Vision Boards / Women and Wine / Winism

Cool ideas for Vision Board:

I do these with clients in December, but they can be done any time of the year!

Just grab a piece of paper and make 9 squares....Visuals are powerful. Of course, fancier and more attractive can be fun, but the real value comes in simply doing the thinking and allowing time for purposeful planning and discernment.

Women and Wine

"Alcohol can change the way a woman's body metabolizes estrogen (how estrogen works in the body). This can cause blood estrogen levels to rise. Estrogen levels are higher in women who drink alcohol than in non-drinkers. These higher estrogen levels may in turn, increase the risk of breast cancer." Susan G Komen 

As a mental health advocate, I hold within my responsibility to observe social shifts that impact us, individually and collectively. In my community of North San Diego, I have grown concerned about the increased normalizing of alcohol use, and most uniquely, among women and their wine habits.

Five years go, I would often sit across a couple and hear a wife share worries or frustrations over her husband's drinking, on the weekends or with buddies. Okay-old hat complaint, right? But, now, more often than that, I am hearing terrific couples, middle class parents with successful employment, raising happy children in our beautiful community with all of the perks that come from hard work and an enriched environment - except that the complaint these days is from husband about the wife's drinking.

Of course alcoholism has always existed for women as well as men, although in much lower numbers for a variety of reasons, but the trend now is not necessarily alcoholism per se; it is women seemingly allowing their wine habits to damage, or take, from their home life, in some way. And, because of the wine growth and movement, it has literally become a hobby!

Somehow, if it's wine, it is socially acceptable, regardless of the cost (actual greenback cost, emotional cost, or physical cost). I call it Winism.

The first item of business in curing and recovering one's self from breast cancer is eliminating alcohol use, and in fact, I know women that have wonderfully overturned years of alcoholism directly because of their breast cancer episode in later life - having received that scolding and educational chat with their trusted oncologist

I am mystified why this piece of the puzzle is not often disclosed in PSA's.  A 42 year old working woman with small children will exercise three times a week, look great, and eat a clean diet and certainly never dream of smoking cigarettes - yet, she will also finish off three bottles of wine over the weekend. Wine has apparently become high-brow, and maybe the same stylized thinking can be applied to the new brewery/IPA culture, although, let's remember, we are still talking about alcohol.

I also worry about the message we are sending to the kids we love so much. "Drinking is fun! It makes us silly and we laugh a lot. We all get along better." Any child will tell you that they can tell within one "HELLO" whether you have had a glass of wine yet. Call me Henny Penny but I liken this social role-modeling to parents (Mom's!) and their  cigarettes to the 1950's - normalized behavior. Even the morning Today show hosts Wednesday Winesday and Boozeday Tuesday  with Kathie Lee and Hoda, with wineglasses filled and enjoyed at 10:00am.

"It relaxes me."
"It's a social thing."
"Everyone we know drinks like that."
"We are/were having drinks" vs. "We are/were drinking."

I hesitate to provide a number of drinks that sets any parameter of a problem (alcoholics and those with alcohol excess always look for a precise number to determine their place in this conversation) because that misses the larger point.

If we are in couple's counseling and your spouse is discussing your drinking, there's a problem. Evidence has associated even moderate alcohol consumption by women – no more than one drink per day -- with a 10 percent increase in breast cancer risk compared with non-drinking women. Other epidemiology and laboratory studies have consistently associated low to moderate alcohol intake with reduced risk for cardiovascular problems and other health benefits.

Questions to ask yourself:
Do I argue more with my partner when I've been drinking? Do I bring up loaded topics when I have had some wine/alcohol? Am I spending money on wine that would better be spent on other items? Do I get in trouble for flirting or saying something coarse when I have had some alcohol? Am I fighting weight or health concerns that are not helped by alcohol consumption? Do I sleep badly after just one glass of wine? Can I enjoy an evening with friends that does not include alcohol? Can we throw a party without alcohol?

Pre-diabetics, low blood sugar and hypertensive patients are strongly urged to remain abstinent. Drinking slows metabolism. 

Blood sugar swings beget more blood sugar swings. "In short, alcohol primes you for storing fat and then makes a mess of your blood sugar and energy levels, which can easily increase appetite and cravings, resulting in eating more and setting fat storing further in motion." (by Dr. Brooke Kalanick)

We are recommended NO MORE than ONE per day - and that does not mean I can skip six days then have 7.

Alcohol temporarily keeps your body from burning fat, explains integrative medicine specialist Pamela M. Peeke, MD, author of The Hunger Fix. The reason is that your body can't store calories from alcohol for later, the way it does with food calories. So when you drink, your metabolic system must stop what it's doing (like, say, burning off calories from your last meal) to get rid of the booze.

"Drinking presses 'pause' on your metabolism, shoves away the other calories, and says, 'Break me down first!'" Dr. Peeke explains. The result is that whatever you recently ate gets stored as fat. What's worse: "Research has uncovered that alcohol especially decreases fat burn in the belly," Dr. Peeke adds. "That's why you never hear about 'beer hips,' you hear about a 'beer belly.'" (by Sunny Sea Gold)

Other cancers that are linked to alcohol use are head and neck cancer, liver, esophageal and colorectal cancer. Facts

Love and trust HuffPo? please read this piece.