Tackling the Three Big Obstacles to Weight Loss: Takeaways, Snacking, and Alcohol 

Balancing Enjoyment and Health: Mindful Drinking and Eating Strategies for Social Outings

I think there may well be 3 big obstacles to weight loss. 

I could be oversimplifying this, but the 3 things I think need to be tackled are takeaways, snacking and alcohol. Let’s have a look at the last one, alcohol. Now before you stop reading, I just want to state that I am never going to suggest, unless you really want to, that you give up booze. I never did, I can’t perceive a time that I ever would. I love a pint of beer, in fact, I can’t think of many things I like more than a pint of beer, I really enjoy a glass of wine, I love a gin and tonic and I don’t know where I would be without a single malt whisky or a glass of grappa. So please, read on and don’t panic.


A Lesson Learned from Italy

For me, when I consider weight loss and alcohol, it’s never about whether we should drink or not, it’s simply how much. Of course, if we can reduce it, fantastic. I’ve learnt a lot from my wife, Anna. Her family come from Italy and they have a very different approach to drinking than we do in Britain. Over there, it is absolutely ok to have a drink whenever you want, and I mean that. I’ve been with my father-in-law when he has ordered a spirit with his coffee at 10 o’clock in the morning. And over there it’s ok. If he had 4 or 5, it wouldn’t be ok. When Anna and I first got together, Anna asked me a straightforward question, she said, when we go out and you start drinking, do you have any idea of when you’re going to stop? She wasn’t nagging me or telling me off, she just wanted to know. In those days, I used to drink a lot, but I thought her question was amazing. The difference you see between an Italian approach to booze and a very British one is, I had no idea when I started drinking, when I would stop. Anna, however, had a pretty clear idea of when she was going to stop and it’s nothing to do with discipline.


Understanding the Effect of Each Drink

Anna, with her Italian approach, understood the effect of every drink. She also knew the affect that she was after. What she wanted was that lovely feeling of relaxation. Well, she understood when she had reached that point and didn’t want to go any further. This was an absolute revelation to me; I had never ever considered that before. What she taught me is to analyse the effect of every drink, understand beforehand what it was I wanted from my drinking and to recognise when I got there.


My Personal Drinking Strategy

So, this is what I found. First drink was really just to quench my thirst, so I now swap that for water. What I want of course is what we all want, is to feel nice and chilled. I can get there with 2 or 3 drinks, that’s the nice place, that’s the happy place, that’s when I let out big sighs sit back in my chair, gaze into my wife’s beautiful eyes and sing any silly song that comes up on the iPlayer. At that point, I slow right down in my drinking, because I’m already at the stage I want to be. When I go to 5 or 6 drinks, my mood changes, it’s not as nice as the happy place. By 10 drinks, I could well be argumentative, by 15 I could actually be in tears!



There you go, they are my findings, see I told you I didn’t want you to stop, what I’m suggesting is we just analyse what it is we are doing and what we want from it. I want us to be in charge. Enjoy, cheers, bottoms up! Well actually, slimmer bottoms than we had last month.

Enjoying Pubs While Losing Weight


Tips for a Balanced Approach in Beer Gardens and Pubs

Right, the beer gardens are open, and nobody enjoys a pint of beer or a glass of wine more than me. I manage to indulge without putting on lots of weight, so I thought I’d share with you my tips for enjoying the pub without overindulging.


Starting with Water

Firstly, when you arrive, you are likely to be thirsty. Don’t use alcohol to quench your thirst. When you order your first drink, also order a glass or a bottle of water and drink that first.


Choosing Your Drinks Wisely

Next, remember the most calorific thing is a Stout or a Guinness. Next is beer or larger, after that comes wine, slightly better than that is sparkling wine and the best option of all, but not something that you can do all day, are spirits.


Setting Limits and Goals

Before you go out, try, and work out how long you’d like to be out for and also the feeling that you want to get from your drink. If you set yourself a reasonable time limit and stick to it, it can’t become an all-dayer. If you have in mind the feeling that you want from the alcohol and I’m guessing, it’s that euphoric state of chill, then you’ll know when you’ve got there, right? And you can slow down once you’ve arrived.


