6 Ways To Reduce Your Alcohol Intake During Quarantine

Do you find yourself ending your day with a night cap far more than usual? Are you finding it difficult to refrain from drinking an entire bottle of wine on the regular?

Know you’re not alone.

Throughout quarantine, liquor store sales have increased by 75%! I think it’s fair to say that most of us are feeling similarly and are either using alcohol as a way to unwind, deal with stress or socialize over the interwebs.

For whatever reason it is that you drink alcohol, we know one thing for sure- it leaves you feeling less than optimal when drunk in excess.

Even one alcoholic beverage can disrupt your REM sleep, the deep sleep that is essential to feel rested and rejuvenated. If that isn’t enough, not getting enough quality sleep also impacts your appetite and fat storage hormones, namely, leptin (the hormone that makes you feel full), ghrelin (the hormone that makes you feel hungry) and insulin (the hormone that shuttles glucose to your cells so that you can use it as energy).

With an increase in hunger (increase in ghrelin), decrease in fullness (decrease in leptin) and decreased ability for your body to shuttle fuel to it’s cells (increased insulin resistance), we are now in a vulnerable state of fat storage which detracts from our goals and ultimately our sense of control and confidence.

It’s also no surprise that alcohol is a depressant. Meaning that, on top of you feeling exhausted and insatiably hungry for sugar, your feelings of sadness or decreased motivation will be amplified after a night of drinking.

While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink or two here and there, it could pose a problem if it is used as a crutch during times of stress and heightened anxiety. While I am no expert on sobriety, I am an expert in helping people reclaim their power and refocus on what is important to them.

If you’ve been falling victim to our current circumstances more than you’d like to admit and worrying too much about things that are out of your control, know that WE have a choice. Our choice can either leave us feeling EMPOWERED, calm, and hopeful or VICTIMIZED, anxious and defeated.

I’ve written the below tips that have helped myself and my clients manage our alcohol consumption over the years. It doesn’t come easy and it’s going to be uncomfortable more times than not, but this is NORMAL and encouraged. Our brain is literally trying to establish new habits by creating new neural pathways that can start firing more often and become more deeply engrained in our brains. We need to embrace the discomfort and follow through with repetitive and consistent actions. Nothing worth having comes easy and nothing that comes easy is worth having. Welcome the discomfort and welcome your growth by practicing the below strategies:

1. Drink water in between alcoholic beverages to prolong your experience and reduce your over-all intake and any chance or hangover.

2. Choose lower caloric beverages such as spirits, light beer or dry wines rather than the denser alternatives such as craft beer, mixed cocktails or creamy liquors like baileys.

3. Use low calorie mixers such as diet soda sparkling or flavored water or even add sparking water to your wine to dilute the serving (spritzer anyone?).

4. Break the habit loop by replacing the alcoholic beverage with something else that is novelty to you. For me that is Kombucha. I intentionally don’t allow myself to drink it every day so that when I do, it’s a nice treat that I thoroughly enjoy. Yours could be tea, warm or iced, flavored water, a mocktail, CBD beverage, anything that you would be excited to drink that could replace your initial cue.

5. Self care!! Let’s face it, most of the time we reach for that glass while we’re feeling stressed, anxious or exhausted. Give yourself 5 seconds of deep breathing and really ask yourself whether that glass of wine is going to serve what you need right now. Take a long warm shower, a bubble bath, bundle up in bed with your favorite book and a cup of tea, or give someone a biiiigggg lonnnngggg hug. If you’re still feeling the itch, then go ahead and have it, chances are, you’ll control your intake much better after not reacting out of impulse.

6. Ask yourself why the alcohol is serving you and find a more constructive way to fill that void. Talk to a friend or family member, try some yoga, meditation or journaling. If all of that is too woo woo for you than it might have to be therapy. There’s no shame in that, it’s empowering and liberating to know that you’re using alcohol as a crutch and to figure out why that might be. More power to you and your future!

Lastly, from a body composition perspective, because we are a health and fitness company after-all….I wish that alcohol calories could be interchangeable as a calorie for a calorie… I would be replacing fruit with wine alllllll day long. Unfortunately this isn’t the case as alcohol metabolizes differently than any other macronutrient. It creates havoc in our liver, our gut, our brain, our hormones and metabolizes so rapidly that it can store as body quiet quickly (if one is not in a caloric deficit).

Drink responsibly folks and don’t lose sight of your priorities throughout the rest of the quarantine hocus pocus.

Have a fabulous weekend folks!!