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Real Talk About Drunkorexia

If you know the FBG crew at all, you know we like wine. Mostly in moderation, of course, although we have been known to polish off more than a glass on special occasions. I really don’t sweat it, at least in terms of calories or anything — it tends to even out as long as I continue practicing intuitive eating.
But for a lot of young women, that’s not the case. In order to keep a handle on their calories but still enjoy a social life, they drastically cut calories (and nutrition) during the day — even skipping meals — or exercising excessively in order to “save” those calories for booze that night.
Guys, this is a bad idea. Bad enough to have its own term from the Eating Recovery Center (ERC), which is a national health care system for the treatment of eating disorders: Drunkorexia. It’s an eating disorder, make no mistake.
beer - drunkorexia
And based on the discussions we’ve had around FBG HQ, I’m betting you’ve seen this practice. According to ERC, it’s particularly prevalent among college-age women and young professionals, but I’ve seen it among women (and some men) who are considerably older (and younger) than that. If this is something you’ve found yourself doing, I encourage you to talk to a professional. If you’ve seen this behavior in a friend, we have tips on how to handle that, too.
Now, let’s say you aren’t cutting out meals, but you are on a weight-loss journey and really want to celebrate this weekend with your friends and a few drinks. What should you do? We’ve got a few tips:

  • Choose nutritious foods, and don’t be shy about snacking. Keeping delicious fresh veggies and fruits (especially low-calorie options like berries) on hand makes it easy to nosh between sips, and, in my experience, makes you far less likely to say things like, “Yes, I’d love to split a large cheese pizza with one other person!” after that third glass of wine.
  • Mind your portions. It’s easy to go overboard with the booze when you’ve got a great big wine glass and your friend just keeps topping you off. Consider drinking from a small glass, for starters, and maybe even just pouring half glasses each time you refill. If you’re drinking beer, especially a high-alcohol craft beer, see if someone with similar taste wants to split each beer with you, then sip slowly and enjoy every drop!
  • Stay hydrated. Alternate your boozy beverages with a glass of water (or maybe make that sparky water!) — you won’t just cut down on the calories you’re consuming, but I bet you’ll feel better in the morning, too.
  • Eat mindfully before and after your big night. Some of the trouble comes from the idea that some people look at nutrition and calorie intake as a daily budget of sorts, but look at the big picture. Rather than being really restrictive on one day, what about being more mindful about what you’re chowing down on for several days (or — gasp — just in general)? It doesn’t mean you need to ix-nay the essert-day all week or anything, but focusing on whole, unprocessed foods for a few days is sure to do your body all kinds of good, both in ways you’ll see and ways you’ll feel!

Is drunkorexia a new term to you? I’d never heard of it before, but it’s a more familiar concept than I’d like it to be. I hope that putting a name to it will help more people realize that it’s unhealthy! —Kristen

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