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Drinking Healthier (Without Giving Up Alcohol!)

Alcohol can play an important role in a person’s social life and enjoyment of cuisine. However, it can also contribute to some seriously unhealthy lifestyle habits. How do you find a happy medium? Establishing the right form of moderation can often require having a scathingly honest conversation with oneself about the role alcohol plays in your life.

For most, limiting alcohol consumption can generally lead to improvements in physical and emotional wellbeing. If you’re not ready or willing to give up alcohol completely, taking an honest look at your relationship with alcohol can lead to lifestyle adjustments or new understandings – which can still bring some great benefits to your life!

Get to Know the Guidelines for Healthy Drinking Habits

The CDC has guidelines for alcohol consumption that can help you assess how healthy your habits are. According to the CDC, drinking in moderation means consuming an average of 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. The discrepancy stems from the average weight difference between women and men. A standard drink is defined by 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

Adopting a Sober Lifestyle Isn’t the Only Option for Improving Physical and Emotional Health

Drinking in moderation has become the general rule of thumb for establishing healthy habits when it comes to alcohol consumption. Drinking plays an important role in social life in most societies, making it a contributing factor for developing relationships and embracing community traditions. For this reason, giving up alcohol completely may not be the best option for your overall health and wellbeing.

However, it’s important to note that even small amounts of alcohol – even the amounts noted by the CDC – may have links to elevated risks of cancer, cardiovascular issues, violence, accidents, and other dangers. In any case, reducing the amount of alcohol you consume often comes with some distinct benefits – both physical and emotional.

A Mindful Drinker’s Checklist

If you want to assess your drinking habits, start by asking yourself these questions.

  • Do my drinking habits make me feel physically unwell? (examples: bloating, headache, nausea, lethargy, poor sleep habits) If so, take these warning signs as your body’s way of telling you to slow down and drink less.
  • Is drinking hurting my relationships? Pay attention to feedback from friends and family, as loved ones can offer a different perspective of your behavior and choices on a night out.
  • What role does drinking play in my social life? Some relationships might change when a person starts drinking less. If that’s the case, consider why. This self-reflection may lead you to deeper introspection, including questioning the nature of some relationships. True friends will support any lifestyle choice that’s good for your health!
  • Do I like the taste of beer/wine/cocktails? If you do enjoy the taste of alcoholic beverages and think of yourself as a connoisseur, consider trying non-alcoholic alternatives – many of which have been crafted to mimic the flavor of traditional lagers and cocktails.
  • Do I have the self-control to stop drinking if needed? If not, seek professional help and confront the deeper implications of keeping alcohol in your life.

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Dr. Candice Seti


California-licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified Nutrition Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer

Dr. Candice Seti

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