How to avoid excess alcohol this Christmas
How to avoid excess alcohol this Christmas??
Many of us start January and regret the sheer amount of alcohol we’ve consumed during the month of December. After a busy, uncertain, stressful year and especially after missing out on Christmas celebrations ion 2020, it’s tempting to think “what the hell…”. But seriously, when we stop to think about the impact alcohol has on our health, over-indulging on more than the occasional night, is not advisable. An extra glass here and there all adds up to a burden on the body.
Impact of Alcohol- Reasons for saying No
Most of us are aware that alcohol is high in calories and sugar. So it WILL lead to weight gain, especially around the middle- the area that can be so difficult to shift.
Alcohol creates a stress response, causing the release of cortisol. It is this stress response that can lead to mood altering effects such as low mood, anxiety, poor concentration and memory.
The sugar release plays havoc with our blood sugar balance that can lead to shakiness or intense hunger (you know the feeling of wanting starchy carbohydrates). And of course its impact on sleep. Sleep quality can be really poor after a night of alcohol. For some, alcohol triggers relaxation and sleepiness, but for many others this effect is short lasting and sleep is disturbed and light.
Alcohol can have a very inflammatory effect on the gut intestinal lining. A damaged gut barrier creates an unhealthy environment for the growth and maintenance of beneficial gut microbiome. And it puts an additional burden on an (often) already overworked liver to metabolise and remove the toxicity from the body.
Other effects are poor skin, feeling lousy and poor performance at work.
My Top Tips to avoid over doing it
Try not to go out for the night hungry. You’ll be surprised that you may turn to alcohol as a replacement for food and drink it more quickly.
Try to have a healthy, balanced snack that does not upset your blood sugar levels. Just like being hungry, an imbalanced blood sugar level can lead to an increased consumption of alcohol. A healthy snack is a small omelette, beans on toast, oat cakes with nut butter or pate. Make sure you are consuming some protein that will keep you fuller for longer.
Set yourself a goal. I know, how often do you commit to just having two drinks but end up going with the flow? You need to make a conscious action to keep yourself on track. One tip that I have come across is to put two coins in one pocket and as you have each, move the coins to the other pocket. This triggers the reminder you have reached your target intake and may help you to stop and rethink your actions.
Of course, being the designated driver works brilliantly!
It takes conscious effort to stay in control. It’s very easy to go with the flow, being encouraged along by friends. I know I have to stay alert to what I am consuming. I choose to switch up my alcoholic drinks for water. Often it’s a sparkling water on a night out to make it more interesting. You could choose another soft drink but try to steer clear of drinks high in sugar.
Choose alcohol-free wines and spirits, There are some great brands on the market now that taste just s great.
Day to day Life
Schedule alcohol-free nights when at home. But this doesn’t mean drinking even more on the nights you do drink!
Stop to consider your stress levels and whether you are using alcohol as a stress reliever and a way to unwind. I have spoken about stress relieving techniques in other blogs. My go tos are always deep breathing or yoga. But you will have your own preferences such as walking, calling a friend, playing music or having a bath.
Government guidelines are set at 14 units a week for both men and women; and a unit is much smaller than you think. A bottle of wine contains 10 units. The drink aware website is a helpful resource to help you make wise decisions.
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