Brides & Booze: Surviving the Bar Scene

If there’s one thing I learned since embracing a healthier lifestyle it’s just how awful alcohol makes me feel. I know, I know, alcohol?! You mean a few glasses of wine, a beer, or delicious apple martini? No, not exactly. I’m talking about overindulging in alcohol or, going out with the intent to get drunk, which is a pretty typical tradition for brides and grooms-to-be. I’m all for having fun and pre-wedding festivities are great for creating memories and relieving stress, but for me at least, it’s a thin line between a good time and a really, really bad time.
I don’t think I’m alone in this either. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a bride – decked out in her party dress, veil, and shot necklaces – stumbling out of a nightclub or bar. Even though this is the norm (her friends might even applaud themselves for her this wasted), binge drinking – especially! – wreaks havoc on our bodies and can have both physical and emotional lasting effects.

If you’re a bride trying to survive the bar scene, here are some tips to keep you from going overboard!

Brides and Booze

1. Water:

There’s a reason you wake up dying of thirst after a night of heavy drinking – alcohol dehydrates the body! From “… alcohol blocks the release of a hormone that is needed for water reabsorption. Without this hormone — called antidiuretic hormone, or ADH — the kidneys do not reabsorb the water; instead they excrete it as urine.” Ahh, it makes sense now, huh? “Breaking the seal” isn’t the only reason you have to pee every ten minutes!

2. Remember these four words: soda water and a splash!

For the longest time I never knew what to order when I walked up to the bar. I’d usually copy the order of one of my more savvy friends, with a “pineapple malibu” or, divert to the good ole’ vodka-cranberry. But now I always order vodka with soda water and a splash of juice. Juices are full of sugar, which isn’t good for you waistline or wedding day glow, and this little trick can save you a few hundred calories!

3. No, tonic is not better.

Tonic water has just about as many calories as regular soda so it’s not helping you avoid calories or sugar to order a vodka-tonic and, personally, I don’t think they taste great. Go with soda water. Read #2 above.

4. Eat something healthy beforehand.

If you’re out to eat, order something healthy! This small act will remind you of your goals and get you off to a good start! Rather than trying to fill up on carbs to absorb all the alcohol you plan to drink, start the night with a new approach – order healthy and you’ll likely be more conscientious overall. Will power is like a muscle, the more you exercise it (say, by ordering something good), the stronger it gets – and the easier it will be to order a healthier drink, too.

5. If you go for beer, go light.

Light beer can be as little as 100 calories for 12 ounces, but beware: not all beer is created equal! Blue Moon is 220 calories! But, if you go light, there’s a few bonuses beyond the lesser calories: it will last longer than wine or cocktails because it’s bigger and it’s carbonated, which will make you feel full faster!

6. Water and ice coffee to cure the hangover.

Coffee is acidic, just like alcohol so the last thing your body needs after a night of putting back acidic drinks is another few acidic drinks (coffee) the following morning! Ice coffee is a lot less acidic than regular coffee and at places like Starbucks, they usually add water to the americano when it’s iced — not to mention all the ice (i.e. water) in your cup! The more water the better to get re-hydrated!

7. Sip water between drinks. #obviously Read #1 above.

8. Order drinks that look like alcohol (but aren’t)

I love this idea from the article, how to drink less without your friends knowing it

9. Log it as you chug it!

There’s nothing like a little MyFitnessPal to bring things to the forefront… oh, you didn’t realize that blue moon completely ruined your calories for the day? Log it and the truth will set you free!

10. Think of all your hard work. Period.

11. Go with a non-drinking friend.

Some of my friends are heavy drinkers but some aren’t. I always feel less inclined to go balls to the wall when I’m with one of those non-drinking friends. You know, the one that just enjoys the company and doesn’t have to get drunk to have a good time!

12. Keep a photo of yourself nearby for motivation.

Who doesn’t have a few selfies saved to their phone? I know I do! But this one is different – it’s a REMINDER of your goals and your focus. Whether it’s an old picture of when you were overweight (and likely miserable) or one of you now in a bikini ALMOST to where you want to be, check in with yourself and then act like you give a damn (and gulp some water)!

What do you do to control how much you drink?

Are you a heavy drinker?

Image from Nancy Neil via Santa Barbara Chic / Graphics added by Fit for a Bride

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  1. Katie wrote:

    Ah this is something I’ve been learning is SO important the older I get. I just cannot deal with these two day hangovers anymore. I always try to repeat the mantra “Every other drink should be non-alcoholic”, no matter if it’s juice or soda… it’s better than another glass of wine or beer.
    Now, if I let the night slip away without doing that, I try to keep track of my drinks and make sure I drink as many glasses of water as I had drinks. So if I had six drinks that night, I’ll drink six tall glasses of water before bed and have my usual water bottle by the bed too.

    If it’s really bad and I’m too full to drink the water… I will rather stay up and drink it slowly than to go to bed without getting those liquids in first. SO important to avoiding feeling like crap the next day. Hangovers are the worst!!

    Posted 10.7.14 Reply
    • Sara wrote:

      That’s such an excellent idea, Katie! I never thought to stay up to drink the water (and just get it in!) to avoid a hangover the next day! I guess I wouldn’t really be *thinking* too clearly in that state anyway, though, huh? I totally agree, as I get older, hangovers get harder! They are definitely the worst!

      Posted 10.7.14 Reply