November 30, 2020

Slimdown Wellness Challenge | Alcohol and Your Health

General Health

Hello everyone! We’re already to week 3 of the Slimdown Challenge—as with the rest of the year, time is FLYIN’! Remember, all health changes take time and it doesn’t happen overnight. Continue to work towards your goals, and don’t allow frustrations to get in the way—but rather make a plan to power through!

Alrighty…into week 3’s topic: Alcohol & Your Health. Whenever I write my blogs, I always like to have a little bit of fun, make a few jokes and for those who know me, can probably imagine me giggling to myself during portions of the time that I’m writing. Certain topics though, this one included, is something I do take seriously and want to be respectful of all who are reading.

We are totally in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season—we just celebrated Thanksgiving, and we are full-steam ahead to the other December celebrations which may look differently this year for you and your family. The things that may look differently:

  • Fewer family parties/gatherings
  • Less people at parties/gatherings
  • More social distancing/mask-wearing at parties/gatherings
  • Celebrating virtually with Zoom, Facetime or Skype
  • Psst! I’m just going to sneak in the CDC Holiday Celebration/Gathering Guide right here

However, there will likely be some similarities with the holidays this year, as compared to other years. Those things include:

  • Good food/snacks—even if celebrating virtually or in a smaller setting
  • Hallmark Movies and the classics
  • Gift giving
  • Decorating (and hopefully LOTS of it…and glitter)
  • Lots of love, laughs, creativity and connecting with family
  • Opportunities for alcohol consumption (I’m fighting the urge to make a crack about ‘surviving’ the in-laws–because I legitimately have the best ones on this planet so this is not about me!!)

The holidays are a reason to celebrate, and many times celebrations mean alcohol…and lots of it. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, and there are a few tips and tricks to enjoy your alcohol while staying safe and keeping your health in mind.

The CDC recommends the daily amount of alcohol consumption to be:

  • MEN: 2 Drinks
  • WOMEN: 1 Drink

When you read “1 drink or 2”…how does that make you feel? Do you ask yourself “well how big are the drinks” or do you feel guilty about drinking more than the recommended amount daily? Maybe you didn’t know that there was a recommended amount per day—and I’m not here to judge, or make anyone feel bad, but rather to bring an educational component about the risks and opportunities for you to sip smarter.

Consuming alcohol, in any amount, does have various risks that should be taken seriously. These risks can include injuries (falls, burns, drownings), health problems (issues managing diabetes, weight, high blood pressure, sleep disorders), and mental health concerns (depression, anxiety).

All of the alcohol risks are scary and should certainly be thought about, but for the purpose of this blog and the Slimdown Challenge…we’re talking weight loss and maintenance, so let’s get into the nitty gritty about alcohol, calories, decision making and SIPPING SMARTER!

Alcohol is not a “free food”—it still contains calories, which if you have a few drinks…those calories can really pack a punch, and that’s not including the mixers to go with! By making changes with “sipping smarter”, you can still enjoy an occasional beverage while keeping track with your health goals.

  • Drink water between alcohol drinks
    • If you are planning to have more than 1 or 2 drinks, having water in-between will help slow down your consumption, and it will also help to keep you hydrated which can help to prevent a headache the next day.
    • Having water in-between drinks can also help keep your hands and mouth occupied, and may help you to stay within the limit you set for yourself.
  • Mix Smarter/Lighter options
    • As mentioned earlier, alcohol is not calorie free…and if you add a high sugar/high calorie mixer, it’s a double punch! Lower calorie mixers can help you keep calories and sugar down, and suggestions include diet soda, tonic/seltzer water, and fruit (citrus wedges come to mind) for tasty and healthier mixes.
    • Many “fun” and ‘fru fru’ drinks, while delicious and has a “takes-you-immediately-to-the-beach” vibe, are super-packed with calories and sugar. Opt for checking labels and choosing brands or other alcoholic options with less sugar and calories….or go for the small glass instead of the ‘vacation’ size.
    • Light beer will have less calories than regular, and there are now many ‘lightened up’ options for popular brands of beverages. Hard seltzers are all the rage now, and are low on calories, carbs and sugars, and may be a better option for you.
  • Focus on family/conversation
    • While alcohol is part of many holiday celebrations, shift your focus to be more about your family, the conversations, and the things you grateful for…even if the holidays look different this year.
    • If you are going virtual this year, be creative with activities that can be done ‘together’ such as cooking, eating a meal, playing a game or just catching up.
  • Set a limit
    • Enjoy your alcoholic beverage(s), but also be mindful of what your wellness goals are, and how alcohol can set you back with calories, and other decision-making. Make a decision and stand firm on how much you are indulging and stick with it.
    • If you are traveling, absolutely make sure you have a Designated Driver if you are consuming alcohol above the recommended amount. Don’t let this holiday turn into a tragedy!

There’s nothing wrong with indulging a bit over the holidays, but it’s important to remember that alcohol carries many different health risks and may not be the best option for you with your health goals. By making smarter choices, you can remain healthy over the holidays and stick with your wellness plan!



Alcohol during the holidays: 4 ways to sip smarter by Jason S. Ewoldt.
Accessed 10/8/2020

Rethinking Drinking, Alcohol & your health.
Accessed 10/8/2020