Damp January: How to Drink Less This Month

  • Written By:Lauren Slayton

Don’t hate on resolutions. Goal setting and taking advantage of a clean slate are worthh of our attention – especially when it comes to our health. The problem is the grand, sweeping type of resolutions that would require a personality or life transplant. I get it, I know quitting sugar, losing a big chunk of weight and running marathons sound exciting, but that’s only if you succeed. Guilt and disappoint aren’t exciting.

One popular New Year’s goal is “Dryuary” or Dry January. And it makes sense as most of us get a little too boozy over the holidays. But if you’re someone who doesn’t have a problem moderating alcohol and loves a cocktail, maybe dry isn’t the answer? My ears perked up when someone in the office joked they heard the term “Damp January.” The key if you’re not setting a hard-and-fast “no” rule is that you’re specific. Here are some of the ways you could define Damp January:

Maybe dry isn’t the answer?

  • Single Digits Drinking: If a client is a heavier drinker, getting weekly drinks to single digits is our initial goal.

  • No drinks from Monday through Thursday each week. Or sticking to one, two or three drinks per week.

  • No drinking in the house, only when out socially.

  • One and Done: If you’re going to drink, only have one per night.

  • No mixers. Drink only clear spirits on the rocks or dry wine.

The key is to take stock of your usual and holiday habits and pick one or two “damp” ideas that feel doable, but are still a nudge. If you already have tequila on the rocks, going for “no mixers” is meaningless, right?


Give this a whirl and hold back on the judgement. We learn as much from a goal that didn’t pan out, as we do from ones we ace. Whether it’s alcohol, sugar or exercise, what you are doing if you set a goal in these areas, is paying more attention. If a goal is tricky to implement, that tells you something.

I get it. I love mezcal and New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, but I’m also a nutritionist. I’ve also read the research regarding alcohol and breast cancer, watched a father martini himself to death, and have realized just how much alcohol affects my sleep. I do believe you can eat, drink and still be healthy, it’s just far less drinking that most of us do.

Lauren Slayton, MS RD is the founder of Foodtrainers and the author of the book The Little Book of Thin (Perigee 2014).

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