Trying to watch your waistline by limiting the amount of booze you imbibe? Easier said than done when it’s happy hour and you’re out with your favorite lushy friends or coworkers. Darya Pino Rose, Ph.D., feels your pain. Her new book, “Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting,” which hits book shelves today, is loaded with realistic, spot-on advice for making smarter food choices so you can slim down without starving or sacrificing fun. Check out her tips on how to keep yourself in check at cocktail hour without your friends or coworkers catching on—or waking up with a hangover the next day.
I have nothing against people who like to party. Partying is really fun and a lot of the time I’m right there leading the crusade. But we all know those people who really like to drink and like to do it often. Not only do these people take their own drinking a little too far, they’re experts at pressuring others to keep up with them drink for drink. And they’ll use mockery, guilt, generosity, logic, peer pressure and dozens of other tactics to get everyone around them to keep the party going. These friends are fun to have, until they aren’t.
As fun as it is to party, sometimes you want to go out and have a good time without regretting it the next day. Rejecting drinks can be even more awkward if alcohol is a big part of your off-site work culture, where turning down a glass makes you look antisocial or not a team player. It is nice to have a way to hit it a little less hard, preferably without drawing attention to your secret plan.
Feel free to mix and match these tricks, as different situations call for different lines of defense.
1. Alternate with water
Alternating with water is a tried-and-true way to both cut back on alcohol and stay hydrated, thereby preventing a hangover. Every drink or two, go to the bar and ask for some water. You don’t need to make excuses for this: You’re thirsty and will get another drink in a second. Just be sure to finish the water and feel free to take your time.
2. Drink clear liquids
Clear liquids like gin and vodka look like ice that has melted. So if you don’t want to finish every drink that comes your way, you can always leave a little in your old glass, and no one will notice you aren’t tossing back as much as everyone else.
3. Order drinks that look like alcohol (but aren’t)
Another advantage of clear liquids. Vodka soda with lime is my favorite go-to drink on late nights, and it’s awesome for several reasons. Besides being easily palatable and sugar free, it gives you the option of leaving out the vodka altogether. Just order a club soda with lime and ask the bartender to make it look like a cocktail—they are usually more than happy to comply.
4. Be forgetful
You don’t have to be limited to clear liquids to abandon the occasional half-full glass. Leave your drink on the bar, in the bathroom, on a random table or anywhere it won’t attract attention. That way when someone hands you another, you’re ready.
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