By Terry Sweeney
The same thing happens to me every June as it suddenly dawns on me that summer is actually already here and I will, sooner or later, be called upon to appear in public in my bathing suit. A private confab with my closet’s full- length mirror confirms the worst. Either some cruel prankster has exchanged my grown up middle-aged man-trunks for those of a much skinnier 12-year-old skateboarder, or I have overeaten myself into my best imitation of a Vietnamese pot-belled pig.
A Happy Wino friend of mine says she has summer shorts and khakis in various sizes depending on the ups and downs of her girth. But when June comes around and she can’t fit into her biggest pair (her “fat” pants as she calls them); the jig is up and she immediately stops eating — but not drinking!
The problem with mixing dieting and drinking — or going “skinny sipping” as I call it — is that when you cut out breads, pasta, potatoes, and other fattening carbs, there is nothing in your system to absorb the booze. The results can have you flying much higher than you ever intended and heading for a very rough landing the morning after. To be fair, earlier in the evening, you didn’t innocently start out with your first glass of chablis with the intention of ending the evening drunkenly climbing on the bar at The Filling Station and tossing your bra to a cheering crowd of blue collar bad boys. But it happened. And why? You didn’t eat anything because you wanted to be skinny!
Believe me, I too, have gone skinny sipping and certainly done things I wasn’t proud of the next day. Maybe not tossing my bra to a cheering crowd, but only because I didn’t have a bra to toss. What makes the difference between a pleasant night out having a couple of cocktails chatting with friends, and a blurry bacchanal slurring it up with a bunch of strangers is having some skinny sipping ground rules to keep you … well … grounded.
So if you’re on a diet like me but still want to party, I’ve come up with some golden rules to keep you from waking up the next morning to a bleary-eyed photo of yourself on the cover of “Mug Shots”:
1. Eat something like guacamole with baked chips, a microwaved bake potato with light butter or some sliced cheese and salami on fiber crackers before going out. Especially if you are meeting someone for a “pre-drink.” That’s the drink before your night even starts which easily turns into two or three drinks and you later being carried to your car.
2. Beware of well-meaning hosts who refill your wine glass to the top before you are even finished. You can easily lose track of how many glasses you’ve had and end up spending the next day with an ice pack on your head, cursing your friend and wishing you were dead.
3. Also watch for fellow revelers buying you another drink in a bar or even worse, generously sending over a bottle when you’ve already had enough. If they insist on doing something nice for you, politely tell them they can treat you to an appetizer.
4. The simplest and most dietetic: Drink a glass of water after every two glasses of wine or after every two mixed drinks.
5. Don’t get stuck somewhere for hours. Like on a boat with Captain Drunk-As-A-Skunk. You may be ready to find land and go eat, but your host and fellow partiers may have other plans. You can be sure that booze barge ain’t docking ‘til there’s not a drop left! Also make sure you have your own car or the card of your favorite taxi company in your wallet when catching a ride to a party or a bar with other people. Your friends may just be up for an all night booze-a-thon and then you’re trapped! (Hey, they’re probably on a diet and not eating solid food either!)
Important note: Leave quietly. Don’t say goodbye! Or they will no doubt beg you to stay and have just one more. No! Go home and eat your Lean Cuisine!
So there it is, the naked truth about the perils of skinny sipping. Remember — you want to lose weight, not your dignity. So don’t try to drink yourself skinny. Instead, go join a gym or, better yet, do what I do … get a bigger swimsuit.
Here’s to a great summer. I raise a glass of … water to you!
By Terry Sweeney