How to: Swap dry January for healthier drinking choices all year

The end of the year is full of celebrations. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years – time with family and friends that often includes a drink in hand. So. Much. Drinking. If you've started January feeling like you’re pickled in booze and you need to make some serious life changes, you’re not alone. But is dry January the solution?

Thankfully, you CAN cut back without cutting it all out, punishing yourself and your social life. Moderation is key, and here’s how you achieve it all year round:

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Small doses

Do as the French do! Sip, don’t chug. Enjoy your drinks with a meal. Stop the binging and know your limits. Everyone’s entitled to crazy nights now and then, but don’t make it a routine.

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Stop weekday drinking

Being hung over at uni or work is NEVER fun. That beer with dinner may taste amazing, but 5 days a week really adds up. Limiting your alcohol to weekends only (in moderation) really works for some people. If you REALLY enjoy that after-work beer, just reverse it and don’t drink (or drink less) on the weekends instead.

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Balance it out

For every alcoholic drink you have, drink a glass of water as well. Keep the finger foods on deck and don’t drink on an empty stomach. It never ends well.

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Cut out the sugar

Energy drinks, pop, and drink mixes are loaded with sugar, caffeine and calories. They won’t help with your hangover and can easily turn each drink into a few hundred calories of regret. Opt for natural sugars, diet bevvies or even soda water to mix with instead.

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Choose your drinks wisely

All alcohol is NOT created equal and the calorie count in certain beverages will shock you. A glass of wine or an ounce of vodka are pretty consistent, while beer can be especially sneaky calorie wise.

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Cocktail control

We know, cocktails are delicious. If cocktails are your go-to bevvy though, make sure you check out the ingredients before you order. Some cocktails have 1 ounce of alcohol, some have 3, so opt for the less boozy ones if you can. If you really wanna cut back, order a virgin cocktail for every other drink.

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Set a limit

Go into your evening knowing that you have a maximum number of drinks you can consume, and don’t go over it.

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Cut out your vices

If you know that tequila ALWAYS results in a sloppy night, or that jello shots are your downfall, don’t do ‘em. Find a new drink that doesn’t end every evening in disaster.

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Sleeeeeeep

Depriving yourself of ZZZs is bad enough when you’re sober, but it’s just plain crazy when you’ve been bending the elbow. Don’t put it off too long – it’ll only amplify your disoriented, pukey, headachey symptoms. Plus, your body will probably just make you sleep in some place at some point, and no one wants to be THAT person. Go enjoy your bed.

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Make up for it the next day

Replenish your fluids, eat a healthy breakfast and regain your vitamins in the morning. A plate of greasy bacon may seem like a good idea, but a real apology to your body involves the good stuff (bananas, oats, chicken noodle soup – hurray!).

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