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Julia Loraine-Ashett and Cheryl Davison have signed up to Dry January 2019 after the company they work for encouraged staff to take part. The sisters, both from Sunderland, decided to sign up together so they can provide moral support for each other throughout the 31-day challenge.

Cheryl, 34 said: “I have never done Dry January before but often thought about it, so when I read the email at work encouraging us to sign up I knew I had to give it a go this year.

“I am really looking forward to taking part and seeing the benefits of not drinking alcohol for a month. I’m hoping that I will lose weight and feel healthier, especially after over indulging at Christmas. This time of year always makes me think about eating and drinking too much, so I want to do Dry January to see what a difference it makes.

“I would describe myself as a moderate drinker as I don’t go out regularly due to having four children. However, I do often find myself unwinding after a stressful day at work with a glass of wine. It has become a routine and it is one I’m looking forward to changing.

“I have already started looking into alternative drinks and I’m planning on drinking green tea to cut down on my caffeine too. I’ve also decided if I do go out during January I’ll try non-alcoholic beer as I’m not a big fan of fizzy soft drinks.

“A lot of my friends and family don’t think I will be able to Dry January, but I’m determined to prove them wrong. I’ve persuaded my husband, Lee, and my sister Julia to sign up with me as I think it will be much easier if we do it as a collective challenge. I know we will find it difficult, so it will be good to have each other to motivate one another and spur us on."

Cheryl is hoping that by taking part in Dry January she will become healthier and be able to save money to treat herself.

She added: “I’m looking forward to having a total detox in January and I’m hoping that it will make me re-evaluate my relationship with alcohol. I really want to get more fit and active, so I’m going to find alternative things to do and go out walking with the dogs more. I am also hoping to save money by not buying alcohol and not having to rely on taxis when we do go out. I’m quite happy to be the designated driver and I’m hoping to save enough money to be able to treat myself.

Cheryl’s sister Julia, 50, usually goes out with friends once a fortnight, but she says it’s the habit of having a drink in the house that has started to have an impact on her health.

She said: “It becomes a routine. I’ll usually have a glass of red wine at night. But the thing is, you can go without it. You don’t actually need it.

“For me, my main reason behind doing Dry January is my health. I’ve been in such a rut. I haven’t been going to the gym, I haven’t been sleeping well, and I know I’ve put weight on. Because the alcohol affects my sleep, when it’s time to get up and go to the gym before work, I’ll just tell myself I’ll go tomorrow instead. It’s a dangerous cycle, so I can’t wait to get started in the New Year. It’s something I have been thinking about for a while.”

Although she admits it will be hard to break the habit at first, Julia has already experienced the benefits of not drinking when out socialising.

She said: “Alcohol can spoil a lot of things for you. When I’ve been out and not drank, I actually find myself thinking: ‘This is ok.’ You just feel a lot better in yourself for it, and you can take the car out with you, so that’s a bonus as well. The majority of pubs serve non-alcoholic drinks which helps."

The sisters have gone all-out to ensure that Dry January delivers the health boost they needed in 2019. As well as having each other for support, the pair have set up a small group that will have weekly weigh-ins to keep track of the progress they’re making by ditching the drink.

But, for them, Dry January is something they feel will hugely impact their relationship with alcohol going forward.

Julia added: “I think it will massively effect our lives from this point on. We’ll see a difference in our complexion, our weight, just our whole lifestyle. We will also have more time and energy to do things together. “I just think, after Christmas, I’ll have had enough with all of the parties and celebrations, so I’m really looking forward to a new start in January. I’m so ready for it.”

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