Alcohol - cutting back or cutting out?
The newswires were hopping over the last 10 days on the back of the Lancet Journal article on alcohol. The article was titled No Level Of Alcohol Improves Health and spoke to the reality of alcohol and our health. Don't panic my friends, I am not going to advocate a position of abstinence. I would just like us all to take a little time to think about our relationship with alcohol.
Key questions could be:
- How much do I drink?
- Who is in control: me or alcohol?
- Can I reduce my intake by 20%, 40% or even 60%?
- Can I stop and take a break for two weeks or a month?
If you feel like challenging yourself to change, then start by measuring your current alcohol consumption. Open a note in your phone and simply jot down the number of units you consume at the end of each day. At the end of the week you can see your total consumption. Once you know the number, set the target for reduction. Start the next week aiming to reduce your intake by your target percentage.
Continue to then monitor your alcohol consumption so you can compare the two. Measuring your results will keep you motivated.
Drinking alcohol is a major cause of cancer in the over-50s, particularly in women. Previous research has shown that one in 13 breast cancers in the UK were alcohol-related. The study found that globally, 27.1% of cancer deaths in women and 18.9% in men over 50 were linked to their drinking habits.
In addition, it will impact your mental health. If you are struggling with heightened stress, anxiety or depression you can be sure that alcohol is not helping. Please be especially cautious if you feel that a 'drink in the evening helps calm me down'. This is a sign of alcohol being used to medicate. There are many other holistic and safe ways to assist with stress and anxiety - feel free to email me if you need some pointers.