Drop a glass size in 2013

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Scottish women, aged 30-50 are being encouraged to think about how much alcohol they’re drinking and take simple steps to cut-back.

Latest figures show that around 38 per cent of women regularly exceed sensible drinking guidelines, by drinking more than two to three units a day or 14 units a week.

As well as headaches and restless nights, over time, the invisible effects of alcohol can catch up with us, often accelerating the ageing process and even increasing the risks of high blood pressure, liver disease and breast cancer.

You can witness the effects of regularly drinking too much by downloading the ‘Drinking Mirror’ smartphone app. The app is available exclusively from the Scottish Government, free until the end of March and shows users that cutting down by a glass size can have a significant effect on the ageing process. So far the app has been downloaded by 364,275 people worldwide.

The good news is that by making some simple adjustments to our drinking habits – such as dropping a glass size - it’s easy to make a noticeable difference. Taking simple steps such as pouring a small glass of wine, as opposed to a standard measure, alternating alcohol with soft drinks and taking at least two alcohol-free days a week, can have a positive impact on your health and well-being.

Shirley, 37 is a secondary school teacher and a mother of two from Glasgow: “My job can be very challenging at times and so once I finish for the day I enjoy cooking dinner and spending time with friends and family. I also look forward to pouring a nice glass of wine and relaxing in front of the TV to unwind.

“I’ll usually only drink one or two glasses of wine in an evening, but as they’re at-home measures it’s hard to tell how much I’m actually drinking and once I open a bottle it’s hard not to finish it.

“I don’t consider myself a heavy drinker at all and although I like a glass of wine, I know women who drink a lot more than I do every day.”

Shirley took the Scottish Government’s challenge and found that by dropping just one glass size she would drink 18 units less per week – that’s 104 bottles of wine a year. Not only that, but she would save £520 a year (based on a £5 bottle of wine) and consume 1,104 less calories in a week, 57,408 a year.

To make a positive change to your health and bank balance, head online to www.drinksmarter.org. There you can download the ‘Drinking Mirror’ app and take the ‘Wine Glass Challenge’ to calculate exactly how much you’re drinking and find out how to stick within the sensible drinking guidelines.

The website is packed with interactive tools, information and resources that can help you keep on track, including a ‘Drop a Glass Size’ chart to help you monitor your progress.

Cutting down on how much and how often you enjoy a drink can make you feel better inside and out. Here are some top tips to reduce your drinking:

Cut down together

It’s easier to stay motivated if you make a commitment to drink less with friends and family – that way you can remind each other of the benefits if your motivation wanes. Why not have a walk around the park, trip to the cinema or a long soak in the bath. Making time for activities which aren’t themed around drinking allows you to spend quality time with other people that wish to improve their health and well-being too.

Drop a glass size:-

Choose a small glass of wine instead of the large option. Ordering a drink with a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) than your usual tipple also means you’ll consume less alcohol overall.

Designate alcohol-free days:-

Give your body a rest by marking a couple of days each week on your calendar to stay booze-free. By not drinking every day, your body gets a chance to recover, reducing the risk of long-term damage to your health.