Make drinking less a New Year’s resolution, urges Swanswell

27 December 2013

Cutting down on alcohol use for 2014 should be at the top of everyone’s list of New Year’s resolutions, according to Swanswell.

Losing weight, exercising more or giving up smoking are usually among the most popular pledges for the next 12 months, but the national recovery charity’s encouraging more people to think about their drinking habits too.

Around one in four people are classed as hazardous drinkers, and there are thousands of alcohol-related deaths in the UK every year (8,748 in 2011); yet society still sees drinking alcohol as part of everyday life.

However, drinking less is not as difficult as it might seem and there are a number of benefits to cutting down.

Alcohol contains a large number of empty calories - if a man drinks up to the government’s recommended daily limit of 3-4 units per day (or about a pint and a half of 5% lager) five days a week, they’d have the equivalent calories of four kebabs a week.

For a woman, having a large glass of wine every day for example (3.3 units per glass - just over their recommended daily limit of 2-3 units per day), is like eating almost two pizzas every week on top of her usual diet, or 45,840 calories over the year.

So, cutting back on beers, wines and spirits will help people stay in shape over the next 12 months.

In the short term, alcohol use can disturb sleep, cause feelings of stress, loss of appetite, sweating, anxiety and can affect judgement, so having fewer alcoholic drinks will improve health and wellbeing on a day-to-day basis.

Over time, regular alcohol use increases the risk of alcohol-related illnesses including some cancers, diabetes, heart disease and liver problems. Cutting back can reduce those risks too.

Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s that time of year when everyone reflects on what they’ve achieved over the last year and what they think they should do differently over the coming 12 months.

So it’s the perfect time to look at last year’s alcohol use and consider how drinking less can improve your life in 2014. There’s so many health benefits to cutting down and you’ll feel the benefit in your pocket too, as drinking less costs you less.

It would be unrealistic to challenge yourself to stop drinking completely for a whole year, so try setting smaller goals and cut back gradually to ensure, by the end of the year, you’re well on the way to feeling happier. It’ll take more time but it’ll be worth it.

There’s nothing like support from friends and family, so why not get them involved too – why not make it a group challenge? It really will make a difference.

If alcohol use is becoming a problem, it’s a good time to take the first step and speak to organisations such as Swanswell, who can offer non-judgemental help and advice.’

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