Monday 20th – Wednesday 22nd January

Without wanting to tempt fate or sound too cocky, this is the easy bit of the week. Not having – or even not thinking about – having a drink between Monday and Wednesday seems so much more straightforward than Thursday to Sunday does. In fact I am now at the point where I almost forget on these days that I’m doing Dry January, it’s just become the case that, particularly during the early part of the week, I don’t think about having a drink.

Heading towards the last week or so I am really trying to push myself at the gym and end the month with the best possible results. Every day I am trying to achieve a personal best on the treadmill by running the last minute a little bit quicker each day. At the start of the month I was covering around 2.4k in a 20 minute session but gradually I’ve got that up to 3k and have now completed a marathon – 44.65k in total or 27.7 miles.

Today (Wednesday) I was joined at the gym by Nick and Lou from More Radio Breakfast with mixed, and very entertaining results! I won’t give too much away as there is a video coming but let’s just say Nick is not a big fan of cardio. He was though a big fan of the Lanes bar and cafe! 9 days left now and I have a completely different mindset. Not only am I confident of getting to the end of the month, I’m also confident that my drinking habits have changed for good. I’ll still enjoy a few pints on occasions and look forward to a nice bottle of wine at the weekend, but I’m pretty certain my overall consumption going forward will be a lot lower!

Friday 17th – Sunday 19th January

Well that’s another weekend ticked off – and more to the point another one of those Sunday afternoon/evenings when I’ve felt most vulnerable. This though was the easiest Sunday by far – whilst the overall routine didn’t change much. for the first time I didn’t really think about having a drink. Those beers I bought last weekend that nearly became by downfall are still in the fridge and I hardly gave them a second thought. It must be true – abstinence can became a habit just as easily as cooking the Sunday dinner with a glass of red in hand can also become a habit. Sunday was the first time I really thought that Dry January really will lead to a change for the good when it comes to my overall drinking habits.

I even passed on the pie and pint offer at The Amex on Saturday whilst watching the Albion labour to a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa – I went old school and had a Bovril instead!

Seeing results at the gym also acts as a motivator – when you see the weight start to come down, when you feel physically better and run further and faster you want to continue to trend. In fact exercise can become just as addictive and habit forming as drinking. I’m now at the point where if I go a day without a workout I feel like I’ve missed out on something.

Wednesday 15th – Thursday 16th January

An uneventful Wednesday passed without incident – a stop off at Lanes on the way home for another workout, followed by a quiet evening in watching White House Farm on the TV. These evenings at the early part of the week are comfortably the easiest to deal with. I don’t crave a drink, I don’t need a drink – I don’t actually want a drink. Previously I may have opened a bottle of wine on a Sunday night, meaning what was left would have been finished on a Monday or Tuesday. I now realise I was only having these drinks to stop the remainder of the bottle going to waste – with nothing left over from the weekend there is no temptation. I also had an early night – I was in bed at 10.20 which is unheard of and slept through until 6.30 – it is very rare that I ever get a full 8 hours sleep.

Thursday saw an early morning gym visit and a new record on the treadmill – I am still doing 25 minutes but gradually upping the pace bit by bit. Thursday evening is curry and snooker night – these days accompanied by the slimline tonic rather than a pint. My new healthy ways even extended to my choice of curry – a sweet potato and chick pea curry replacing my normal Madras or Jalfrezi. Strangely though the lack of alcohol has done little to improve my snooker. Forget these modern day players sipping water, I’m definitely from the Hurricane Higgins school of thought (apologies to anyone under 30 for the old school reference!)

Monday 13th – Tuesday 14th January

Dry January comes with a list of benefits – the literature tells you how you will sleep better, have more energy, better skin, and of course save money. Lets deal with these one by one. Sleep better? Yes, absolutely. I would often wake up around around 5am, pay a quick bathroom visit, head back to bed and then struggle to get back to sleep. For the last week or so I’ve only woken when my alarm goes off – and perhaps the lack of 5am bathroom visits is helped by not downing several pints the night before! More energy? Again yes, no doubt helped by the regular work outs at the gym, I definitely feel brighter, more alert, and less jaded come the latter part of the working day. Not sure about the better skin, I’ll let others be the judge of that one! And of course the saving money goes without saying – I reckon that two weeks in I’m around £30 – £40 better off. In conclusion, it pretty much does what it says on the tin.

