I cannot begin to tell you how many conversations I have had about alcohol lately.
Friends, clients, and family are all coming to me with the same stories and the same problems. Tell me if you can relate...
They're working on their fitness goals, they're working to lose weight, or they're looking to just live a healthier lifestyle.
They're getting their workouts in, they're eating well, and they're getting decent sleep, but there's one problem.
Every single time they go out with their friends, they get pulled into downing 2, 3, 4 cocktails when they didn't really want more than one to begin with (if that).
And it isn't because of some terrible lack of will power. It's because alcohol has become such a deeply engrained part of our culture that they're ostracized if they limit (or God forbid, abstain from) their alcohol consumption.
Either they get teased and mocked into submission with comments like, "you're so much more fun when you're buzzed!"
Or they're given the 3rd degree about why they aren't drinking.
Or worse yet, they stop getting invited if they don't partake.
By the way, every one of these responses from others is just a projection of their own insecurities about drinking alone, or about not sticking to their weight loss goals, or about their inability to say no. So don't put any stock in their self-consciousness.
Also, I need you guys to understand. This. is. not. normal!! And it is not healthy!!
From both a physical and mental standpoint, this scenario that we are running into again and again is NOT ok. And unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) the only one who can stop it is you.
So if you've been toying with the idea of taking a break from drinking or at least limiting it significantly, here's how to confirm if you need to take that break, and how to empower yourself to do it.
If you feel like the only way that you're fun and outgoing is with some liquid courage, it's time to either re-evaluate yourself or your friends.
If it's your inner voice telling you this blatant lie, start doing some self-reflection to figure out where that belief comes from and do what I have my clients do...
Every time that thought threatens to affect your choices, replace it with 3 thoughts that affirm what an amazing person you are without booze in your system.
If it's your friends who are making you feel this way, you have 2 options.
1. Tell them how you feel. Yes, use this lesson from kindergarten and tell your friends when they hurt your feelings with these remarks.
2. Get new friends. Seriously, if they don't let up and they can't support you making healthier choices, those are not true friendships.
Remember, those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.
I don't need to tell you this is not a good coping mechanism for negative emotions. However bad you feel, even if you numb it briefly, alcohol is a depressant. It will make it worse in the long run.
Find better coping mechanisms like calling a friend to vent, journaling, taking a walk, or best yet, get an endorphin-producing workout!
If you just can't seem to control your impulses when it comes to drinking, or if every time you drink you find yourself drunk and hungover, it's time to slow down, take a step back, and re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol.
If you are trying to lose weight, feel more clear, be more productive, or increase your happiness on a daily basis, you really want to consider taking a booze break.
You'll be amazed at how your self-improvement goes from feeling like you're wading through the sand uphill, to breezily and briskly strolling towards your goals.
Some of you may be thinking, what if I just choose lower calorie drinks??
Truth be told, the calories and sugar are only small parts of the problem. Alcohol is a neurotoxin (it's why we get that drunk feeling).
And because your body processes alcohol as a toxin, it basically puts all other digestion on hold (read: stores undigested food as fat), because its primary concern is metabolizing the toxin out of your system.
This is straight up people-pleaser territory and it's a dangerous place to exist if you want to be the architect of your own life.
If this one describes you, I'm just going to send you straight to my free People-Pleaser Detox.
Yes! You are allowed to stop drinking for no other reason than you freaking feel like it! And if anyone gives you a hard time, you tell them exactly that!
Now, I am personally a proponent of do whatever the F you want (as long as you aren't harming someone else to do so), and don't you dare apologize for being authentically yourself.
However, I know it can be hard to stand up for yourself if you're out of practice, which is why I'm giving you three "outs" to help you limit your drinking without anyone being any the wiser.
At a bar: Order club soda in a short glass with lime while no one is paying attention. They'll never tell the difference.
At a party: Carry around a bottle or glass with you, and throughout the party pour some down the bathroom sink or outside in the grass.
Anywhere: In this case you aren't "stopping" drinking, but you're limiting it significantly. Be the sloooowwweeest driiiiiiinker eeeeeever. Nurse that single glass as long as is humanly possible.
1 Not-So-Discreet Way to Stop Drinking
Say NO! And if people are rude about it, you can come up with any number of perfectly reasonable responses:
"I'm not pressuring you to stop drinking. Please stop pressuring me to drink."
"I'm really trying to cut back and would honestly appreciate your support."
"Quit being a dick!"
"I appreciate your attentiveness, but I really don't want anything to drink. If I change my mind I'll let you know."
Finally, if you find yourself giving someone else crap for not drinking, seriously stop it.
You have no idea how hard it can be for some people to stand up for themselves no matter how badly they want to.
So while you may be laughing it off saying, "I'm just joking!" try putting yourself in their shoes and choose support instead of ridicule.
A huge part of this conversation about alcohol really circles back to peer-pressure and people pleasing.
So many of us waste so much time making decisions because of what other people want instead of sticking to our guns and carving our own way.
This cultural dilemma is why I created my free People-Pleaser Detox to begin with; to help women find the inner strength, confidence, and bravery to shape their lives according to their values, not according to other people's whims.
If you want to give it a go and see if it can help you live for you, click here to download it now.