Managing Social Drinking
One challenge to weight loss or weight management that our guests frequently bring up is pressure to drink at social gatherings. The pressure is either direct, with friends or family offering you a drink, or indirect when you feel tempted to drink while being around others who are drinking. It’s important to strategize how to handle these situations because calories associated with alcohol add up fast. Just one 4oz cocktail averages 175 calories and a 5oz glass of wine has 100 calories.
When trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, unmonitored social drinking is one of the fastest ways to get derailed. With that said, a good plan and a few tips allow you to enjoy time with friends without alcohol taking center stage.
- Before you go out, ask yourself how you want to feel when the afternoon or evening is over. Connect with your personal intentions. It creates an acknowledged expectation for yourself.
- Before going out, calculate the possible calories from the drinks you intend on having. That way, the numbers are in your head and drinking more than desired will require you to recalculate. It’s a simple mind trick that helps.
- In the event that someone offers you a drink, and you previously had decided to abstain or reached your limit, say “no thanks” without hesitation. Be simple and firm with your response. Don’t use long explanations that prolong the conversation because this often increases social pressure. Also, look people directly in the eyes when declining a drink.
- Have non-alcoholic drinks always in hand if you’re abstaining or as “drink spacers” between drinks if you want to limit the amount you drink.
- Keep track of every drink if you’re cutting back so you stay within your limits. Bring a food journal and write down each time you have a drink. This will force you to stay accountable.
- Ask for support from others to cope with temptation. Let them know that you are cutting back the alcohol for health reasons and you could use support in your efforts.
- Plan an escape if the temptation gets too great. Remember, your environment can be a powerful determining factor in your success. Sometimes, it’s necessary to change your environment to stay on track.
- Focus on the conversation at social events. Being an active listener takes effort and moves the emphasis of the evening away from alcohol consumption.
- If your social circle hosts a lot of alcohol-related events, suggest planning other events on occasion that do not involve alcohol.