So I’ve reached the halfway point – and it’s not getting easier. I still get the craving for a drink – not all the the time – but certainly on occasions. I thought that as time went by the cravings would ease, but actually they get stronger. Walking past a pub and seeing others indulging, or seeing the wine offers in the supermarket just add to the sense of missing out.

After a day off at the gym it’s back into action tomorrow (Wednesday). I’ve still been active though, walking the dog on the beach when the weather allows, and also walking him further. 6km and 8,000 steps on Sunday so little Charlie is loving life too!

Thursday 9th – Sunday 12th January

Spent most of the weekend reading on various social media platforms how Sunday 12th is the day on which most people give up on their New Year resolutions. Whilst Dry January is not strictly a New Year’s resolution, it kind of feels a bit that way. And sure enough, Sunday was my first proper wobble. Stupidly, whilst shopping on Saturday I bought some beer. I have no idea why, maybe it was habit, maybe it was wishful thinking, but come Sunday afternoon there it was, in the fridge, calling out. In my mind I had convinced myself that I had worked hard, done well, and that one wouldn’t hurt before returning to healthier ways on Monday. Thankfully some family intervention prevented me from caving in. It always seems to be Sunday’s that are the issue.

By way of motivation, tomorrow (Monday) is weigh in day. I really don’t know what to expect but hope I have something to show for my efforts, even if it’s just a drop by a couple of pounds. I feel better and healthier, but is that just psychological? My gym stats suggest I should see some results – since starting my regime a week and a half ago I have burnt 4,654 calories, and run 23 kilometres – my total moves (resistance and cardio) total 9,831. Surely that combined with a lack of booze and some healthy eating has made a bit of a difference? Not long until I find out!

Wednesday, 8th January

Well that’s week one done and dusted. Let’s be clear, this is not easy. I’ve very nearly faltered on more than one occasion. If I’m honest will I make the whole month? I don’t know but it won’t stop me trying. I’ve got through one week, which means I should be able to get through another. One step at a time and all that…..

It has though made me re-evaluate my relationship with alcohol. There have been several occasions where I realise that I have a drink out of habit, rather than because I actually want one. There’s football on the TV, better have a beer. There’s a half open bottle of wine on the worktop, I’d better finish it. I now realise there are plenty of occasions where I could quite easily have taken a more healthy option and hopefully that knowledge will benefit me going forward, long after Dry January is done and dusted. And that’s the point of all this I guess – an opportunity to look at what I drink and when I drink it.

The fitness programme has been a massive help and a useful distraction. It’s a great feeling going for a workout in the morning without having to shrug off the effects of the night before.

Monday, 6th January

Nice early gym session today to get the week off to a good start – just short of one hour and 531 calories burnt. That was needed to make room for what was coming later. It is my son’s birthday today which meant a family meal out in the evening, and another potential hurdle to negotiate. Once again the car was my friend – taking the decision to drive seems to be the easiest way to avoid any temptation to have a drink, and my wife didn’t complain either, knowing that she could enjoy a glass or two of wine! I did have a go at the alcohol free beer, and I won’t lie – it’s horrible. I’m sure the burger and sweet potato fries, plus a large slice of birthday cake more than replaced the calories shed earlier in the day. A week in and still going well.

Saturday 4th, and Sunday 5th January

Well that’s the first weekend done! I survived the pub and also survived cooking a Sunday Roast in a kitchen still well stocked with left over Christmas booze. It was a struggle though – there was more than one moment where I thought ‘I’ve done well so far – just the one won’t hurt’, but managed to stay strong. I also continued the exercise  – working out both Saturday and Sunday and I’m already feeling the benefits. I feel more energetic, I’m sleeping better, and I’m pretty certain I’ve shed a little bit of weight already.

