Wondering where a glass of your fave chardonnay fits in with intuitive eating? Wonder no more! This post will tell you exactly how alcohol & intuitive eating fit together.
Can You Have A Healthy Relationship With Alcohol & Drink Intuitively?
The first thing to note about alcohol is that everyone has a different relationship to it and that relationship can ebb and flow throughout our life. For instance, in college, we may use drinking as a way to be "accepted" by our peers, or we may use alcohol as a way to "numb" our feelings and emotions.
So, the first thing to do when looking into alcohol & intuitive eating would be to take a look at YOUR current and past relationship with alcohol. I say past relationship with alcohol, too, because I do believe that is an important piece. It likely may have shaped your current relationship with it and it may also be a relationship to be wary of and to be on the look-out for that same relationship developing again.
How Often Should You Drink Alcohol?
Once you determine your relationship with alcohol and really dig into the "why" behind your choice to have a drink, then we raise the question of, well, how often should I be drinking? The answer of that varies and, again, can ebb and flow. Mindful drinking is key.
With alcohol I always suggest following what feels good, just as I suggest with food. If your current drinking pattern isn't making you feel fab, try to adjust it. Experiment and see! (Experimenting is KEY when learning to live a life of no food rules that makes you feel good) Maybe you're depriving yourself out of fear of calories, or maybe you're using alcohol as a way to cope with your emotions. Make a tweak, that could be allowing yourself to enjoy some or swapping a drink out to seltzer or water, then simply asses! Do you feel better? Do you not? And, just to clarify, I am talking actually feel better- not feel like you're being "good"! Super key distinction.
If we say we can't have alcohol, or strictly only X number of times per week, this may cause you to want it even more. As, many times, when we're given rules we want to rebel against them.
How Much Alcohol Should I Drink?
Same thing applies here. Do what feels good. Personally? I don't drink very much, to be honest with you. Why? Because I have a LOW tolerance and having more than 1-2 drinks doesn't make me feel great. Everyone has their own tolerance and what allows them to feel good. Just like how we find the eating style that feels good to us through trial and error (period of over and under eating) sometimes it takes a little experimenting with alcohol, too!
Now, sometimes you might think "That was delicious, I'll have another!" But, if you find yourself thinking "Ohf... I might not feel great after this next one" that might be a sign to use some practical thinking, like I explain in this post about practical hunger, and pass.
What If You Feel Pressure To Drink?
I used to feel pressure to be drinking, even though I knew that it didn't make me feel great. I felt left out or that people would think that I was being too "healthy" and that I was no fun. But I think that the biggest thing you can do here is to be confident in your decision. You know YOU and what makes you feel good. Now, I confidently say "I'm just not a big drinker" and usually have a glass of water (sometimes it IS nice to be holding something, too) and no one questions much.
What I Want To Drink But No One Else Does?
Same thing here, confidence! You shouldn't have to feel guilty about wanting a cocktail if no one else does. It's your choice. It's your decision. Like I mentioned earlier, think about that "why" behind your choice and own it! Now, alcohol and food are NOT the same thing, which I'll get to, but just like you deserve to order the molten lava cake without guilt, you deserve to order a cocktail.
What About Addiction & Binge Drinking?
Now, alcohol dependence is a real thing, as well as binge drinking. This is why I always say think about your "why". Are you turning to alcohol to numb yourself or to cope with emotion? How do you feel when you can't have a drink? If you suspect you have alcohol dependence I'd encourage you to reach out to a healthcare professional for help.
Binge drinking & binge eating are two different things. I feel this is important to note. Binge eating is typically caused by restricting, such as the restrict binge cycle. However that is not the same thing that happens in binge drinking. Again, if you struggle with binge drinking I'd highly recommend you reach out to a healthcare professional for help. This is a strong thing to do.
Having A Healthy Relationship With Alcohol
So, as you can see, having a healthy relationship with alcohol & drinking intuitively is something that is different for everyone. Just as how eating intuitively & with no food rules looks different for everyone, too! It may take some experimenting and trial and error to find that feels good to you. But, ultimately, that's what I believe we need to do: what feels good!
Leave a comment with your thoughts on this and what your fave way to enjoy a cocktail is!
Happy food rule breaking,
PS. Be sure to snag your copy of my free e-book, The Ultimate 5 Step Guide To Food Freedom! Want more guidance on how to live a life of no food rules? Be sure to get on the waitlist for The SociEATy, my exclusive VIP monthly membership!
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