It’s that time of the year when over indulgences are the norm and the consumption of alcohol is no exception. It really is a challenge to avoid alcohol over the festive season, especially when it is so ingrained in the South African culture. Festive over-indulgences are not beneficial to one’s health and can be detrimental to ones self-respect if not properly controlled.
So here I sit with having to make the decision of whether to drink or not. My biggest issue is that I don’t feel it’s worth it to set myself back months of hard work just to succumb to the norms of the festive season. The struggle is most certainly real when it comes to weight-loss and I don’t want to go into the New Year several kilos heavier due to excessive indulgences. I don’t have to drink to have fun as I’m still the same crazy and fun person I have always been with or without it, so I’ve decided that I’m going to rather drink in moderation as opposed to not drinking at all.
The 6 Rules of Sensible Drinking
1. Stick to your meal plan
Firstly, continue to stick to your meal plan as far as possible over the festive season and eat a well-balanced diet. Protein and veggies will keep you fuller throughout, while keeping calories low. Secondly, you definitely don’t want to drink on an empty stomach. It’s the quickest way to getting drunk. Being hungry will also result in you wanting to eat everything you can possibly get your hands on. This holds exceptionally true when it comes to snacking, which goes hand-in-hand with drinking and socialising, therefor healthy snacking is vital. It’s important to know that alcohol calories still count so if you’re tracking calories to lose weight, you need to account for the alcohol you drink.
2. Be a picky drinker
Know what you are drinking by doing some research ahead of time. Avoid sugary drinks like ciders and cocktails which contain higher calories. Drinking vodka or whiskey would be a better and more sensible option. Use sugar-free mixers or water with your liquor. Dry wine is another excellent option. Avoid mixing your drinks as it will not only make you drunk quicker, but it’s also harder to keep track of how many drinks you’ve had. Drink at your own pace and don’t let anyone pressure you to drink more or to drink faster.
3. Drink in moderation
For most people, the hardest part of incorporating alcohol into a healthy lifestyle is knowing when to stop. The key to sensible drinking is most certainly drinking in moderation. Try and stay under two to three drinks and within the recommended guidelines for safe drinking as stipulated by the rules of your country (refer below). If you plan your consumption and practice moderation with your drinking habits, alcohol can still be a part of your life without negatively affecting your weight-loss goals.
4. Drink safely
Let’s be honest, now. We live in ever-changing and dangerous times, so it’s rather important to be savvy when consuming alcohol. Make it a rule not to accept drinks from strangers and don’t leave your drinks unattended. The rule of “safety in numbers” holds true when it comes to drinking at parties and night clubs. There have been so many reported cases of people having had their drinks spiked that’s its definitely better to be safe than sorry this festive season. Make sure not to mix alcohol and medication, as this could have huge negative consequences.
5. Water is your wingman
Hydrate hydrate hydrate! Water is definitely your best friend when consuming alcohol. Aim to drink a glass of water between alcoholic drinks. This will aid in keeping you sober, whilst indirectly limiting the amount of alcohol consumed. It will also aid is lessening the effects of a hangover.
6. Deal with your hangover safely
After a night of Festive drinks, you may encounter a bad hangover the following day. The best thing to do is to refuel your body with wholesome food and water. Drink water in smaller portions as this is sufficient enough to get your body re-hydrated. Surprisingly, exercising can help with hangovers, too. Mild exercises such as walking or yoga can help to ease the hangover and make you feel better. If you only have a few drinks, then you probably won’t have to worry about dealing with a splitting headache and/or inside-out stomach feeling the day after.