Welcome back to our blog, we hope you had a great Christmas and Happy New Year!
As it’s a new year, many people will be starting new year resolutions such as ‘dry January’ and weight loss regimes.
We are going to explore the impact of alcohol on your health and well-being and tackling obesity as 11-17th January 2021 is National Obesity Week.
Many people tend to participate in dry January after the festive period to give their body a detox. Dry January is where you do not consume any alcohol for all 31 days in January. This may be a little easier than usual in 2021 due to pubs/restaurants/bars being closed as a result of the global pandemic so why not give it a go this year? Although, this may not be suitable for all individuals so please do check it is appropriate for yourself to partake beforehand.
What are the benefits of completing dry January? Participants reported: 70% better sleep, 86% saved money and 65% noticed a general improvement in their health1. It has shown that if you are able to complete dry January, it may positively impact on your longer term drinking habits1.
We also know that consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can cause long term complications, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, liver problems, cancer and more2.
Many adults get into a habit of drinking daily, for example having a glass of wine with their evening meal. But as the NHS recommends 6-8 glasses of water a day3, why not try replacing your glass of red/white wine in an evening with a large glass of water instead? – kill two birds with one stone as they say!
Sometimes we mistake thirst with hunger, therefore if you are drinking a sufficient amount of fluids, especially before meal times, this may help to contribute with weight loss4.
If you are thinking of participating in dry January, you can access applications to support you through the process.
National Obesity Week
Did you know… 1 out of every 4 UK adults are classified as very overweight or obese?5. This is likely putting additional strain on our health services. Obesity can be caused by multiple factors including diet, lack of exercise, underlying health problems, genetics etc.
Often conversations can be difficult with friends and family regarding weight. An important part is the individual being willing and motivated to change their lifestyle. If they are happy to do so, you can then provide support throughout the process.
Some ways in which you may be able to help are by suggesting healthier meal options or even preparing these for/with them if able. A diet diary may help initially to assist the individual to recognise poor habits which then leads on to making positive changes. You could even suggest going for a walk, doing an exercise class, or run with them (of course, in line with government COVID guidance). Providing positive feedback and encouragement for small improvements may help with their motivation and commitment.
Making lifestyle changes may help to not only reduce the risk of obesity but also health complications such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, strokes, osteoarthritis and psychological problems such as depression and anxiety5.
As a physiotherapist, we often see people who have osteoarthritis. Being overweight/obese can be a contributing factor to their symptoms as this will increase the amount of load on their joints. However, if pain from the osteoarthritis stops you from being physically active, you may need to seek advice to get your pain under control first. Exercising in water, which reduces effects gravity, or seated exercise programmes may be beneficial to control your body weight and help to reduce the amount of load the joints are under in order to exercise.
I hope you enjoyed reading our January 2021 blog on Dry January and Obesity and I hope it has motivated you to make some positive lifestyle changes.
Take care and see you next month,