Can alcohol be part of a healthy lifestyle?
I’ve struggled with this question for a long time, and have bounced back and forth between complete restriction and mindless indulgence. I used to think that living a healthy lifestyle encompassed zero carbs, perfectly planned meals, and a strict bedtime of 9pm. The more I learn and experience, the more I realize that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Restriction of any form leads to burnout, frustration and almost always overindulgence. When we restrict ourselves from anything, be it that slice of pizza, a late night, or a missed workout most of us go overboard when we finally DO spoil ourselves with that forbidden thing. That’s not to say that everyone craves alcohol. If it’s not part of YOUR version of health then don’t drink, and that’s ok. But if you’re restricting yourself because you don’t want to miss that 7am workout or you’re scared it’ll expand your waistband then you’re likely depriving yourself of a potential slice of joy in life. When consumed in moderation, alcohol actually does offer health benefits. Some of the healthiest and longest lived communities in the world consume alcohol on a regular basis.
I’ve missed lots of workouts, stayed up until 4am a few too many times, and oftentimes choose pizza over salad after a night of drinking. I’ve lived to tell about it, and am actually a much happier human because of it.
You’re not going to look back and remember how many carbs you consumed in a day, or how “bloated” you looked in your outfit that one night. But you will remember the excitement you felt getting ready on a Saturday night, how AMAZING pizza tastes at 2am, and the pure joy of making lifelong memories with your best friends.
Some tips for drinking healthfully:
- Be MINDFUL of what you’re drinking. Not all alcohol is created equal and some drinks will leave you feeling worse the next day than others. A drink full of sugar, syrups and additives, for example will probably contribute to a worse hangover than if you were to drink a few vodka waters.
- Hydrate effectively!!!! This is probably the most important tip when it comes to drinking and staying healthy. Being dehydrated at any point in time doesn’t feel good, and when you add alcohol to the mix it’s even worse. Drink a few glasses of water before you go to bed and another one first thing in the morning.
- Take advantage of supplements. I am not a huge proponent of taking a multitude of supplements on a daily basis but they can be extremely useful at the right times. After a night of drinking your body will thank you if you replenish lost nutrients. Liquid IV, Oops I did it again, and GEM daily essentials are a few with extremely good reviews.
- REST. Sometimes it’s better to hit the sheets instead of the gym the day after a long night out. This is extremely individual and depends on the person but oftentimes a nap helps tremendously, sleep is one of the absolute best things we can do for our bodies.
- Sweat it out. If you’re feeling up to it go for a run, take a hot yoga class, or sit in the sauna for a while. Sweating always feels SO good and helps to cleanse the body of toxins and boost endorphins.
Always always always prioritize your body and it’s unique needs.