Life Wellbeing Why I’ve signed up for a Dry July

Why I’ve signed up for a Dry July

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When I first heard of Dry July in 2011, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I found the prospect daunting. I guess I was typical of a lot of Aussies, in that I’d slipped into a pattern of regular drinking, which I didn’t consider a problem. Yet the thought of stopping was a challenge.

I had a pretty stressful and full-on job and after a long day at work I enjoyed having two or three glasses of wine to wind down and relax.

However, I’d reached a point where I wasn’t happy with the way I looked – I’d gained more weight than I realised and I knew that it was time to change things.    I saw Dry July as the opportunity to make some healthy lifestyle changes so I signed up! That was in 2011 and I’ve taken part each year since.

Last July we lost our friend Carl. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February 2013 and was gone so quickly.

That first year, I immediately noticed that I felt better for being booze-free. I had more energy, I found it easier to get into doing some light exercise and also made better food choices. It’s so easy when you’re in the pub to start eating hot chips and burgers but doing Dry July, I stopped all that.

This is  Toni O’Sullivan's fourth year off the booze in July.
This is Toni O’Sullivan’s fourth year off the booze in July.

As a result, I dropped 5kg really quickly and easily. Since then I’ve lost about 16kg and I feel like a different person – I’m healthier and have managed to maintain some of those changes I made during my first Dry July.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a glass of wine during the rest of the year but now I look forward to July coming around. I know it’s a great opportunity to make those healthy changes, have a bit of a detox and a mid-year health check.

So I’ve signed up again this year and I’ve got my partner on the wagon with me so we’re supporting each other, which makes it much easier.

Last July we lost our friend Carl. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February 2013 and was gone so quickly. I always get so sad when I think of Carl not being with us anymore, which is why I will always pledge my support for such a cause, and raise awareness however I can.

Toni and her partner Matt.
Toni and her partner Matt.

We’re raising funds for the Mater Foundation in Brisbane and so far this year have raised over $300. In previous years I’ve got more than $500 so I’m hoping to beat that this year. Proceeds from Dry July support adults living with cancer and help fund projects such as complementary therapy programs (including art, massage, and music therapies), fit-out and furnishings at dedicated patient accommodation facilities, new treatment chairs and electric lift beds and refurbishment of hospital cancer ward areas.

Knowing I’m raising funds for such a fantastic cause gives me the added motivation I need when things get tricky a couple of weeks into the challenge. A couple of weeks in it always feels like there’s still a long time to go but by then I’m also noticing the benefits so that spurs me on too.

For more info visit Dry July online.

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