January is traditionally the time of year for lamenting the overindulgences of the December gone, and for committing to penitent resolutions. In the UK our top two resolutions are improving fitness and losing weight, but in recent years we have seen the emergence of New Year’s lifestyle changes that you don’t need to do forever, (or pretend you’ll do forever) but just for the month, such as Dry January or Veganuary.
The research tends to suggest that taking part in either of these month long events can have serious health benefits for you; cutting out the booze for a month led to participants in a study conducted by the University of Sussex to report that 71% of them slept better, 67% had more energy, 58% lost weight, and 54% had better skin, while cutting out animal products has a positive effect on weight loss and inflammation in the gut, according to this study published in Nature. Aside from the tangible benefits of both is the added bonus of getting to be a little bit smug about making what are quite tough changes to commit to.
But before you think this is me wanting a platform to be smug from, I’m not actually doing Dry January or Veganuary. I’m more of an in-moderation person than a swooping changes type, and for me trying to be more healthy in the New Year involves a little bit of both – more Quorn or meat alternatives for meals, and less alcohol when I do drink, which is only once a week in any case. I might even go for a jog at some point(!) The whole idea behind resolutions and big lifestyle changes is that you’re doing something for you that will make you feel better in mind, body or soul and it is really important not to lose sight of that. So whether you’ve decided you’re going to train for a marathon, or maybe just to eat a bit less cheese this year, good on you for having a go and doing something for you.