How to say ‘no’ for Dry July and your health
No sugar in your tea? No questions asked! You want to quit smoking? Good on you! Say no to a round of drinks on the weekend, and you’re given looks that make you think you’ve got two heads.
Social drinking is arguably a big part of Australian culture; it’s strongly connected to parties and friendly gatherings. A drink or two after work with pals is a typical way to wind down the day, and a glass of wine in the evenings is routine for many. Have you ever taken a second to tally up your weekly alcohol intake? If your body is in need of a break, it’s time to join the ‘Dry July’ movement!
Dry July is more than giving up alcohol for a month. The funds raised by participants fund projects and programs which help improve the wellbeing and comfort of those affected by cancer.
Nearly 80% of Australians believe this country has a drinking problem. In 2017, 44% of Australians admitted they drink with the sole intention of getting drunk; a higher number than previous years. However, Australia’s attitude towards excessive drinking is improving, with 63% limiting themselves to two standard drinks. There’s still 16% of Australians consuming more than five standard drinks per occasion, but, no longer can we point our fingers at teens; young adults and university students aged 18-24 are drinking less than they were in 2007. Overall, it seems Australia is slowly dissolving the perception of social drinking as a cultural expectation.
How to say no
Sometimes it can be hard to say no, especially when it comes to friends and family. Here are a few ways to turn down drinks without ruffling any feathers:
I’m driving. Being the designated driver is always the best excuse! No one enforces drinking and driving, so continual offers for a beverage will be off the cards.
I’ve got to get up early tomorrow. Getting up early for prior commitments is a good reason; it shows you’re in control, not the alcohol.
I’ve just finished a drink. Most people will understand you may need time before having another.
I’ve reached my limit for tonight. Friends and family will respect your self-control.
What are some alternatives to alcohol?
If you want to enjoy something a little fancier than water, here are some alcohol free alternatives:
- Bitter lemon
- Ginger beer
- Sparkling water
- Hot drinks
Alcohol has 7 calories per gram and is high in sugar! Alcohol is a source of empty calories, meaning, it has limited or often no vitamins or minerals to support good health. It travels directly to the liver to be metabolised, making it a priority over food; any excess is converted into fat. Fat stored around the liver is dangerous and associated with the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as fatty liver disease, diabetes, and liver cancer.
DrinkWise Australia (2018). Australian drinking habits: 2007 vs 2017.
Gerrans, M. Drinking culture in Australia. (2018). Retrieved from http:// http://insiderguides.com.au/alcohol-in-australia/.