Weymouth-based Ed joined LiveWell Dorset back in 2016 after a staff health check at work. He had been encouraged to lose weight and reduce his drinking. This is his story:
“I had a bit of a health scare at my staff health check. I knew I wanted to get control of my unhealthy habits. That was the year I first completed Dry January, and I've done it every year since. I simply feel so much better after a month of not drinking. I was told about how LiveWell Dorset could help me, so I gave it a try.
LiveWell offered a three-month kick start at Slimming World or Weight Watchers. I chose Slimming World, and lost more than three and a half stone, which I've been able to keep off by maintaining healthy habits.
I used to drink 5-6 pints a week, at home or in the pub. I no longer need a drink every week. In fact, I often only have a beer every other month when we go out for a meal. I don’t drink beer at home, although I still enjoy a glass of wine at the weekend. I'm more alert, more awake, and I don't get headaches anymore. Oh, and I raised a bit of money for charity while I did it, which was encouraging.
LiveWell encouraged me to get more active and I found something that would work for me in Walking Football. I can't run because of my creaky knees, but walking football is just what I need. I play every week in a friendly match, and as part of the Dorset Walking Football League. It's for over 50s, I enjoy the fun and friendships I've made.
I do much more walking now, made much easier after losing the weight. I've started driving less and walking more. On my way to work, I get off a train station early to get some extra steps into my day. And I don’t drive to the local shops any more. It's the combination of lots of little changes that make a difference.
I was inspired to give up caffeine too as I found that it was giving me headaches. Having taken control of my drinking, I knew I could take control of my caffeine. Taking control of who I am and how I live feels empowering, it's so beneficial. I often take another dry month every September too, because I can, and I want too!
To people thinking about taking part in Dry January I would say - just give it a try. It's so worth it. It can be hard to start with, but you'll really benefit.”
Alcohol is linked with more than 60 health conditions, including liver disease, high blood pressure, depression and seven types of cancer. It is the biggest cause of death for people aged 15-49 in the UK. Cutting back on alcohol reduces your risk of developing these conditions. 62% of Dry January participants have better sleep and 49% lose weight.
"Loads of us drink too much. I used to drink every day and was horrified to find that my consumption was sometimes in excess of 100 units per week... I had to moderate my drinking".