‘Tis the season to be jolly — or tipsy, at the very least. That’s fine, but when your December schedule starts to fill up with parties, all that jolliness can feel like a joyless slog to January and the biggest holiday hangover of them all. But follow these 10 rules for healthy holiday drinking, and you’ll escape the festive season with your wits and abs intact. And check out the report that’s changed thousands of lives: 100 Ways to Live to 100!
Put pen to paper
Writing out intentions helps us be accountable to ourselves. It’s especially useful when embarking on a month-long bacchanal. Start by listing the reasons why drinking moderately will be a good idea: Better sleep, a trimmer waist, the ability to stay civil and charming with company, not feeling like ass the next morning. Review this note before you head out to a party, and you’ll be a better guest who has a better time, with fewer regrets the next morning.
Show up late
If you need to show your face but would rather not sacrifice your liver or dignity — or feel like garbage the next day — breeze in an hour late. Everyone will be one or two drinks ahead of you, and you’ll plant the idea that you’re even more popular than you are. At dinner beforehand, take a page from How Slim Men Eat Every Holiday Season!
Count to three
When pouring yourself a glass of wine, count 1-2-3 to improve your chances of ending up with a 5-ounce serving. Don’t make the rookie mistake of filling a glass halfway. For many glasses, this could be 10 ounces of wine. That turns a 125-calorie glass into a 250-calorie one.
Pour water on the situation
It happens almost immediately after you walk through the door: Someone puts a drink in your hand. This holiday season, head for the kitchen before you’ve been Shanghaied, pour yourself a pint of water and guzzle it down. Refill your glass and keep it in your hand when you mingle. Just having a glass of liquid in your hand should dampen the urge to pick up something stronger. For every alcoholic drink, sip a glass of water. Drinking more water is only one of these amazing 52 Super-Fast Health Fixes!
Set a drinking goal
Before you head out to make merry, set a limit on how much you’ll imbibe. If it helps, there are recommended guidelines on the matter: No more than one standard drink per day for men ages 65 and older, and no more than two standard drinks per day for men under 65. Tips 7 and 9 will help keep your total down.
Keep a booze diary
With holiday-party season in full swing, commit to keeping a drink diary and making an entry when you get home. This will give you a clearer idea of exactly what you’re putting in your system. Include information about what and how much you drank as well as where you were. Compare this to your goal (see above). Ideally, these numbers should match up. Those black-and-white numbers will help you keep those on the bathroom scale down. For more solid slim-down advice, check out these 6 Quick Ways to Lose Weight Fast!
Don’t fold to peer pressure
“You’re not drinking?” says a friend, relative or colleague with a tone that suggests this affects them in some meaningful way. It doesn’t. Or at least, it shouldn’t. Get ready to say no, albeit politely. You’re a big boy, and you know that don’t have to drink just because others are, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to accept every drink you’re offered.
Sip your drink. Try and keep it to one drink per hour at the most, and drink soda, water, or juice after having each and every alcoholic beverage. This should go without saying, but never drink on an empty stomach. Before you go out, fill up on these 25 Foods That’ll Keep You Young Forever!
Choose alcohol-free days
Even if you’re Mr. Popular, you probably won’t be heading to holiday parties every night. Look at your schedule and designate free days as entirely booze free.
Avoid all-or-nothing thinking
Having a new attitude toward drinking this holiday season represents a change, and that’s good. But watch out for the urge to say “screw it” after you had a few too many despite following the tips above. Yes, there may be some slip-ups along the way, look at them as learning experiences. Just strive to do better at your next holiday soirée. Now make sure you’re living your life to the absolute fullest all year round — start checking off these 40 Things You Must Do in Your 40s!