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Try January: a different approach to cutting back on alcohol

Registered dietitians say Try January is a more sustainable approach to cutting back on alcohol
Posted at 5:51 PM, Jan 19, 2024

ORLANDO, F.L. — There's a lot of health benefits to Dry January, but many people don't make it through the entire month with no alcohol.

One survey shows 41% of American adults tried taking part in Dry January in 2023, but only 16% completed it. That's according to consumer analytics platform, CivicScience.

But health experts say putting in the effort to try and cut back on alcohol is what's more important. That's why registered dietitians with Orlando Health are encouraging Try January instead.

"We're really just recommending moderating your alcohol intake beginning in January, and then trying throughout the rest of the year," said Shannon O'Meara, a registered dietitian at Orlando Health. "This way it's a more sustainable change throughout the rest of the year, and it can lead to a lot greater health benefits versus one month of just doing Dry January."

Some of the health benefits include a stronger immune system, weight loss, and perhaps the most important— a long-term improved relationship with alcohol.

So if you're reading this story after having broken your Dry January streak, this is your sign to not completely give up on drinking less.

Here are some things you can do to be successful.

"First thing I would always recommend whether beginning on any new goal, is taking inventory of where you're currently at. So really look and evaluate how often you are drinking. If you're drinking 5 times a week, 4 times, what types of beverages— and then start cutting back on the actual amount," said O'Meara.

This can be a gradual process. O'Meara suggests reducing the number of drinks you have in a night or the number of nights a week you drink to start. As you work toward whatever your goal is, it can also help to schedule activities that don't revolve around drinking.