The truth is,  it may help you fall asleep faster, but your quality of sleep suffers. Alcohol actually blocks your REM or restorative sleep. In addition, you'll be wakened for an extra bathroom trip and it can interfere with breathing. How often have heard someone say they only snore when they've been drinking? Now you know why.

These are just 10 reasons why finding taking a holiday from alcohol will make you feel great, but there are many more. What are your reasons? 
 

Download your choice and share it with your friends.  #sewberjanuary  #sewber
tag me @healthyquilting to let me know you're in this with me.