Later this week we’ll be hearing from Lauren and Emma, our More Radio listeners who are also taking on Dry January. Has Lauren managed to steer clear of that Salted Caramel Bailey’s in the fridge? We’ll find out very soon.

Friday, January 3rd

So far so good! An early start at work meant an early finish and my first proper workout at Lanes. A mix of cardio (20 minutes on the treadmill and 5 minutes on the climb machine) plus some resistance work gave me a 1 hour workout that burnt 491 calories. According to the Lanes app, my training effectiveness rating was 81.

After the gym, I was off to the cinema with my boys to finally catch the new Star Wars movie (it’s amazing), which meant not getting home until 8. After having dinner, I felt I had passed the point at which I wanted a drink. Even my wife sitting there with a bottle of Corona wasn’t enough to serious test my willpower! Yet, anyway! Tomorrow though will be a big test – I’ll be spending a few hours in the pub.

Thursday, January 2nd

Today was induction day at Lanes Health Club. I spent an hour in the gym with Personal Trainer Andy, working on a personal programme to supplement my attempts to stay alcohol free. He was brilliant, taking me through all the resistance and cardio machines, putting me through my paces, and coming up with a bespoke training programme to help me a achieve my goals. I also had a mini body MOT which produced some pleasantly surprising results. My metabolic age is younger than my real age, I weigh a few pounds less than I thought, I am well hydrated, and my visceral fat level (those nasty fats that build up around your major organs) is in the green zone.

Fully motivated and ready to go, I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon for my first full session.

The evening saw my weekly trip to the snooker club which is knew would be potentially difficult – after all snooker is always accompanied by a pint. The answer? Drive! A couple of slimline tonic waters got me through, even if I discovered that my snooker appears to suffer when I’m sober – my mate Matt dished out a 3-1 beating.

Wednesday, January 1st

So we’re off an running! Day one and the first two tests passed. I made sure I finished my last alcoholic drink before the chimes of Big Ben last night (just) and also survived an afternoon at The Amex watching Brighton play Chelsea – that nearly always involves a pint of Harveys but instead I opted for the traditional hot cup of Bovril. All I need to get through now is the small matter of a Man City game on the TV and the World Darts Final – I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to the Darts, the majority of those watching won’t be on the water!

No time for the gym today (I did manage 10k on the bike on New Years Eve) but I’ll be off to Lanes tomorrow afternoon to get down to work. Just the 30 days to go!

Monday, December 23rd

So just over a week to go until I become booze free for a month. I’ll be honest, I’m not massively looking forward to it. It’s not that I’m a huge drinker, but I am a regular drinker. It’s nice to know that if you fancy a glass of wine or a cheeky midweek beer, you can have one. I have a feeling that knowing I can’t will make me think about it all the more.

Thursday night is Snooker night and that usually involves a couple of pints. Sunday afternoon in the kitchen cooking the roast usually goes hand in hand with a beer or a glass of something red. Watching the football is another time when beer generally gets involved, whether that’s sat at home watching on the TV or taking the boy to The Amex to watch the Albion where we are season ticket holders – the pre-match ritual there often involves a pie and a pint of Harvey’s!

Like many people, I will probably over indulge somewhat over the next week, with part me of thinking it’s ok to really indulge, knowing that a month of abstinence is just around the corner.

I’ll be reporting back here on a regular basis letting you know how I’m getting on. My month off the booze comes with a month at Lanes Health Club in Rustington where I’m looking to shed a few extra pounds – I have it on good authority that the team at Lanes will be working me hard. That doesn’t particularly bother me, I already go to the gym on a regular basis so will be up for the challenge, and already try to do 15-20 minutes per day at home on the bike or cross trainer.

So I’m off to savour the last week of indulgence – wish me luck! And if you fancy joining me, you can sign up to take part here!