It will not have escaped the attention of any of our readers that those interested in health and wellbeing are heavily promoting the idea of reducing alcohol consumption. Whether this leads to an increase in the amount of time available in the day or helps with productivity on the following day, it is widely accepted that cutting down on alcohol can have more than just health benefits.
In this feature, we focus on cutting down on alcohol consumption, together with techniques to encourage responsible drinking that will minimise the impact on health and productivity.
1. Track Your Drinking
Major medical organisations all contribute their own ideas regarding what constitutes reasonable levels of alcohol consumption. This is generally expressed as units, so people that are watching what they drink can apply it to beer, wine, spirits and anything else that takes their fancy. As frequent drinkers will appreciate, keeping track using memory alone can be a tricky task, and among the first steps that can be taken to moderate consumption is effectively tracking what is drunk and when. This could involve taking notes with a pen and paper or using a simple phone app.
2. Identify and Modify Personal Habits
Everyone is different, and if you are actively seeking out tips to reduce alcohol consumption, then the chances are that you are willing to make some modifications to your behaviour. If you drink every day, a quick and easy change that will reduce this consumption would be to allocate 2 or 3 days each week where no alcohol is to be drunk. Similarly, those that find themselves drinking alone or in response to stressful situations can make a concerted effort to avoid doing so.
3. Eating is not Cheating
Many diet plans advise that thirst can often be mistaken for hunger, and in cases where alcohol is readily available, this can lead to drinking when not necessary. In that regard, it is sensible to try eating before drinking. In other scenarios, it is good practice in general as a full stomach will slow the absorption of alcohol, thereby reducing any effects that result from it.
4. Keep Water and Soft Drinks to Hand
As noted, anyone that is thirsty may turn to a beer or other alcoholic drink to quench their thirst depending on the ease of access. In addition to this, it is simple but highly effective to space out alcoholic drinks with softer options, both to reduce the effects and the overall amount consumed.
5. Take it Slow
It can be tempting to drink as much as possible, as quickly as possible, especially if the end goal is to gain a buzz or to get drunk. However, those that keep at the back of their mind whether they are potentially drinking faster than they would drink water or anything else should take steps to put the brakes on themselves, such as putting the drink down between each sip.
6. Take Extended Breaks
Some readers will have noticed the increasing popularity of sober periods, often lasting a month. They have been designed to encourage people to drink less by showing them just how much more they get done when they choose not to drink. Joining in with such an event is never a bad idea, but even if they are not suitable, anyone seeking to cut down should be able to identify a week, month or even longer where there will be no ‘need’ for a drink, and to cut it out completely for that time.
7. Try Lower-Alcohol Alternatives to Your Favourite Drinks
There are few better ways to reduce alcohol consumption than to literally cut down on how much alcohol is found in your beverage of choice. Switching out a regular beer for a low or no-alcohol version can help and switching cocktail ingredients to remove the alcohol without any major effect on the flavour are thoroughly viable strategies.
8. Pace Yourself in Social Situations
Rarely is it more tempting to distract from your own progress than when around others that drink heavily. When implementing the other tips found here, there is nothing wrong with opting out of a system of rounds or doing something similar to ensure that your own efforts remain on track.
9. Don’t Be Tempted by Salty Snacks
There is a reason why nuts, crisps and other salty foods are so easily obtainable at bars and pubs. Salt increases thirst and eating such snacks will encourage even the most responsible drinkers to consume more than they ideally should. Most venues will have alternatives, and they will be superior for anyone seeking moderation.
10. Do Something Else
Those that do find themselves drinking alone or when stressed can usually consider boredom as a contributing factor. In dumbing down their senses, it can feel like an escape. In the home, hobbies, chores or anything else can distract from your goals. Even when out in a social setting, dancing, games and other distractions will easily override the desire to drink more.