Knowing What You Want from Your Booze

Knowing what you want from your booze, I think is key. My wife, Anna, has taught me this and has very much an Italian approach to booze. I find it’s the second drink or the end of the second drink that I feel great, I’m relaxed, I like the music, I’m chilled. I then slow down my drinking, I used to think that if I drank more, I would just prolong the nice second drink feeling that I had. But that’s not how it works, you end up going somewhere else. A few drinks later everything’s not quite as happy as it was, you may become argumentative or maybe sad. Know where your happy place is. Try then to drink as much water as you do alcohol.


Planning Your Food

Lastly, work out where and what it is you are going to be eating. With our relaxed slightly inebriated state, often comes hunger and a relaxed approach to bad choices. You know what I’m saying.

So, are you making it back for dinner? Are there good choices on the pub menu? Is there good food nearby?

I don’t in any way want to stop your enjoyment for a day or a night out, not at all. I just want to teach you want I’ve learnt, so you can do it in the healthiest way possible, enjoy.

How Good Is Going Out?

Enjoying Social Outings Without Regrets

Misleading headline this, we know the answer, going out is great. It’s fun, it’s fantastic to socialise, it’s nice to dress up, I’m guessing it’s good to do your hair, although I wouldn’t know, and of course, eat good food, have a drink, make merry.


Avoiding Next-Morning Regrets

How many times though have we woken up the next morning full of regret? I drank too much, I ate too much, I feel terrible, I didn’t get enough sleep, oh my God, what did I say when I was drunk? It is of course possible to enjoy all the fun things without any of the regrets. To be honest, and I don’t expect you to follow my example here, but it’s true, I’ve never ever regretted not having a drink.


Tips for a Balanced Evening

It’s the drink that relaxes us, makes us chilled, that feeling of euphoria, but what makes us feel good also seriously impairs our good judgement. So perhaps a couple of tips here might come in handy.


Starting with Water

First, when you arrive, have a glass of water. I mean it, you’re likely to feel a little bit fidgety when you get somewhere and possibly a bit thirsty. Don’t make your first drink alcoholic. Also, consider the effect that you want from the alcohol, consider each drink and the effect it’s having on you, so that you can slow down or stop when you get to that happy place. This, let me tell you, is sound advice. Do not get to that happy place and keep throwing drinks down yourself, that happy place will soon become an unhappy place. Try drinking a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.


Making Smart Food Choices

Right, that was the drink, now the food. Get rid of that breadbasket, don’t have anything to do with it, you don’t need it. Make sure you have seen the menu online before you get there, so that you know what you are going to have. Choose the leaner cuts of meat, the fish if you can and pick the sides that aren’t deep fried. If you fancy a pudding, and why not, it’s Christmas, see if somebody wants to share one with you.


Considering Non-Alcoholic Options

Now, you may want to consider not drinking at all. I have done in the past and really enjoyed it. Let me tell you now my experiences with this. When you first arrive you want a drink, cos you feel a bit awkward, just fight that feeling for a little bit. Next, you’ll feel left out, everybody seems to be enjoying their drink and you haven’t got one. Just wait, keep your powder dry and look around and see what is gradually happening to the rest of the people at the party. As you remain sober, you’ll realise that their conversation is getting a bit silly, they then start to repeat themselves, you will start to feel good about yourself. By the end of the evening when your brain is crystal clear and everybody else is drunk, you’ll feel really proud of yourself, I promise you. The next morning when you wake up, you will feel fantastic. I know this to be true, because I’ve done it occasionally, I like a drink, but I have stayed sober a few times and always been very pleased with myself when I did.


Have fun, whichever way you choose, it’s your Christmas, it’s your body.

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Frequently asked questions

Have questions? We’re here to help


How can you avoid regret the morning after a social outing?

By being mindful of your alcohol consumption, choosing drinks wisely, and considering non-alcoholic options, you can enjoy social outings without next-day regrets. Staying hydrated and making smart food choices also play a key role.

What are some tips for making healthier choices at pubs or social events?

Start with water to quench your thirst, choose your alcoholic drinks wisely, and plan your food choices. Be mindful of the effects of each drink and know your limits to maintain a sense of control.

Is it possible to enjoy social events without drinking alcohol?

Yes, it's entirely possible to enjoy social events without alcohol. Staying sober allows you to maintain clear judgment and can lead to a feeling of pride and satisfaction, especially the following morning.


Author: Gregg Wallace