As the silly season fast approaches, we’re all preparing for the onslaught of Christmas parties, Friday-night drinks, festive food and inevitable family bickering. With all this socialising comes a lot of indulgence and, more often than not, alcohol.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a beer with friends or a glass of red as much as most. But during the festive season it’s important to make sure things don’t spiral out of control.
It’s all too easy to convince ourselves that we only drink on “special occasions”. But it’s important to remember that a Friday is not a special occasion. We need to be a little more selective.
Keep in mind the recommended alcohol intake for men and women is no more than two standard drinks a day, so if you’re sharing a bottle of wine each night with your partner and more over the weekend, you’re going well over. If it’s the Christmas party blowout, well …
Here are a couple of reasons why you should try to limit your alcohol intake this silly season:
Weight Gain \ If you have alcohol in your system, it is prioritised as fuel and will be burnt before your body burns any fat. To make matters worse, if you indulge in some hot chips after a few too many cocktails, they’re far more likely to go straight to your fat stores, as your body will still be trying to burn off those after-work espresso martinis.
Change in behaviour \ Alcohol interferes with your brain’s communication pathways. You might do or say things you normally wouldn’t or experience changes in your mood and co-ordination.
Liver Function \ Drinking too much too often can result in a fatty liver, which can affect your liver function and even cause permanent damage.
Kidney Function \ Alcohol is a diuretic, which means your kidneys have to work harder than normal to remove toxins from your bloodstream. They also maintain the right balance of water in your body. When alcohol dehydrates your body, it can affect your kidneys’ ability to do this.
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Now you know why you should limit your alcohol intake, let’s look at some simple strategies to help you achieve this:
Find an alternative \ Instead of meeting a friend for a drink, why not meet for a walk or a coffee? Be honest. Tell your friend or loved one you’re trying to have an alcohol-free day. More often than not, they will be supportive.
Swap the champagne for sparkling water \ If you’re one of those people who likes to be holding a glass to feel comfortable in social situations, make a simple swap. Opt for a glass of sparkling water with fresh lime instead and enjoy the bubbles without the alcohol.
Pick and choose \ The reality is you will have social events you want to enjoy with a glass or two. Try not to overdo it. Pick and choose those events you’ll drink at and others where you won’t.
Alternate alcohol with water \ Alcohol dehydrates you, so follow every glass of booze with a glass of water. This will help keep you hydrated and can also reduce the amount of alcohol you consume.
Learn to say no \ There is nothing wrong with politely saying no when offered a drink. At the end of the day, the buck stops with you. Be strong enough to stand strong and simply say “no thanks”. ●