As of late, I have been fighting my weight a little bit. Jeans are too tight, and what I was wearing a year ago is no longer fitting me. Last year at this time, I wrote about being sick, and while I have been feeling better in terms of my IBD issues…when I start feeling better, my weight is higher. Which isn’t always where I want to be! Moving and experiencing quite a bit of internal stress for a variety of reasons, I was probably drinking more wine than usual, something that I know many women, myself included, use as a crutch with life gets out of hand.
Recently I read an article about the Moderation Management approach to consuming alcohol…MM’s approach to drinking is different than Alcoholics Anonymous in that it is more about regulating habit and responsible drinking. As someone who thinks strategically, this is fairly easy for me to do when I have routine in my life. For example, right now I am carpooling kids 4 nights a week and working 1 or two nights which then gives me one night of ‘free time’. I can strategically buy my one bottle for my ‘free-day’ and save it for that. Which works for me when I am in a routine. However, during the summer, and then the delay of the start of school this year; well, let’s just say that this totally went out the window for me. Hence the 10-15 lb weight gain over the past 6 months! To be honest though, I was feeling more relaxed and happy than ever!
From the outside, I think most women are trying to manage a lot in life, and perhaps experiencing high levels of anxiety or depression related to being last on the list. I recently came across another group called the Booze-Free Brigade, which is run by another mom who took a stand on drinking and stopped completely. While I am fairly certain that the Moderation Management approach works for me, I do also realize that the process of keeping this implemented also requires constant attention.
I come from a long line of *ahem* alcoholics who can drink like fish and make no apologies for it! My Grandpa drank 18 beer a day, smoked and rolled his own cigarettes, and lived to be 86 years old!! A Scottish-man, relocated to the Prairies, a prison warden and tough as nails. And he was fun too. While drinking wine for me almost always equates to having fun, the darker side of this, is that at times I was using wine to erase some of the stressors and even boredom that comes with everyday life. Not sure what my Grandpa’s reasons were, but I can only guess that maybe it was some of the same things.
The other thing about wine consumption is that liquid sugar (wine) is calories calories and more calories!! I love having fun, and I don’t think that I will ever give up my ‘mommy-juice’ completely, but just like having chocolate or other treats, I have to stick with the moderation approach to keep myself in check. While it is so fun to put on the weight (by eating and drinking), it is never as fun to take it off!
So here is my personal approach to Moderation Management. I have had multiple conversations with other women friends and their own relationships with alcohol, which is what inspired this post. Maybe we can learn from one another:
1) Make a plan and stick to it – Fridays and Sundays are my ‘treat-days’ where I know I won’t be driving any kids anywhere and I can sit down with a nice glass or three of wine, and enjoy my shows that I have PVR’ed during the week.
2) If you deviate from the course, don’t beat yourself up – Of course, there are always situations where you may deviate from the course you have set for yourself. And that’s okay. Just remember to get back on track the next day. And be honest with yourself if you can’t stay on track. It’s that easy.
3) Try a lower calorie wine – I have discovered a brand I like called Skinny Grape. Only 80 calories a glass and 8% alcohol content. Nicer for the waistline and also for the next-day-guilts, or what another friend coined the booze-blues, that can sometimes accompany a night of drinking.
4) Keep busy with Purposeful activities at cocktail hour – Me and 5 o’clock used to equal wine-time. It was something I looked forward too and couldn’t wait for that time to come. I have re-purposed that time to 5pm on Fridays (unless I am working) so I keep myself busy with other stuff at 5pm. And now that craving is gone, and I have changed my mindset.
How do you feel about Moderation Management? What is your relationship with alcohol?