It is easy to overindulge in food and alcohol during the holidays. For some people the overindulging is a result of attending more parties at this time of year. For others, the overindulging may come as an attempt to self-medicate for the extra loneliness they may feel at this time of year, often after the loss of a loved-one. Overindulging in alcohol can have many negative effects. Below are some tips for keeping your alcohol consumption in moderation during the holidays.
Have a plan
Have a plan before you attend a party. Know your limits and stick to it. If your limit is two drinks, then make sure that you stick to your two drink limit for the entire party. If you know ahead of time before you ever set foot into the party what your drinking limit is, you will be more likely to stick it.
Know what constitutes one drink
According to the U.S. Department of Health, alcohol in moderation is one drink or less per day for women and two drinks or less per day for men. A drink is defined as one 12 ounce beer, one 5 ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 fluid ounces of spirits (80 proof).
Alternate with non-alcoholic beverages
One trick to help you limit your drinking is to follow an alcoholic beverage with a non-alcoholic beverage. For example if you finish a glass of wine at a party, instead of going for a second glass of wine, pour some sparkling water in your wine glass and sip on that for a bit.
Remember that alcohol has calories
Alcohol adds calories but little to no nutritional value to the diet. Excessive drinking can cause you to gain weight. Help prevent weight gain during the holidays by limiting alcohol.
Alcohol and pregnancy
Women should not drink alcohol at all during pregnancy. No safe levels of drinking have been established for pregnant women. Drinking during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). If you are pregnant, try a spritzer of half cranberry juice half sparkling water as your party cocktail.
If you plan to go out and drink, always have a responsible designated driver or make a plan ahead of time to use a cab or other public transportation.
Volunteer instead of alcohol
If you are lonely during the holidays, consider spending your time volunteering instead of drinking. You’ll meet new people while helping others at the same time.
Approximately 79,000 deaths in the U.S. every year are associated with drinking. Make a plan now to have a safe and happy holiday season.
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