Weight Loss Wednesday: Booze and Youz

Eat, Drink and Be Merry! It’s the holiday season and the opportunity for merriment and festive libations are all around us! For those of us who drink, this effervescent season of celebration can seem a happy and idyllic time where your cup (quite literally) “runneth over” with the liquid festivity of the season. Although many would advocate for the complete avoidance of alcohol, I think that occasional, responsible, and controlled enjoyment of alcoholic beverages can be integrated as a part of a healthy and balanced diet, as long as we are fully aware of what we are drinking and the impact each drink has on our caloric intake and fitness goals (not to mention our reputations, cough, cough –tequila, cough.)

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Let’s start by breaking down what exactly is in a glass: Alcohol’s caloric value is 7 calories per gram, making it only slightly less calorically dense than pure fat, at 9 calories per gram. Think about that for a second. That delicious glass of red is kind of the same as downing a big ol’ glass of oil. The shot of Jack is more like a delicious shot of warm grease. To put it another way: three beers is easily the same as having three slices of pizza or a meal. Three large mixed drinks, like a pina colada, can easily set you back over 1800 calories. For someone who is small and/ or female, that can easily be most if not all of your daily caloric intake. Ack! So, how can we avoid packing on the pounds when we drink? Here’s a few easy tips:

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·       Alternate your drinks with water. Not only will you stay hydrated and more in control of yourself, you will also have the same feeling of having a drink in your hand with half of the calories as there would be if you drank only alcoholic beverages.

·       Choose low calorie options, including light beers, and unsweetened drinks that you can sip, like wine. Less calories and slower ingestion mean less calories per time and less potential pounds.

·       Go diet: Ask for diet colas and mixers in your mixed drinks. I promise you, you wont miss the sugar or the extra calories you are saving, and most bartenders have no problem with this request as they usually have diet sodas anyway. 

If you do happen to go nuts and drink more than you should, try not to be too hard on yourself. Mistakes are a part of life and every day is a chance to try again. Happy Holidays, everyone.