As the new year clicked over along with our champagne glasses, so too did many new year resolutions. One of the top contenders for this, following the festivities of the holiday season is wanting to reduce alcohol intake.
Now, whether you feel like you need to take a short or an extended break from your wine with dinner or weekend drinks with the girls there are many benefits to reducing the booze this year.
Not only will it help you with any weight loss or fitness goals you might have, but reduced alcohol intake has also been proven to improve mood and sleep, assist with skin complexion and reduce the signs of aging.
So, if you are dabbling with increased sobriety but feel overwhelmed with committing to an extended abstinence period, then...
I’ve put together a few of my top recommendations to help you reduce your intake bit by bit and not feel like you are missing out completely.
REPLACE THE HABIT
If it’s the regular habit of pouring a glass of red or mixing a refreshing gin spritz that you are hoping to shake, then the best way to do this is by replacing your regular bevvy with something as equally satisfying.
With the growing trend towards #sobercurious, there are now a plethora of options for you to choose from including alcohol-removed beers, spirits, cocktails and wine available at your local bottle shop or supermarket.
Feeling a little more creative? You can mix yourself up a mocktail with some fresh juice and sparkling water – the combinations are endless.
Or if you are looking for something that you can drink regularly there are some delicious flavoured sparkling mineral water and kombucha beverages on the market that will give you a similar drinking sensation without the hangover (and kombucha has the added benefit of being good for your gut).
FIND OTHER WAYS TO SOCIALISE
Often you hear that the biggest struggle people find when reducing their alcohol is down to societal expectations and the common practice of socialising with and around it.
Whether catching up for a Friday night drink with your girlfriends, wine with dinner at a nice restaurant, watching some sport at the local, not to mention if you are on the dating scene – an accompanying drink is commonplace and often expected.
If you are worried that your willpower won’t be quite enough in these situations, then my suggestion is to find other ways to socialise with your loved ones.
Meet your bestie for a Saturday coffee and brunch date instead of the usual cocktails or get active and go for a hike or scenic walk.
BUDGET YOUR BEVVIES
Not ready to go without but keen to reduce your quantity of alcohol? A great way to get started is to alternate between an alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage.
So, if you have a glass of wine when you arrive at dinner then stick to water for your next drink. Heading out for a night on the town but wanting to feel fresh in the morning? Use a tactic I call beverage budgeting.
How it works is very similar to the normal budgeting we all know and love to loath - you set yourself a budget of how many drinks you want to drink for the evening, then you have the night to spend them as you please. In between your allocated drinks you can fill up on something alcohol-free.
COMMIT TO SET ALCOHOL ABSTINENCE DAYS
In the same way that many practice meat-free Mondays you can achieve a similar result with reducing your alcohol intake.
The national guideline for responsible alcohol consumption is no more than ten standard drinks per week and to aim for at least two alcohol free days. Habit and ritual seem to work best so try and pick your days that work for you and stick to them for consistency.
Give these recommendations a go this weekend, you'll be surprised at how a few simple changes can make a big difference long term.
Psst... if you're looking for more one-on-one help and support, perhaps a nutrition consult would be of benefit to you? To find out more Book a Free 15 Minute Nutrition Consult. Click here to book a FREE 15 Minute Nutrition Consultation