“I’d like a cheeseburger, fries, and a cosmopolitan please!” Who here doesn’t love a good Carrie Bradshaw moment? We’ve all ordered like this before, and I’m sure would agree that it’s easy to beat ourselves up over cocktails (and cheeseburgers). The fear of extra calories may deter our decision to have a drink with girlfriends or go out to happy hour with coworkers. Or sometimes, drinking too much may lead to an overly strict diet or a workout for punishment the next day.
The reality is that life is so much more than perfect macros. Sometimes it’s just emotionally healthier to indulge, and experience life’s Carrie moments without restriction or regret. Learning to manage these moments with balance and moderation will allow you to order that next drink apologetically and confidently. How do you do this? I’ve listed a few ideas that work for me and just may work for you too. Give them a try. Stop saying no to happy hour and say yes to balance instead.
If you’re planning a night out, decide ahead of time how many drinks you feel comfortable consuming without regret. Remember your number and don’t go over it. Setting boundaries is easier said than done, but making a commitment to yourself ahead of arriving at the bar will help you avoid unwanted binges.
DON’T SKIP YOUR WORKOUT
In the words of Elle Woods, "Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy.” Getting in a quality workout prior to a night out, will help you feel happy and confident before you even walk into the bar. And you should be! You’re about to enjoy time with the people closest to you, and that time should be enjoyed. Working out will also put your mindset into perspective. You'll stay stronger in your commitment not to drink too much if you’ve already put in the work to exercise.
Once you’ve established your boundaries, it’s important to set a comfortable drinking pace. For example, if you choose to consume 2-3 drinks over the course of 4-5 hours, you wouldn’t want to guzzle them down in the first 60 minutes. Try drinking a glass of seltzer water in between each alcoholic beverage to keep your pace. If you add a lemon or lime to the glass, everyone will assume its vodka, no questions asked!
PREP WITH VITAMINS
Alcohol can deplete your body of necessary vitamins and minerals. Alcohol is also a known diuretic, meaning it can cause dehydration. Don’t forget to feed your body with proper nutrients before, during and after alcohol consumption. Vitamin C and B supplements are always a good idea.
THE CLEARER, THE BETTER
When you’re pouring (pun intended) over the drink menu, look for something vodka or gin based. By general rule of thumb, clear spirits are typically lighter in calories. Darker spirits, beer and red wine are heavier options that lend themselves to a stronger hangover.
AVOID SUGARY MIXERS
The 97 sugar free calories found in 1.5 oz. of distilled 80 proof vodka, as an example, can easily become muddled by sugary additives and fruit juices. If you’re able to handle it, drink your liquor on the rocks. It’s the least caloric option. However, if we’re all honest with ourselves, straight vodka doesn’t taste great. Soda water is a 0 calorie mixer, and my personal go-to. If you’re tired of soda water, ask the bartender for LaCroix or another 0 calorie flavored sparkling water instead. Try a slice of orange, sprig of mint, or basil leaves to switch things up. And, if you’re making that Cosmopolitan at home, choose sugar free alternatives for your ingredients, to provide that sweetened taste.
What do you do to drink healthier? Let us know in the comments section below!