Life is hard! I will never discredit that fact, and only help arm you with coping mechanics. There are so many ways that we, as adults, try to deal with the pain of existence.
I know some of you have probably already discredited this article, because giving up alcohol completely is something you wouldn’t ever do. Let me tell you: that’s fine!
Wanna know a secret? I drink, too.
I love wine, and sometimes celebration calls for some Grey Goose! But, I do it strategically, and sparingly, so that my health (and waistline) is minimally disturbed. More on that in a bit.
Let me say it flat out, because I’m not at all condoning drinking: alcohol is literally poison. But in our culture today, it’s nearly unavoidable. Quitting entirely is not realistic for most people. That’s why we must learn our limits and how to do it in the least damaging way possible.
Some of us shy people need the social lubrication that alcohol provides (me, me, me, me, me).
Before we talk about how your life and health will be improved by cutting out alcohol, we need to address WHY you’re drinking.
Without this self introspection, you may never be able to kick the habit. Shall we?
Red or white wine? Why? Comment below!
Why Do You Drink?
Most of us are working longer and harder than ever. Our jobs run us to the ground, and we seek quick relief. That’s where alcohol comes in.
The pressures of the 21st century are enough to stress anyone out, and in this climate, it’s perfectly understandable that many people find solace in the excess of the weekend.
A few cocktails with the girls, a bottle or two of wine with dinner at home with bae, a few responsible drinks (and maybe one or two irresponsible drinks) out on the town. It adds up.
The trouble is that alcohol is a highly addictive and damaging substance and even if we think we’re not drinking it to excess, we’re likely drinking more than is good for us.
Which brings me to my next point…
How Much is Too Much?
Everyone reacts differently to alcohol. Your age, height, and weight are factors that affect your ability to metabolize it effectively.
By rule of thumb, you should be drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis. And drinking all 14 units in one sitting is definitely a no-no. Ideally, I recommend no more than 3 drinks a week.
If you know someone who’s recently done Dry January, you may or may not know about these amazing health benefits that kick in when you give up the sauce (even just temporarily).
Everything in moderation! If you’re going to drink, do it strategically; more on that below.
1 – Your Skin Looks Better
When you substitute the sparking wine for sparkling water you’ll find it so much easier to give your body the essential hydration that it needs.
This will enable you to keep you feeling mentally alert, keep your metabolism ticking over and ensure that your skin gets the hydration and nutrients that it needs to give you that healthy Covergirl glow without makeup.
Over time, drinking alcohol will cause your skin to age prematurely, so the sooner you start cutting down on your intake, the better.
Not only can alcohol cause jaundice, it breaks down collagen, causes wrinkles, sags the skin, and enhances the aging process. Therefore, drinking lots of beer, wine, or liquor makes you look tired and haggard.
2 – Your Relationships Will Improve
Alcohol makes a lady or a gentleman out of no one.
It can amplify and distort our emotions, making us more volatile and quick to anger or to saying things that we don’t mean.
Drinking may necessarily not start fights in a relationship, (unless it’s really become a problem), but it can certainly exacerbate them. Sure, alcohol can make you more affectionate, but going sober can help you to love and to feel loved in a more sustainable and real way.
Many people become completely isolated when they develop a drinking problem. That’s because drunk people can be annoying – even to other drunk people!
There’s a time and place for shenanigans, but that time and place is not all the time, everywhere.
3 – The Pounds Will Start to Fall Off
Alcohol slows even the most efficient metabolism, and may impede your gains in weight loss or at the gym.
Alcohol is very high in calories. Empty calories. The body essentially processes and stores alcohol as sugar, which converts to fat. If you’ve been drinking alcohol in excess for any length of time, you are most likely carrying at least ten pounds of extra weight on your body because of booze.
The good news? Cutting it out will help the weight fall off.
While some alcoholic drinks are more calorific than others, even that vaunted glass of red wine can have a negative effect on your metabolism.
If you’ve been frustrated by an inability to hit the goals you’ve imposed on yourself at the gym, you’d be astounded at the difference going sober can make.
4 – Your Risk of Cancer Drops
Cancer will affect almost 40% of the US population at some point in their lives, and they owe it to themselves to do whatever they can to mitigate that risk.
As well as cutting out red meat, cigarettes, and processed foods, quitting alcohol can significantly reduce your risk of cancer.
5 – You’ll Save Money
You’re out on the town, and you buy a round of shots. And a pregame bottle. And drinks for friends. Soon, you’re out $100, and are left with a nasty hangover and regrets.
Not only is alcohol expensive, but so is the high cost of low living. When you are drinking, you make bad decisions, which result in big consequences.
Let’s do some quick math. Assuming each drink you buy while you’re out (binge) drinking costs on average $8. You go out 2 nights a week, and have 5 drinks each time.
52 weeks in a year * 2 nights a week = 104 nights drinking a year
104 nights drinking a year * 5 drinks * $8 per drink = $4,160 on drinks out per year.
That’s a significant amount of money! It can be much better used elsewhere.
6 – You’ll Sleep Better
Another surprising benefit you enjoy when you quit alcohol is better sleep. Chronic alcohol consumption leads to insomnia, sleep disruption, nightmares, and frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the night.
When you quit drinking, you restore your brain’s ability to produce healthy, lasting, refreshing sleep.
Chronic fatigue is a symptom of excessive alcohol consumption. This is because alcohol wears your body down and interrupts its natural processes.
Essentially, it acts as a toxin that slowly poisons your body over time. When you remove this substance from your system, your body can then begin to function like it was designed to.
This lifestyle change results in a good night’s sleep on a more consistent basis.
How To Drink: The Healthy(ish) Way
Here are my tips to keep the calories low, and damage done minimal:
- Cut out the sugary drinks. No frozen margaritas, sex on the beach, or rum and coke. You’re already putting alcohol in your body which will get processed as sugar and turned straight to fat. Don’t add more sugar on top of that.
- Don’t eat a lot before drinking. Have a snack, but don’t eat an entire meal. You will feel the alcohol a lot quicker, and need to drink less to reap the desired results (being drunk).
- Pace yourself. If you’re drinking on an emptier stomach, the alcohol will hit you hard. It’s not a race.
- Keep it simple! Just alcohol + calorie free mixer + calorie free flavor. My go to? Vodka + soda water + lime or gin + tonic + lime. The more lime you use, the better!
- Red wine is high in antioxidants, so this is a go-to for me! I don’t drink while I’m eating, though.
- Tequila is said to be the healthiest. Compared to a 1-ounce shot of vodka, which has 96 calories, a shot of tequila is only 64 calories. Plus, it’s made with agave and has a naturally sweet flavor. That eliminates the need for sugary mixers. If you are brave, just throw back some shots, and you’re set!
Originally published at blissful-bohemian.com