Are you drinking too much?
But in a country where alcoholism pretty much goes unchecked, someone has to say it. We drink way too much!
I know some people that can get home from work and drink at least half a bottle of whiskey alone, more than four times a week, and do not see this as a problem.
Don’t even get me started on beer. Killing time at the end of a working day by stopping off at your local watering hole for a beer or five is not doing your body any favours, and I’m sure your gut reminds you daily.
There really needs to be much more awareness created, more campaigns, not just on the dangers of drink-driving but on just drinking.
No, being a weekend drinker is no better.
However, it’s never too late to offset a toxic lifestyle.
Take a cold, hard look at the past 10 years, if you’ve spent much of that time boozing then your body is due some attention.
A sustained barrage of ‘live for the moment’ hedonism can often lead to the equivalent volume of pain later in life.
If you’re not sure this applies to you, take your pick from the following symptoms:
-You have more drinking buddies than regular friends.
-You’re the last to leave a party and the first to suggest it continues to the next bar or club.
-Your weight has steadily increased over the years.
-You find yourself breathless during light exercise
-You have at least two back-up bars ready whenever you’re out.
-You absolutely must have a drink after work, or even during your lunch break.
-You have developed bags under your eyes.
Hangovers are very misleading. They make us think our punishment is finished 24 hours after we call time on our boozing. But the real damage is insidious.
The more you drink, the more your blood pressure goes up, this dramatically raises your chances of a heart attack later in life.
Then there are the calories. Weight gain as a result of sustained drinking increases your risk of cardiomyopathy, where the heart gets so weak it struggles to pump blood around your body.
Your liver is also eroded by drink.
Excess alcohol leads to an accumulation of fat that raises your risk of liver disease.
Your head takes a beating too. Heavy drinkers prematurely age their brains by 5-10 years.
The upside to all this? It’s reversible if you catch it by middle age.
Breaking the habit
Rather than turning teetotal, aim to have two to three days alcohol-free per week, this is in line with advice from The Royal College of Physicians.
Think of the money you’ll save. At work, fuel your body with cups of coffee.
Research has shown this to offset liver damage from alcohol by 80%. Then cycle your way to recovery – cycling just 20 miles a week cuts your heart disease risk in half.
If cycling isn’t your thing, there are countless other exercises you can do…just do something.
Back this effect up in the kitchen, with vitamin B-rich veggies such as broccoli.
People with a high fruit and veg intake have low homocysteine levels, this amino acid is a good indicator of cardiovascular risk.
*Reducing the amount you drink improves your breathing during sleep for better quality rest.
*Research shows that when you cut your alcohol intake after years of heavy drinking, your brain tissue begins to repair itself.
*By reducing your blood pressure and accumulation of fat on internal organs, you can lower the long-term risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
You’ll also more than half your risk of liver cirrhosis.
*You can dramatically reduce your body-fat percentage.
*Binge drinking reduces testosterone in your testes.
Cut it out and your sex drive will rocket, your partner will thank you.
Alcohol is full of empty calories- No nutritional value. It does absolutely nothing for your well-being.
The sugar and carbs from alcohol are usually saved in the stomach area, hence the beer belly and that’s not pretty.
Non-alcoholic alternatives are just as bad as they tend to have sugar added to it. Here is a short guide:
Red wine (13% alcoholic volume) – 1 standard 175ml glass – 119 calories.
White wine (13% alcoholic volume) -1 standard 175ml glass -130 calories
Rose wine (13% alcoholic volume) -1 standard 175ml glass – 124 calories
Champagne – 1 full glass – 95 calories.
Gulder per bottle: 330 calories
Guinness: 325ml- 142 calories
Heineken-440ml can- 154 calories
Light spirit (gin, vodka etc) -1 shot: 65 calories
With energy drink- 118 calories
Dark spirit (whiskey, brandy) – 1 shot 65 calories
With energy drink – 112 calories
Mixers – Smirnoff ice – 427 calories
Pina colada – alcoholic – 644calories
Bloody Mary – Alcoholic – 116calories
Long island iced tea- 780 calories
In my option, drinking is the trickiest part of a healthy lifestyle especially if you like to have a drink now and again like me.
Now that you know what’s in your glass, you have to be mindful of what and how much you are drinking.