Goodbye ‘Dry July’!

Time usually flies, unless it’s Dry July!

If you participated, well done! Your watering hole’s will look forward to welcoming you back!

If you didn’t, it may be because drinking is in some way beneficial to you, and the cost-benefit analysis just didn’t stack up.

When it comes to alcohol consumption, I often hear this:

“I know it’s bad for me and I should cut down!”

It’s the same story with compulsive overeaters. Yet we and many of our clients scratch our heads at the fact that, even with identifiable downsides, behaviours can be so difficult to change.

So I could use this space to reel of a plethora of reasons for why regular and/or excessive drinking is bad and why you should avoid it. But experience suggests this won’t really impact the behaviour.

Rather, I’m going to acknowledge that if it weren’t beneficial on some level, it would be dead to itself.

I must note here: I’m addressing ‘choice’, not ‘addiction’ in this post. I also recognise the social impact of alcohol abuse, and do not condone such behaviour.

When addressing consumption of alcohol, the upside is often presented in negative tones:

“But I enjoy it.”. “It’s social.”. “Work buys the booze!”. And so on; these are actually valid reasons for drinking. And in reality, be it conscious or sub, these simple standpoints often carry more weight on a personal front than a pile of scientific deterrents.

Let’s be honest. If it came down to a simple mathematical equation, anyone aiming to lose weight would see that gram for gram, alcohol is more than 1.5 times the energy density of protein and carbohydrates. Yet weight-loss plans are constantly catering for participants who refuse to abstain.

Metabolically, alcohol is processed differently to other macronutrients. To this end, anyone involved in high-performance pursuits (both physical and cognitive) should understand the toxic load on their system. Yet alcohol consumption is common in sporting arenas and corporate environments (just ask Collingwood Football Club or the CEO of any major television network).

Therefore, in dealing with drinking habits, the question is not, ‘Why is alcohol bad?’; but rather, ‘What do i want to achieve?’.

The role of alcohol within these parameters suddenly becomes personal. The solution may not be an issue of abstinence, but simply reduced frequency and/or quantity of consumption.

Empower yourself by choosing to drink weighed against the impact of alcohol on your goals, and understand that prohibition may not work for the simple fact that there is nothing essentially wrong with having a drink! At the end of the day, your personal value system will likely prevail above clinical recommendations from a health practitioner.

Having said all of that, it is important to be clear on your boundaries, and to seek informed advice to mark these out. We’re not here to tell you that you shouldn’t drink, but to ensure that your choice to do so is geared towards achieving your goals.

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