How 'Dry January' can change your life

Annie Grace, author of "The Alcohol Experiment," discusses how giving up alcohol for a month can change your life, as many embark on the "Dry January" challenge during the new year.
5:42 | 01/07/19

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Transcript for How 'Dry January' can change your life
All of a sudden -- we have a "Gma" health alert as the new year gets under way. So many are trying a popular challenge. The dry January. That's giving up alcohol for a month. Kayna Whitworth joins us from L.A. You got your husband to try it out. How did you do that? I know, robin. He was such a trouper. He would be the first to tell you that a month with no alcohol doesn't start out so easy. You notice an upside pretty quickly. A new year, new promises. Exercise more. Eat healthier. For many, drink less alcohol. This January, people are pledging to hang up their party hats and take part in a sobriety experiment known as dry January. Annie grace, the best selling author of the book, "The alcohol experiment" says the new year is a perfect time to step back and take stock. Dry January has become a phenomenon. People are jumping on this. I think that often people do take a break from alcohol. But they don't necessarily understand why they're doing it. Your brain kind of recalibrates itself. Our actual enjoyment of things goes up at the end of 30 days. Reporter: Her new book offers insights on how the take a break and bring lasting change to the way we drink. If you approach it with a curiosity. How sit going to be to watch the football games? The playoffs without a beer? You might not want a beer when the super bowl comes around. Reporter: Since I'm expecting a bay beau and haven't had alcohol for nearly six monlts, I recruited my husband to take the challenge. I love when you bring your work home with you. So thank you for this. Reporter: He doesn't drink to excess. Drinking even a little every day can be tough to give up. I think the toughest thing is getting rid of a glass or two of wine at dinner. The first two or three days are tough. You start sleeping better. Alcohol disrupts R.E.M. Sleep. Once you start sleeping better, your life can turn around. Reporter: It wasn't fun all the time. He noticed a change in the first week. Sit kind of nice not to have a beer when you come home? Now it is. Yeah. But the first week or two, it was difficult. The hardest part wasn't not having a beer or a glass of wine. It was just breaking the habit. Reporter: He lived through it. Annie grace says your body actually starts to experience a change almost immediately. And that 93% of people report being happier after four weeks without alcohol. So, if you want to taken to challenge, try to exercise, eat fruit to satisfy sugar cravings, and keep your protein intake high. We posted fantastic mocktail recipes on gma.com. Including a strawberry balsamic smash. It sounds like a salad. It's not. You thought about it all. And your hubby, a great sport. I know. We appreciate him. Dr. Jennifer Ashton is here. You're trying dry January for the second year in a row. Yep. Last year, you got a reaction. We got a huge reaction. I heard from followers on Facebook. On Twitter. My Instagram. Mostly saying, Jen, we're doing it with you. They're calling it dry January. I want to be crystal clear. This is a behavioral wellness challenge. This is not for sobriety or abstinence. That is a completely different category. The results are pretty positive. But the data is mixed. Some shows there can be a rebound effect where some people drink more after the month. Some studies show, yes, in a month, you can see positive health changes. Difference in your skin. How you sleep. Your concentration. Weight loss for sure. We know empty calories in alcohol. This is pretty popular. Did you feel a difference? Absolutely. For sure. Sleep is better. More energy. More focus. This is not anything other than social alcohol consumption. I'm glad you're making a distinction. How much we consume. We may be surprised how much we're consuming. It's about serving size and portion side. I started -- I developed my own system of tracking it. This is my home calendar. Okay. It's a little messy. I circled the number of drinks in red. I put the servings on the side. The first week. Three. The second week, six. For women, moderate alcohol intake is considered seven sevenings a week. Men, 14. Why that's a problem. Five ounces of wine is a serving. You go a restaurant or serve yourself at home, you could almost be getting double that. I literally track this. And I do it on this giant calendar. So I can look at everything really quickly. Very old school and see where I am for the month. I see that cliff got paid on the 20th, too. That's right. Good for cliff. Wonderful. I see that. Socially, I mean -- the conversation you have. There's been a lot in the media. Some people feel like a trend, oh, I'm doing a dry month. People are bragging. People need to do what they want to do for their own health and well P. Try not to make a big deal out of it. Getting social support, you sit down and say, I'm doing a dry month, people should respect it and say -- And we say this to you. How much did cliff get paid, I

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