It’s 2 A.M. and you find yourself in front of a fast food restaurant. Bodies whose faces you don’t immediately recognize float by and all you can think about is how many tacos I can get with five-dollars. The world spins, your stomach growls, and your heart beats.
You’re drunk and hungry.
If you’re like a lot of people in the world, then after a certain amount of alcoholic beverages you find yourself experiencing what many like to call “drunchies” (drunk + munchies). It’s a phenomenon much like the munchies that one can experience after using marijuana.
The simple experience of having the drunchies isn’t what is bad, per se, rather what you do while experiencing it is, much like drinking. There have been cases all over the world of massive binges where multiple pizzas have been consumed in one sitting and Mexican restaurants kept open til’ 5 A.M. due to how rampant this epidemic plagues college towns, entertainment districts of major cities, and your local Taco Bell.
The health effects of eating while “drungry” (drunk + hungry) include: depression, weight gain, embarrassment, and missing out on potential sexual partners. (Have you tried to hit on someone while smelling like pepperoni? Not cute.)
However, there is hope. I swear.
Here are a few hacks to help deal with the drunchies and hopefully put you on the path of becoming a drinker with no appetite, also known as a superhero.
1. Play hide-and-seek with your groceries.
If you are one of those rare people that actually grocery shops like an adult then you probably have a lot of food in your house. I am sure there is the appropriate mix of veggies, proteins, and sweets. But if you are like some people, you may have that secret place where all the things you love most live. (See: carbs)
On a day you know there will be some serious drinking happening (Thursday thru Sunday if you are in your 20’s or 30’s, and especially if you’re single) then invite a friend over and play a little hide-and-seek with all the food that you’d probably eat and regret later. Before heading out for the night, take a 10 minute walk; maybe grab some coffee, allowing some time for your friend to go at it. If done correctly, you shouldn’t be able to find the stash once you do return home later that night.
Just one caveat if you do play this game: You can’t get mad the next day. Sure you may find a doughnut in the shower or cookies in your condom drawer, but think about how many calories you’ve saved.
Alternative: If you’re not okay with this tactic then try only buying food that you have to cook. The drungy you may not have the ability or patience to actually cook anything, and the very thought of it once getting home may just make you lay in bed where you will hopefully just fall asleep.
2. Set up “DO NOT EAT” reminders on your phone.
If you are a pretty self-aware person then you probably have a good idea on the times and things you like to eat while drinking. As you are getting ready for the night go into your phone’s alarm clock area and begin setting annoyingly loud ringers on your phone to go off every 30 minutes after midnight. If you have a smartphone, especially an iPhone, you can even add funny text to these alarms. Something like: Gurl, I know a taquito sounds delicious but don’t do it. Remember last time.
Also, as an iPhone user I know I can set reminders for certain locations. Do that too. Go ahead and plug in reminders for all late night food spots in the surrounding areas of both the bars you go to and the place you live. I personally have one set for every 7-Eleven on the North side of Chicago.
3. Drink with the one friend with the ridiculous body.
We all have that one. The friend whose body looks like it came out of Mt. Olympus. If you find yourself constantly suffering from drunchy-induced eating, then try making this person your best drinking friend. They will be the first one to fat-shame you even if you smirk after you get a whiff of fries.
Also, this friend will be the first one at the bar who will tell you something funny like, “HEY, WE SHOULD GO GET CARROTS AND HUMMUS,” at 2 A.M.. You will laugh so hard at this suggestion that you will forget the hunger pains that you’ve been ignoring since the last Justin Bieber song blared out of the DJ booth.
4. Go to a buffet before drinking.
Wait, seriously? Yes, seriously! Eating before going out will reduce the effects of your hangover, how drunk you actually get AND the probability of you coming back into consciousness sitting inside a Steak-n-Shake.
When you get a big meal your body yells at your stomach to not allow anything else down there. Or more technically, the pyloric sphincter within your stomach, which is the valve that leads to the small intestines closes. Any food consumed has to hang out in the stomach once closed to be processed. This is what feeling ‘full’ means. While food is being processed any alcohol consumed will go down there and hang out, giving alcohol’s arch nemesis (enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase) more time to reduce the effects of alcohol on the body.
This hack allows you to reduce the potential hangover waiting for you in the morning and reduce the risks of being hungry later due to still being full from earlier.
5. Schedule a booty call before going out.
One of the other major effects of drinking is sex. Many people have shame filled stories of their hooks-up while under the influence, some of which they’d never share. This drunken hook-up culture is something as American as apple pie.
Sex is also the one thing that can deter your mind from drunk eating at 2 A.M. So try scheduling that one person who is always down on the weekends at a time when you know you should stop drinking. Not only will you have something more active to partake in than eating, you will also have someone checking in on you throughout the night, which is a way to slow down drinking.
6. Don’t drink.
I had to throw this one in. It’s like when you go to a sexual health education class and they have to talk about abstinence as the only 100% way to not get pregnant. The only problem with this thinking is that 100% of people aren’t down from abstaining from sex, just like drinking.
So, sure if you really, really, really don’t want to deal with the drunchies then you can of course stop drinking. But that’s no fun, PLUS I like to work from a harm-reduction model.
I find harm reduction more effective with drinking and everything else.