Whether you enjoy a drink as part of a busy social schedule or to wind down after a hard week, alcohol can be an important part of our lives. However, it is all too easy for drinking to creep up on you until you’re consuming far more than is healthy. Drinking too much can have a very negative impact on your health, and can adversely affect your appearance, health and mental wellbeing.
Cutting down is not only a good idea for your health, you may see a host of personal and social benefits too! Here are some tips to reduce your alcohol intake.
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1. Keep track of your units
Government guidelines advise you should not to drink more than 14 units per week, and not drink all your units at once but to spread them evenly over several days.1
It is a good idea to educate yourself on what a unit of alcohol actually represents. Once you have an idea of what a unit actually is, it makes the guidelines much easier to stick to. One unit is equal to just half a pint of lager, and there are three units in a large glass of wine. It is easy to see how these units can add up, so don’t get caught out.
When you have a visual record of what you drink, it makes you feel more accountable and in a position to make a change if needed. Why not keep track of your units by jotting them down on a piece of paper and ensuring you don’t exceed your weekly allowance. You could enlist your smartphone to help, and download a free app which will help you track your drinking habits, work out your units and even calculate the calories and money you’re saving as you cut down.
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2. Don’t keep alcohol in the house
Having a kitchen stocked with alcohol can make it very easy for you to reach for a glass of wine, beer or spirits as soon as you get home from work.
Not keeping alcohol in the house helps you to drink more mindfully. Instead of automatically reaching for alcoholic drinks simply because they’re there, you will have to make a trip to the shop each time you want to drink at home. This will limit your drinking, as often you might decide it is not worth the trip, and do without the alcohol.
3. Replace drinking with other activities
Looking at your lifestyle and identifying that you want to cut down on your drinking is a great first step. You might want to think of ways to fill the time you previously spent either drinking or recovering from a hangover.
Thinking of ways to get more active is an excellent idea. You could try a new sport if you’re feeling adventurous, or even just exploring parks and museums in your area. Try not to base your social life around drinking.
You could start treating yourself to brunch every Sunday with the money you’ve saved from not drinking the night before. The clear head is a bonus!
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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1. [Online] https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/alcohol-units.aspx.