Binge Abstinence

drinking water not boozeThe fashion for self-denial

Already this year we have had Dry January and Sugar Free February and now that it’s apparently OK to booze and stuff down cakes, we’re straight into Lent which encourages a whopping 40 days of giving something or other up. What is this obsession with self-denial? I call it Binge Abstinence.

You can guarantee that there’s always someone giving up something and more often than not they want you to pay them to do it in the form of sponsorship. And don’t they like to bang on about it! Facebook is full of people moaning about drinking tea on a Saturday night and radio DJs talk about their lack of sugar every day, becoming Sugar Shamers from their smug positions of reformed sugar junkies!

I don’t really have a problem with people giving things up but I do object to the holier than thou attitude when they do it. I have noticed a few things though. For a start, these vows of abstinence tend to be conducted on people’s own terms – for example, nobody ever does Dry August or Sugar Free December do they (let’s face it, after the excesses and cost of Christmas, how many people actually drink much in January anyway?!). I’ve even seen people start their month of austerity a bit early so they can stop in time for a big night out or a weekend away which is hardly really proving a point is it – “I’ll stop drinking apart from when I go to parties or nights out”!

And what happens at the end of this period of self-restraint? Having thrown themselves off the wagon, the majority seem to make up for lost time and drink/eat enough for two months! Because that’s the point isn’t it; the more we tell ourselves we can’t have it, the more we want it! I’m sure I would crave booze twice as much if it was out of bounds and frankly I would never contemplate giving up cake for any amount of time (mmmmm, cake…). (By the way, if not drinking for a month is really that difficult, it’s probably a sign that you really do need to #justsaying).

I’ve never been a fan of giving anything up entirely to be honest. I much prefer the adage of ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’ (I say that, I actually mean ‘quite a lot of what you fancy makes you fat’ but you get the point). Giving stuff up just makes you miserable so why do it?

Cutting down is ok, I’m all for that. A friend of mine did Moist January (only drinking on a weekend) and I reckon I could probably manage Sugar Free Tuesday if I put my mind to it (as long as it was followed by Waffle Wednesday).

At the end of the day (or the start of the month of pain and denial) I don’t really care who gives up what – just don’t expect me to really care that much and I really don’t need a daily update. Unless of course you really set yourself a challenge such as giving up coffee and swearing during the summer holidays – now that I would sponsor!!!

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