Make cutting down on alcohol as easy as possible
1. Take the right approach
Gradually cutting down on alcohol is more likely to be something you will stay committed to as opposed to cutting out all alcohol immediately AKA cold turkey.
2. Ask for support
Tell friends and family that you’re trying to cut down on alcohol - they might be more supportive than you think. But beware, some people don’t like to have their drinking behaviour challenged, so be prepared to defend your decision by remembering the benefits that cutting down on alcohol brings.
How to cut down on alcohol.... at home
1. Keep track of the alcohol units you’re drinking
Guidelines advise that men should not regularly drink more than 3 units per day and women 2 units per day. 'Regularly' means drinking every day or most days of the week.
Using our unit calculator will make the calculations easier or you can sign up to MyDrinkaware to track your drinking over time.
2. Know what you’re buying
Check out the ABV on a bottle of wine before you buy it. It’s not uncommon for a bottle of wine to be verging on 15% ABV, which could easily push you over your recommended daily guidelines if you drink more than one glass. Luckily producers are increasingly introducing 10% or lower ABV wines that are every bit as palatable as their stronger counterparts. Look out for them when you’re next buying a bottle.
3. Small differences
A really easy way of cutting down on alcohol if you’re a wine drinker is to buy small (125ml) glasses for the house rather than the large 250ml ones. You’re more likely to spread one 750ml bottle over a few days if you’re not unwittingly pouring a third of it into one cavernous 250ml glass.
4. Home measures
It’s worth buying an alcohol measure for when you next pour yourself a spirits-based drink at home. There’ll be no more guess work involved and you’ll be able to keep track of how much you’re drinking. Getting your measures spot on will also ensure your favourite drinks taste exactly as they do when you order them at the bar.
5. Dinner only drinking
Instead of opening your whole evening up to drinking, why not just allocate dinner as the time you enjoy a drink? This gives you a leisurely period of time to have a glass of wine or beer, which can then be followed up nicely with a healthy dessert or hot drink to accompany the evening’s TV! Read more on dinner only drinking
6. Get inventive with your wine!
You might not see any harm in polishing off the last part of the bottle of wine you’ve been drinking, but in reality it could be what sends you over your recommended daily guidelines. It’s a myth that wine doesn’t keep overnight, you just need a good bottle stop. It’s also surprising the amount of things you can do with leftover wine in the kitchen from freezing it for cooking to using older wine for vinegarette! Read more on cooking with wine
How to cut down on alcohol... when you’re out
1. Beware of rounds
Drinking in rounds may be a British tradition, but they can be expensive, dangerous if it means keeping pace with the fastest drinker in your group and a nightmare if you’re trying to cut down on alcohol. Stay in control (and save cash) by opting for smaller rounds with only a couple of friends within your group or giving rounds a miss.
2. Eat up
After-the-pub grub is another drinking tradition, but why wait until the night’s nearly over to load up on fast food? A healthy meal before you go out, and snacks between drinks can help to slow down the absorption of alcohol and so helps you stay in control. With less alcohol inside you that greasy pizza or kebab will look a lot less appetising at chucking out time too.
3. Track your drinking on the go
If you’re out and about use our free and simple MyDrinkaware tool on your smartphone to track the alcohol you’re drinking. It will help you stay within the daily unit guidelines and stay on top of your night out.
4. Small is better
Make the daily unit guidelines go further by having bottles of beer or halves instead of pints and choosing a smaller glass for your wine. Buying spritzers or shandies will also help keep that unit count down.
5. Make space
Sipping a soft drink between alcoholic drinks slows down the rate of your drinking and means you’ll drink less over the course of the evening. If you’re out clubbing, take a bottle of water out with you on the dancefloor. Down the pub (or even at home)? Then go for a non-alcoholic mocktail, a premium soft drink, or just a glass of water.
Why cutting down on alcohol is good for your health
1. Remember the short and long term effects of cutting down on alcohol
Drinking less reduces the longer term risk of serious diseases such as cancer, liver disease and stroke; improves the condition of your skin; can have a positive effect on sleep patterns, and can even boost your sex life. Worth remembering next time you’re at the bar.
2. Stress less
Some people drink alcohol to relax, but in reality alcohol can make you feel even more stressed out. Try not to make alcohol key to your after work wind down, and try some alternative stress-busters like hitting the gym with your mates or opting for a bath with bubbles instead of a shower.