5 Tips to Enjoy Alcohol Without Compromising Your Health Goals

Alicia Kaluza, MS, RD, LN, Take Control Health Coach

Our culture can be very alcohol-centric, each season, occasion, and event seems to include drinking. You’ve made the commitment to yourself to get healthy, and reducing alcohol intake can play a large part in your success. Can you drink alcohol and still hit your goals? The answer is yes, but with some strategies.

Alcohol consumption impacts more than just the calories consumed when you drink. It also interrupts sleep, and can cause an increase in your triglycerides due to the extra sugar in many beverages. The lack of quality sleep over time may also lead to other issues, such as hormone imbalances and increased inflammation. Both of which can make reaching your weight loss and heart health goals much more challenging.

Try these five tips to reduce alcohol consumption and succeed in your goals:

  1. Be selective. This is true of most things in life. Just because something is available doesn’t mean we need it. Assess what is available, look at your options, and choose a beverage that is actually enjoyable.
  2. Have a plan. If you have several events, invites, or social hours planned, think ahead about how you want to handle them. Try making a goal to limit yourself to 1-2 beverages a night. Or choose 1-2 nights a week of outings where you will enjoy a beverage versus drinking multiples nights of the week.
  3. Skip the sugary cocktails. Opt for seltzer and simple liquor like vodka. Adding a squeeze of lime or lemon can make it a little more fun. In the summer months throw frozen berries in your beverage in place of ice.
  4. Load up on water! Alcohol is not hydrating, so adding water to the rotation will not only help hydrate you, but also help you pace your alcohol consumption. Aim to have a glass of water between beverages.
  5. Overall be honest with yourself. At the end of the day we may drink more or less than we realize, so paying more attention can be a great first step to acknowledging just how much of an impact alcohol may have on your health and your daily life.

If you are struggling with weight loss or improving your heart health, cutting back or cutting out alcohol may be a great option. But you also have the choice to look at the overall impact and make an adjustment that better fits your interests. At the end of the day, you can absolutely enjoy your favorite beverage, but do it with awareness.