It seems like I’ve battled with my weight for most of my adult life. I remember looking at my “skinny” friends and wondering why they could eat chips and cookies and cake and not gain weight. So I started watching what they did…. They weren’t concerned with how much they ate – they just ate what they wanted. They didn’t eat salad, carrot sticks, cottage cheese, poached chicken breasts and a grapefruit BEFORE they finally ate the “fattening” food – they just ate it. I don’t think they ever felt deprived, but they stopped when they were full of whatever it was that they wanted. They didn’t binge on a whole cake – most of the time, they barely finished the serving they had. So I started trying to “eat in moderation,” including eating “fattening food,” but keeping the portions reasonable.
I also noticed that they didn’t seem to eat “emotionally.” When they felt mad, sad, frustrated, etc., they did other things besides eat…including crying or screaming. When I felt sad, scared, lonely or bored, I ate…and then I felt worse about myself…and so I ate more!
The same principle holds true for controlled drinking. Have you ever watched a “social drinker?” It seems like it takes them forever to drink 1 or 2 drinks. They don’t seem to be focused on the beverage or the buzz, but rather everything else that is going. Not to say that they never over indulge, but when they do they just wake up the next day with a hangover and say, “I think I drank too much last night,” not, “oh gosh, I’ve got to quit drinking.” I don’t think social drinkers even think about drinking or alcohol very much at all. But for alcohol abusers, drinking consumes most of our thoughts. The more we think about not drinking, the more we drink.
So what does moderate drinking involve?
1) Determine what a healthy amount of alcohol is for you and stick to that plan (see “How Much Alcohol is Too Much?”)
2) Use MODER8 or other dietary supplements, such as 5-HTP, to help you stick to your plan.
3) Come up with things you like to do for fun, pleasure or relaxation besides drinking (see “Things to do Instead of Drink.”)
4) Don’t use alcohol to medicate, escape, numb, etc. Learn how to deal with the issues (see “No Pain, No Gain.”)
5) Begin to change your habits (see “Breaking the Habit Cycle”). Initially, use MODER8 and non-alcoholic substitutes such as herb tea, sparkling water, diet drinks or even non-alcoholic beer to take the place of some of your usual alcohol consumption.
6) The more alcohol-free days you have, the more you learn how to deal with life without drinking to cope. It also helps to reduce your tolerance for alcohol, and you’re satisfied with fewer drinks, plus it changes the way you think. Alcohol adds to our problems by causing us to think more paranoid or negative thoughts or becoming more depressed.
7) Change the way you think about alcoholism. We are taught that it is a progressive, genetic disease in which we are stuck. It simply has never been proven scientifically and I’m here to tell you that you can reverse your drinking pattern – it’s a matter of wanting too badly enough for YOU, and learning HOW to drink controllably.
8) Get rid of the labels – if you call yourself an alcoholic, a “beer alcoholic” or a “wine alcoholic,” etc., then you will think more negatively about yourself and you will continue to act the way you see yourself.
9) Eventually, learn to think of alcohol differently – instead of focusing on drinking, focus on your life, your goals and the reality that every now and then, you have a glass of wine or a cocktail.
10) Practice – it doesn’t happen overnight, but pay attention to what works and continue to do more of that!
11) DON’T panic, beat yourself up or give up if you drink more that you planned…just keep working on making the positive changes, and eventually you will feel the confidence of knowing that YOU are in control.