It’s that time of day again, wine o’clock.
The time of day when you reach for the bottle, pop the cork and pour………. And relax.
It’s been a difficult day, you have earnt it, you work hard, you need a treat at the end of the day, and it’s good for you as well right?
Alcohol is one of those funny drugs (well, not so funny). It is legal, yet it is also one of our most harmful substances. And unfortunately a large number of the population assume that because it’s legal it’s safe. Also there is all that lovely mis-information out there claiming that champagne reduces dementia, there are anti-oxidants in red wine and on and on. Let’s set a few things straight, it’s not good for you and usually the reports claiming alcohol is, are funded by companies that benefit from the sale of alcohol.
To get any benefit from the anti-oxidants in the red wine you would need to drink a barn full and just to be clear that would kill you.
I am passionate about making sure people are making an informed choice about their health. Alcohol is one of the things I want to make sure everyone knows the effects of.
There are a few things I would like you to watch out for:
- Are you drinking out of habit?
In an ideal world, in my little utopian fantasy, drinking should be a social event, a special occasion. It should be something we do in moderation, like a takeaway. So if you find yourself regularly coming home after a hard day, wine o’clock! and the first thing you do is reach for the bottle opener. Think again!! This is a habit. Take a week off or even better, a month
- Struggling to lose weight?
Are you struggling to lose those extra few pounds or half a stone that just won’t shift? Alcohol is empty calories, with no nutritional value what so ever. If you are a regular drinker even if it’s one glass a day, you will be pleasantly surprised by your weight loss when you take a break.
1 glass of wine is equivalent to 1 ice cream and 228 calories. Imagine how that adds up if you have a couple a night! Easy weight loss here we come.
- Is your habit increasing?
Have you noticed that you need to drink more to get the same effect? Or maybe you don’t even feel the effects anymore? It’s not necessarily something to be proud of being able to drink more than other people in your social group. Drinking regularly can cause this. If this is you then cut back slowly and stop for a while.
I very rarely drink now and when I do I really feel it, even if I just have one small drink, I know I have had a drink.
- Is your sleep affected?
Most people think that alcohol aids sleep, well it does initially as it relaxes you but later it alters the quality of your sleep as your body works hard to process the alcohol. If you are having sleep problems and you are unable to sleep properly when you have had a drink this could be due to your alcohol use. This is your body working hard to process the alcohol in your system. It is a toxin after all.
- Have you noticed physical changes?
If you are vain and care about what you look like, alcohol is not a good look in so many ways. If it isn’t already, it will at some point cause skin problems and ageing. Deep wrinkles, red skin and chubby cheeks sound familiar? As well as causing bloating and dark circles under your eyes, alcohol dries out skin and can lead to wrinkles and premature ageing. Make sure you drink lots of water to offset this if you are drinking.
- Do you think about drinking alcohol often?
We all have those “I could really do with a drink” moments, but if you struggle to go for a day without thinking about your next drink, warning lights should certainly be flashing. I’m not wanting to be an advocate of drinking non-alcoholic sugary drinks but they can really help when you first stop drinking or take a break. When I get a craving for fizzy wine, I buy myself some fizzy elderflower, (I know it’s not the same but it works for me).
All of us will experience difficult periods in our lives, some more than others. If your life is difficult and you drink regularly you are probably using alcohol to cope and mask difficulties. If you struggle to reduce your drinking because life is just too difficult make sure you get some professional help with whatever the problems are.
If you recognise any of the above, then start by calculating your units/measure what you are drinking and keep a record.
Check out https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/ for their unit calculator, I am sure there is a good app out there somewhere for this, let me know if you find one.
If you are able then the best thing you can do is to take a break for as long as you can. Then make sure you moderate your use if and when you start drinking again.
If you are unable to cut down due to anxiety or physical withdrawal symptoms such as sweating and shaking then please speak to your doctor first before embarking on any reduction programme.
If you need some quick top tips, sign up for our free (quick I promise) everything you need to know about alcohol videos. https://www.ichange21.com/