Excessive alcohol intake can be a real problem when you are trying to improve your health. It can cause our body to break down by accelerating aging and increase our risk of many conditions including cancer.
We will discuss strategies to help cut down on alcohol intake. It can be easy to get into the habit of drinking more than we should, whether it’s on a daily basis or occasionally on the weekends. However, it’s important to try to avoid excessive alcohol intake for your health.
Alcohols Effect on the Body
Although there is research that moderate alcohol intake may be associated with some cardiovascular benefits, there is also research that shows that excessive alcohol intake can have negative impacts on blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol and obesity.
Binge drinking is even riskier and is associated with higher incidences of stroke, myocardial infarction and sudden death.
What is Moderate Drinking?
If you choose to drink alcohol, it is recommended to drink no more than 1 drink per day for females and no more than 2 drinks per day for males.
What exactly is 1 drink?
- 12 oz. beer
- 5 oz. wine
- 1.5 oz. of spirits or liquor such as tequila, whiskey or vodka
And no, you cannot save all of your drinks up for the weekend!
Most people who drink alcohol do end up drinking more than the recommended amount at least once per month. This may not seem like a big deal but it does cause damage to your body and can increase your health risks over time.
Also, something to be aware of is that your cancer risk is increased even at low alcohol consumption per day (less than 1 drink per day). Any alcohol intake, no matter how small, is associated with increased cancer risk.
Things to Do Instead of Drinking
Here is our list of 10 ideas to try:
- Get support.
Find a friend, family member or other support person that does not drink, so that you won’t be alone! You could also look into meet-ups, meetings and groups of like-minded individuals to find fun non-drinking activities.
- Make new routines.
If you know that there’s a certain time of day or day of the week that you are more likely to drink, make a plan for a new routine at those times to help you break the habit.
- Start a healthy lifestyle, especially being more physically active.
Focusing your energy on productive exercises, such as weightlifting or jogging can give you a really great “high” and make you feel accomplished and increase your energy and strength levels. Check out other reasons to improve your lifestyle here.
- Work on incorporating a wholesome diet.
Sometimes when people stop drinking or smoking they turn to food as a coping mechanism, which can lead to weight gain and health issues. Learn new recipes, make a meal plan or check out these other strategies to try.
- Get plugged into a church.
It will help you to have fun activities to do several times per week, can keep you busy, give you a supportive community and can provide a lot of hope and contentment.
- Find fun new activities and hobbies that don’t trigger you to drink.
Some ideas include: golfing, fishing, hiking, biking, swimming, going to the gym, reading new books, starting a business, learning new skills, camping, etc.
- Be active and avoid sitting around.
You may be more likely to grab a drink when you are bored. Maybe you have a list of chores that you’ve been meaning to tackle. Work hard and keep your hands busy. It’ll help clear your mind and destress.
- Limit all obvious triggers.
This could mean keeping alcohol out of your home, avoiding certain people or avoiding certain places, if they tempt you to drink. It’s easier to be strong ahead of time rather than risking temptation in the moment.
- Do something meaningful for others and give back in some way.
It truly gives people purpose by helping others and it can help motivate you to help yourself. Find a mission that you feel led to help with such as the causes focused on the elderly, children, homeless, low income, food insecure, veterans or others that are struggling.
- Get professional help.
Sometimes you need more support. You may need to connect with your doctor, counselor or even support groups in your area. You may not think you have a problem, but it can be incredibly dangerous, even deadly, to cut back on your alcohol intake suddenly, especially when your body is dependent. A doctor can help you to cut back in a safe manner.
It’s hard to get out of the habit of drinking, but with some planning and practice, you can improve! This is a common problem people face, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. You don’t have to live like this forever.
If you want to improve your overall health and wellness, it is an important area to work on and unfortunately it is something that many people forget about or put to the bottom of their to-do list.
Hopefully, these strategies can give you some ideas to incorporate into your routine that can help you to reduce your alcohol intake. If you need more tips on your cardiometabolic wellness, download our free guide to get started today. If you want more support while improving your nutrition, fitness and other lifestyle factors, you can join our wellness group.