13 tips to help you cut back on alcohol

Starting to resemble Kristin Wigg and her portrayal of a intoxicated mischief maker in Bridesmaids? Read on to remedy ...

Starting to resemble Kristin Wigg and her portrayal of a intoxicated mischief maker in Bridesmaids? Read on to remedy your behaviour.

There's no doubt that alcohol can wreak havoc on our health. However, it's often how we drink the booze that's problematic.
 
If you're keen to cut back on the alcohol, rid yourself of hangovers and reclaim your weekends here's a list of quirky tricks to reduce your intake while still having a social life.

1. Remove booze from the grocery list
Studies show that the choice of glass and the colour of alcohol can make a big difference to how much we drink.
Supplied

Studies show that the choice of glass and the colour of alcohol can make a big difference to how much we drink.

 
While a bottle of Pinot or a dozen Heineken is very much an essential amidst a frantic grocery shop with grizzly, inpatient toddlers, there's no need for you to grab a bottle (or two) 'just in case'.

Keep any alcohol purchases specific to their (necessary) purchase. If it ain't in the house there's less chance you'll go and pour a glass due to habit.

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* What I learned by not drinking for two years
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Red wine poured into a glass sitting on a flat surface should  reduce the pour level significantly, allowing you to pace ...
123RF

Red wine poured into a glass sitting on a flat surface should reduce the pour level significantly, allowing you to pace yourself.

 
 
2. Be the king of excuses

While we don't promote outright lying, a little white one for the sake of your liver is very much okay.

How about "I'm on antibiotics", or "I've got a big meeting at 9 in the morning ... yes, I know, on a Sunday". Otherwise something like "I don't want to drink, I've got a mouth ulcer" could seem relatively original, but be mindful of your audience as it'll substantially stoop your chances of evening romance.

3. Choose a slim vessel

A study by researchers at Iowa State and Cornell Universities published in the International Journal of Drug Policy confirmed that wider glasses caused people to pour nearly 12 per cent more than narrow glasses.

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It's the same phenomenon that leads people to heap more food onto a big plate than a small one.

4. Pour on a flat surface

By pouring alcohol into a glass that is sitting on a flat surface results in a serving volume of 12.2 per cent less than if the alcohol was poured into a hand-held glass. 

5. Choose dark-coloured drinks

Red wine and dark spirit lovers rejoice, for those who drink dark-hued beverages are more likely to consume less per glass without even knowing it.

Participants in the Iowa study were found to pour 9.2 per cent less red wine than white.

The researchers put this down to a fairly logical answer - the minimal colour contrast between white liquid and a clear glass makes the glass look less full, and therefore we unwillingly pour more.

6. Find somewhere less rowdy

Psychologist Sara Chatwin of Mindworks suggests choosing a quieter setting to have a drink.

We don't mean the library, but perhaps somewhere with a chilled out atmosphere with no music or something with a soft, slow beat.

Studies show that loud music in bars make women in particular prone to drinking.

"Drinking environments that are noisy and highly stimulating will encourage people to drink with more haste and in greater quantities," says Chatwin. "Because we have to compete to be heard and to interact."

7. Be a morning person 

"Socialise in the morning," says Chatwin. "Plan activities that don't require alcohol and that perhaps occur a time of day that doesn't encourage drinking."

8. Show up late

The gang may want a 4pm start, but your liver is already screaming 'help'.

For long-winded events or nights out say you'll be there but cannot make it until later - you can still have a good time and the bonus is by then everyone else won't even notice that you're sober. 

9. Have a woman pour your drink

No sexism here, just fact. Research has shown that blokes are far more heavy-handed, about 9 per cent more so, when it comes to pouring a glass of anything than women are. For even more control, pour it yourself.

10. Make it rocky

Yes, adding plenty of ice to your drink will dilute the alcohol, but it's a great way to prolong your social stamina, hydrate you more, lessen effects of hangovers, and keep you and your cocktail cool. 

Do not try this with red wine - unless you're one of those types who like to store reds in the fridge.

11. Be app-ountable
 
There's an app for everything - including keeping your drinking in check.
 
For a bit of accountability, drink trackers and blood alcohol checkers can be found on the app store. 

From our quick search, the 'tipple' app seemed to look the most user-friendly and be more of a fun challenge than just a chore.
 
12. Sip don't scull   
 
Just slow down already. Sipping your drink, rather than gulping it down like you haven't had fluid in weeks, is a good way to limit your overall consumption.
 
13. A 'no' brainer
 
Not a trick per say, but perhaps an timely reality check: "Man up and don't be ashamed or worried to say 'no thanks' to alcohol," says Chatwin.
 
It's your reasoning, your body, and your prerogative to not have to answer to anyone else. 
 
If you have a serious alcohol problem then please seek expert help via the Alcohol and Drug Helpline (0800 787 797). 
 
 
 
 
 

 - Stuff

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