Cutting Out Weekday Wine

In session this week with my client, Maddy, we spent most of the session discussing a new skill for her: no wine Sunday through Thursday. Maddy told me that she had gotten into the habit of having a glass or two most nights of the week, and at 120 calories a glass, she was easily spending 1,200 calories just on wine each week, which is a lot for someone trying to lose weight. Maddy decided it was realistic that she would have a glass or two on Fridays and Saturdays, but that cutting out the rest of the week’s wine would be reasonable.

I asked Maddy when during the week it might be hardest for her to not have wine, and she said that when she has a stressful day she often has the thought, “I deserve some wine to help me calm down.”  I discussed with Maddy that when she has a hard day, she absolutely does deserve stress relief. But she also deserves to achieve everything on her Advantages List, so we have to work on finding that relief in other ways. The good news is that Maddy’s body is not telling her, “I need wine.” It is telling her, “I need relief,” but because it doesn’t need wine, alcohol is not the only way to find that relief. Maddy made a Response Card:

After a stressful day, I do deserve stress relief, but I also deserve to make progress towards my goals, and wine gets in the way of that.

Maddy also told me that sometimes family dinners turn a little stressful, and she is apt to want wine when that happens, too. However, she noted that when she does have wine, it causes her mind to be less sharp, and she thinks she actually handles the conversations poorly. Maddy made a Response Card to help her remember this idea:

When dinners are stressful and I want wine, remember that it’s worth it not to because I need a clear head and sharp focus.

Maddy and I came up with a protocol that she would start enacting that very evening. Maddy works from home, and when she finished work for the day (usually around 5:30), she would immediately read her Response Cards and then spend the next 10 minutes doing a mindfulness meditation. We decided that for the next two weeks, she would do this every night, even when she wasn’t feeling particularly stressed, to establish the habit of having a healthy coping routine in place.

I also asked Maddy how long she thought the craving for wine would last. Would it last all evening? For an hour? For 30 minutes? Maddy thought about it and realized that the intensity of wanting wine would probably go down within 10 minutes or less. She told me that she often gets so wrapped up in talking to her kids, preparing dinner, etc. that likely she wouldn’t think about it for very long at all. Maddy made another Response Card:

The craving for wine is extremely time-limited! Go do something else and you’ll stop thinking about it entirely.

With these strategies in place – a new stress-relieving protocol and targeted Response Cards – Maddy felt confident going into the week enacting her new guideline of only having wine on Fridays and Saturdays.

Cutting Out Weekday Wine

1 reply
  1. Valyn Perini
    Valyn Perini says:

    This is a super-helpful topic! I too have been having a hard time breaking my habit of putting on my apron and pouring a glass of wine. My dinners aren’t stressful, but I find wine (even two glasses) affects my energy level the next day. Thanks for the inspiration to break this habit.


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