Do you love a drink or six? Find wine a great way to unwind? You could be stuck in a vicious cycle…
Growing up in the UK with the pub being the centre of the social universe, big cities galore offering exciting nights out and bars exclusively being dedicated to vodka shots served on racks (yes, that is ordering six plus shots of vodka in one go – painful), I have certainly had my fair share of drinks in my time.
Now though, as I have progressed to a far healthier lifestyle, I prefer waking up ready for a walk or yoga on a Sunday morning and have ditched the Panadol and hangovers for good and I would never go back. I do have the odd drink, and I really enjoy it – but I no longer drink to ‘fit in’, out of habit or just because I have had a bad day.
Drinking is socially normal, alcoholic drinks taste nice and a few glasses of vino certainly do help conversation flow. The problem today, is the way that some of us are drinking.
You may drink to get drunk – to feel a sense of escape – really, that means that booze may have become a coping mechanism for you, but it isn’t a good one. I am not judging this as right or wrong – just pointing out, it might be time to address it – especially if deep down, you know it’s now what you really want to be doing.
Others of you may drink out of habit, a routine glass of wine or three after work, just because… well, that is what you do. Does this really make you feel good? Or does it make you feel good in the short term, but again, deep down – you know it’s not helping you keep healthy or feel good about yourself.
Drinking alcohol dramatically increases your cancer risk, it can cause disturbed sleep and even if you aren’t boozing it up all the time, drinking can leave you feeling down in the dumps – those blue moments can make life seem very dark some days.
When it comes to booze, my view is that if you choose to drink – then drink on your terms, a little of what you like, avoid drinking out of obligation or just to fit in and certainly find a healthier habit than half a bottle of wine to drink when you get home from work to unwind – there really are better solutions.
Be honest – do you drink too much? Does alcohol have a negative impact on your life sometimes? You can change it. So many people think they can’t – but if you believe you can, then – well, you CAN. It’s the messages that you tell yourself that are the most important.
I have a few hints and tips to help you drink less – so, if you are ready to, take charge of your life and make a commitment to be a happier, healthier you:
- Be the sober driver – I am as often as possible.
- When you head to friends’ places, take sparkling water or non-alcoholic drinks as well as or instead of wine/beer.
- Practice saying ‘no thanks’ – if your drinking is a habit, you will need to work on building new habits, which will start with your verbalising what you want.
- Top up white wine with soda – diluting it down might be able to help you drink less.
- If you go to a bar for ‘drinks’ with friends, order a glass of red – you can sip at it slowly and in between have sparkling waters when others might be several drinks down.
- Find ways to socialise that don’t revolve around booze – there are a million other things you can do.
Here are some of my favourite non-alcoholic drinks:
- Soda with fresh lemon or lime – in a wine glass. Well, why not?!
- Chilled iced tea. There are many recipes here.
- Tomato juice with ice, and I personally like black pepper and chilli – yum!
- Coconut water – must be served SUPER-cold.
- Unsweetened/lite cranberry juice mixed 50/50 with soda.
What are your hints, tips and tricks for drinking less? Share your ideas, stories and comments below! Let’s help each other get healthier and feel better every day.
Until next time… happy healthier living.
Love, Claire x
Claire Turnbull, BSc (Hons) Dietetics UK, NZ-registered nutritionist. Managing director of Mission Nutrition, and Healthy Food Guide nutritionist.
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