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How can I avoid drinking too much during the holidays?

Neal Spruce
Neal Spruce on behalf of dotFIT
Fitness
To avoid drinking too much, you must plan, record, dilute, pace, eat, leave, and remember (see the tips below). Also, avoid a few of the functions where you know everyone will be drinking more than usual, or make yourself the designated driver. Most importantly, you need a plan; otherwise, you will end up doing what's expected. Plan to pace yourself and choose drinks that are low in alcohol but high in total fluid. This allows you to drink with everyone else, still experience the feeling alcohol is noted for, all the while dramatically reducing your alcohol consumption and waking up feeling fresh the next day.

I like to plan an early event the day after a party. It may be as simple as getting up for an early walk or workout with a friend (so I have to be there) or actually attending a function where I need to be fresh and not have a hangover. This gives you an excuse for why you're not overindulging.

Here are some tips for reducing alcohol consumption at an event:
  • Plan: Set your goal by writing down how many drinks you will have, their contents (see "dilute" below), when you will stop consuming alcohol and when you plan to leave the function. For example: two to three distilled alcoholic drinks, two to four glasses of wine, or three to five 12-oz. beers would be a sensible maximum (the lower range for women or if you are attending a short event) spread over a four- to eight-hour period.
  • Record your drinks as you pour (on your phone, PDA or note pad).
  • Dilute your alcoholic beverage with large amounts of fluids; for example, have wine/champagne spritzers, distilled alcohol mixed in large glasses of sodas/juices (preferably diet) like a vodka grapefruit, rum or bourbon and Diet Coke, etc.
  • Pace your drinking by also having non-alcoholic drinks (diet soda with lemon or lime, or regular soda, etc.) in between your alcoholic ones as these drinks look the same. Also, if you start with hard alcohol, finish with a wine spritzer, but stay within your set limit.
  • Eat before and during the event because it often reduces the urge for alcohol.
  • Leave according to your plan and remind yourself that you want to feel fresh in the morning.
  • Remember: Write down the downside of too much alcohol -- it leads to weight gain and causes you to be less than productive and not feel well the following day. Excessive alcohol can lead to foolishness that may be dangerous to others, which you’re likely to regret. Rather than regret, enjoy the holidays.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.