Sharing a bit about my journey to drinking less alcohol and tips for reducing your alcohol intake if that’s one of your goals.
Hi friends! How’s the week going so far? I hope you’re having a great morning so far! I’m here working on content for our 6-week group – ALL of the info will be posted here next Tuesday, so mark your calendars!
For today’s post, I wanted to chat a bit about alcohol and some of the things I’ve done to reduce my alcohol intake over time.
My journey to drinking less alcohol
Let’s take a little walk into the past and my history with alcohol:
– I’ve never really been someone to *overdo* it on alcohol. While I’ve definitely had my moments (in college mostly lol) of overdoing it, I never blacked out or did things i would later regret because of impaired decision-making abilities, thank goodness. While I’ve only drank what I consider to be too much on a few occasions, I frequently had 1-2 glasses of wine or cocktails throughout the week.
– I learned that “too much” means different things for different people. While I wasn’t getting tipsy constantly, there were times (years?) that I had some type of wine or cocktail every.single.day.
– When we lived in San Diego, it was not uncommon for us to drink a bottle of wine every night. While it felt completely normal and like a part of life, I realized that it was too much and wanted to cut back. (PS drinking a bottle every night gets expensive, too!)
(Caro approves of my decision to cut back. )
Some of the main reasons why I chose to reduce my alcohol intake:
– Every.time I drank more than one cocktail or one glass of wine, I slept terribly and woke up feeling exhausted the next morning. It really sucks to start your day on such a low-energy note, especially when you’re chasing after kids all day. I realized that I felt so much better in the morning when I skipped wine the night before.
– I realized that it became a habit more than an enjoyment or pleasure. Drinking wine became something I did each day, not something I truly enjoyed. Like any habit, it took a while to break, and it was worth it.
– For health. I had a gallbladder scare a few years ago and turns out that your liver and gallbladder (BFFs) hate alcohol. It was a good wake-up call to monitor my intake and try to reduce it. Your body views alcohol as poison and will pause other processes in order to try to eliminate the toxin. It processes alcohol entirely differently than food.
Alcohol inhibits deep sleep, as your body works to process the alcohol as you sleep. It increases your temperature and resting heart rate, and also affects your insulin sensitivity. Wearing my Oura ring and the Nutrisense CGM have provided valuable insight as to how alcohol (especially after 7-8pm) affects my body.
– For body composition reasons. When I reduced my alcohol intake (in addition to some nutrition changes I’ve made over time), I noticed a difference in body composition. I felt less bloated and puffy when I woke up, and also like I could finally see some of the muscle I’d been trying to build.
What about social drinking?
This was a huge contributor to regular cocktails, and also as an introvert, I LIKE the warm and fuzzy feeling from a glass of wine as I chat with people I don’t know very well. I feel like it absolutely takes off the edge, and makes it easier for me to engage with everyone in a social setting.
Honestly, I had to get over it.
I had to tell myself I didn’t *need* alcohol to chat with new friends at parties, and it’s true. I don’t need it to feel comfortable in social situations or to have a good time.
I also wondered if anyone would say anything when I chose water instead of a cocktail, and no one has said a word. At the Pilot’s squadron Christmas party, I drank water with a lemon and no one cared. There are other ways that I’ve worked on my social anxiety, especially with meditation, hanging out with smaller groups of people, and a little CBD here and there.
Did I quit alcohol entirely?
No! I still love a margarita or a glass of wine 1-2 times a week, but that’s it. Some weeks I have zero alcohol, and some weeks I have one drink 1-2 nights per week, fully knowing that I won’t sleep as well or have as much energy in the am. I’ve just worked to reduce my intake over time and I feel like dancing in the middle (instead an all or nothing mentality) has worked well for me.
Tips for reducing alcohol intake:
Here are some of the tips that have helped me! Please know that I’m not certified in ANYTHING related to this and I’m just sharing my experience. If you’re struggling with alcoholism, please please get the help and support that you deserve. There are lots of resources here.
– Drink something else that you enjoy. Kombucha and hot herbal tea are lovely substitutes. I also loooooooove the Organifi Gold or Harmony (use the code FITNESSISTA) mixed with warm almond milk, a big glass of water (I aim for around 100 oz per day), LMNT electrolytes, or a giant smoothie.
– Try a mocktail. A bartender can make a lovely mocktail if you tell them what flavor notes you enjoy or how sweet you’d like it to be. There are also so many versions you can purchase at grocery stores and online options for alcohol-free wine and spirits (even though I have yet to try any of these).
– Drink half. Instead of having a full glass, try drinking half instead. I’ll order wine sometimes when we go to restaurants, and will only drink a third or so of it (and know it doesn’t go to waste because the Pilot will finish it instead of having a second drink).
– Reduce intake over time. Like with anything, full deprivation can backfire and lead to overindulgence later. It was helpful for me to be mindful and gradually reduce my intake. I decreased the days I had alcohol each week until eventually I got down to 1-2. Now when I have it, I make sure to take my time and enjoy it.
So tell me, friends: how often do you drink alcohol? What’s your very favorite drink?
Hope you have a wonderful morning and I’ll see ya tomorrow with a recipe!