Tell everyone ... and six other tips to help you drink less
Find a non-booze buddy, buy a spirit measure, and persist through the withdrawal pangs
Alcohol dehydrates the skin, causes your face to look bloated and puffy, and some believe the toxins in alcohol contribute to cellulite. Photograph: iStock
1) Find a solid reason for drinking less
Most of us know that alcohol is related to health problems, including liver disease, diabetes and heart disease, but we tend to assume they won’t affect us. So, if those risks don’t persuade you to stop, find something that will – such as the effect of booze on your face and bottom: alcohol dehydrates the skin, causes your face to look bloated and puffy, and some believe the toxins in alcohol contribute to cellulite. A pint of beer can contain the same amount of calories as a slice of pizza, so if you want to lose weight, start there.
2) Think about why you drink so much
Maybe you are relying too much on alcohol because of an underlying problem that you are not facing. Cutting back gives you a chance to see how much you are depending on the booze, and how much better you feel without it.
3) Find someone to do it with you
Your efforts can feel doomed if you are the only one at the party who is not drinking. Talking to someone else about your plans to cut down or stop drinking altogether – or, better still, getting them to join you – will help you stick to your plans. And tell everyone on Twitter, if you must.
4) Avoid temptation
Spend as much time as you can exercising when you would ordinarily be drinking – you will soon realise how much booze affects your body when you discover what it is capable of without it. If you are going out, why not offer to drive others home? You will be forced to stick to non-alcoholic drinks, everyone will love you and you will store up brownie points to cash in later.
5) Reward yourself
If the rewards of better sleep, increased energy, and looking slightly less rough are not enough to persuade you to stay the course, put aside the money you would spend on booze and use it to buy something you really want.
6) Tough it out
It is possible you might have psychological effects from giving up even semi-regular drinking: irritability, poor concentration, feeling shaky, bad dreams. Hang in there. If you keep going, things will improve.
7) Measure for measure
If you want to continue drinking but in moderation, this is a life-changer: buy a jigger spirit measure for single and double shots. You will soon realise those (admittedly delicious) gin and tonics you used to make at home were quadruples. – Guardian