Don’t burn out before the big day
By Jenny Cook
Party season is well and truly upon us and, for the majority, that will mean a lot of eating celebrating and – you guessed it – drinking.
And – although there’s no reason you should be feeling guilty about over-indulging this Christmas (after all, a bit of a blowout every once in a while is actually good for you) – it’s likely that back-to-back Christmas events will leave you feeling less than fresh before the holidays have even started.
So, while we’re never going to class your Christmas bender as ‘healthy’ (sorry), Dr Gary Bolger, Chief Medical Officer at AXA PPP healthcare, has shared a few healthy habits that could help offset some of alcohol’s collateral damage – and ensure you make it to the 25th in one piece…
Have a goal. This could be stopping drinking at a certain point in the night, stopping altogether or aiming to only have alcohol at the weekend. Decide on a start date and stick to it.
Eat something. Food can slow down the rate that alcohol is absorbed into your system. Before going out, eat a healthy meal with carbohydrate content to help prepare your stomach.
Downsize the supersize glasses. Opt for a small (125ml) glass rather than a large (250ml) one for wine. If you’re drinking at home, buy smaller glasses for the house.
Stop the top-ups. Stop topping up your glass before its empty. This can help you to keep track of how much you’ve had!
Avoid drinking alone. When you pour your own measures rather than paying for measures individually, you may not notice how much you are drinking. Smaller (¼) wine bottle sizes are available (187 ml) and can help to cut down consumption.
Sip your soda from a wine glass. Drinking a soft drink from a glass you would usually fill with alcohol can be a great way to cut back without feeling like you’re missing out. When you’re trying to resist the pressure to have alcohol, get a drink that looks like it’s an alcoholic one or try having a shandy instead.
Weave in glasses of water. Paradoxically, alcohol dehydrates you so it’s important to drink water before you begin drinking and in between alcoholic drinks. People often guzzle the first drink because they’re thirsty. Alternating alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks will not only help stop you getting too intoxicated, it will help reduce headaches and hangover symptoms the next day.
Know your units and monitor your intake. Keep a drink diary to help you to work out how much you’re drinking on a regular basis. According to guidelines, adults should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week – eek!
Understand your triggers. If you’re really trying to cut down on your alcohol intake, work out which situations you know will encourage you to drink and then look for alternatives. For example, if you’re seeing friends suggest a walk in the park or going to the cinema instead of pitching up in the pub.
There are many health risks associated with excessive drinking over time, including liver disease, cancer, obesity and addiction. If you are worried about your own or another’s alcohol consumption, contact your GP or Drinkline (0300 123 1110) is a confidential helpline you can call if you’re worried about your drinking..