Now the Christmas and New Year blowout is over, it’s time for the cold, hard truth. How many units of alcohol are we actually consuming. During the cold winter months, there’s nothing more appealing than rewarding (or blotting out) the day’s achievements with a glass or two… But it’s a slippery slope that can soon become a regular habit.
As we creep closer to the weekend, glasses soon turn into bottles and before we know it, we’ve consumed well over the average drinking units per week. That’s 14 by the way. The equivalent of a bottle of wine or 6 pints of beer. It may sound like a lot, but it’s surprising how quickly we knock it back.
According to a survey by Drinkaware, 2 in 5 men and 1 in 5 women drink more than this on a regular basis. If you’re female drinking between 14 – 36 units or male drinking between 14 – 50 units, that’s you. Anything more than this and you’re at a much greater risk.
According to a survey by Heineken 50% of millennials cite avoiding loss of control as the primary motivation for limiting alcohol consumption on a night out.
More than one in three admit they have suffered from ‘social shaming’ caused by appearing to be drunk in a photo on social media. 71% believe that their life is better when they moderate their behaviour.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Instead of saying ‘i’m never going to drink again’, try and drink a little less in 2017. Here’s top 5 tips for staying balanced…
1. Track habits
Stop finding any excuse under the sun to have a drink. Track your daily habits with the Drinkaware app, which can be downloaded here. Share with a friend or partner and encourage each other to stay on track by setting goals. There’s an extensive database of alcohol brands for accurate tracking. In the supermarket or at your local? Calculate costs wherever you are – track your drinks and add their exact prices to accurately see how much money you’ve saved by cutting back.
2. Cut down
Cut down the amount you drink. A good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week and make sure alcohol isn’t readily available in the home. Your bank balance will thank you.
3. Exercise more
A bottle of wine is the equivalent of 95 minutes running. Swap the habitual mid-week supping for jogging instead. When you drink, it chemically alters your brain to release dopamine. When you exercise, this same reward chemical is released. You can get the same “buzz” from working out that you can get from that bottle of wine, with far better outcomes for your health.
4. ‘Do something’, instead of ‘drinking something’
The formula for a great night out is shifting with millennials prioritising food and friends over excessive alcohol consumption. According to research by Heineken, 75% of millennials limit how much alcohol they drink on the majority of their nights out. More than half respect others’ decisions to moderate without teasing or pressure. Don’t plan your social life around going to the pub. Meet for a run or a fitness class and grab a healthy bite afterwards. Or join a local sports team.
5. Alcohol free alternatives
If you can’t escape the drinking environment, plan ahead and look for alcohol free alternatives on the menu. Ask for a virgin collins, virgin white lady, alcohol-free beer or cucumber seltzer.