Oh alcohol, we have had an interesting relationship.
At times you have been delicious, so good to me on that hot summery day. You have made me much more sociable, given me confidence to dance, and given me some awesome nights out.
Then there are those other times…
Not to mention the horrible hangovers and amount of money I have spent on achieving them!
Seeing as the drinking age is 18 in NZ, I have had many a years going out and getting hammered (not that I think it stopped many who live in a place where it is 20 or over). When I was in my first year of University I was really in a terrible, unhealthy state. I had my first boyfriend, could legally drink, and most of my closest friends had moved to different cities to study. I am very shy and didn’t make any new friends during this time, instead I hung out with my boyfriend and partied a lot. Every single Saturday night I would come home from work, start drinking, get really buzzed before I went anywhere and then just get drunk as a skunk. Come the early hours of the morning it was a trip to Burger King and then home to sleep it off. When I woke the next day it was more takeaways or cheese toasties, a shitload of orange juice, and a day of doing nothing but eating crap food. When I think about the amount of calories I was consuming, all of which came from sugar and alcohol, I am amazed that I wasn’t larger.
I joined a gym in my second year of University and got a little bit slimmer and ate much healthier. But for some reason I never clicked that alcohol may not be helping my weight loss mission. It wasn’t for many more years, until I was a post-grad student who had no time to drink and had to stay in always studying, that I realised how awesome it was waking up on a Sunday feeling good. I had more money (yay) and surprisingly enough, I was still having a really good time.
I read an article in The Press recently about the decision not to drink. What stuck out to me was the comment that when you don’t drink you have to explain yourself to people, much more then if you say didn’t eat meat. This made me think a lot about the social stigma for not drinking. Everytime I have gone out and decided not to drink I have gotten really weird looks and had to explain myself to everybody. Even when I am drinking, just pacing myself so I don’t have a hangover, people don’t seem to accept this as good enough. There have been times where I have actually lied to people and said something like ‘ohhh I had a huge one last weekend so need to take it easy,’ or ‘I have my grandparents visiting really early tomorrow so can’t be too hungover.’ How much does it suck that I feel like I have to do this!
Right now I drink, but nowhere near like I used to. In the past year I have focused on eating well and exercising, I feel like going out and writing myself off totally contradicts all of my hard work. I do go out and drink, but I have found that I can have a couple of drinks and have an even better night out. I am buzzed but in control and that’s how I like it. If you want to drink, that is totally cool with me and I wont judge you, but I am urging you not to judge me either.
If you want to cut back a bit, here are some things that have helped me…
– When people ask why you aren’t drinking, just be honest! At the end of the day they might look at you funny, but most of the time this is because they are jealous you have that willpower. Plus the next day (or later that night) they may be a little jealous of you.
– Remember how god damn fantastic you are just by being you. We don’t need alcohol to make friends and have fun, we went most of our lives without it. Yeah it can be hard to be really bubbly without the drink, but I say fuck it. Talk, make friends and chat to people. Not only does it show yourself, and others, that you can still have a good night, but you will probably have way better conversations then if you were hammered.
– Just dance. You will look way better dancing sober then if you were dancing drunk, that is a truth.
– Remind yourself why. I have moments when I go out and think ‘god damnit I just wanna get smashed.’ Then I remind myself how hard I have worked on my diet that week, how I wanted to go for a run tomorrow, or even just how bad I would feel in the morning. It helps.
The decision to drink should be one that you make for yourself, whether it be stopping all together or cutting down just a little. Either way it is your body which feels the effects and which you should be listening to. I say lets slip the social stigma on drinking and rock the weekends, moderation style!