If you’re trying to lose weight, drinking alcohol can sabotage your goals. Just as you need to pick the foods you consume carefully and watch the portions, the same goes for your drinks. I’ve had individuals ask me “WHY can’t I lose weight???”, when I review their diet I find they’re consuming an average of 3-4 drinks per day or binge drinking on weekends – BINGO, there you have it!
You CAN have alcohol and still lose weight, although it’s much better to wait until you’re in the maintenance phase of your diet plan, it is doable. If you’re trying to lose weight and you like to indulge there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
How much is too much?
Research shows that both men and women who drink in moderation are less likely than non-drinkers to be obese. But on the other hand, more than moderate drinking is linked to a greater risk of being overweight or obese. What’s moderation? For a woman, it’s no more than one “standard drink” a day, or two for a man. One standard drink is either a 1.5-ounce shot of 80 proof distilled spirits, 5 ounces of wine or a 12-ounce beer (a bottle or can). Each contains about the same amount of alcohol, and will therefore raise your blood alcohol concentration fairly equally. And nope, they don’t roll over, so abstaining during the week and downing 7–14 drinks over the weekend doesn’t count as moderate drinking.
Watch your portions
The average amount of wine and liquor served at restaurants is about 40 percent more than a standard drink. Also, ordering a pint of beer rather than a bottle means an extra 4 ounces. Watch those mixed drinks, like a frozen margarita in a tall, pretty glass, which can pack nearly 500 calories! See below for the average amount of calories in your favorite spirit. These calories represent a “standard drink”, note the portion sizes above.
- Beer — 250 calories
- Red or white wine — 120 calories
- Daiquiri — 259 calories
- Vodka and club soda — 64 calories
- Champagne — 84 calories
- Rum and Coke — 91 calories
- Cosmopolitan — 230 calories
- Bloody Mary — 140 calories
- Sangria — 167 calories
- Martini — 69 calories
- Margarita — 270 calories
Carbs – watch em.
Vodka sodas have become the customary skinny cocktail because both vodka and club soda (not tonic) are carb-free. Twelve ounces of ultra low-carb beer and five ounces of dry wine contain a little more, but a regular beer packs at least 10 grams, about as much as a quarter cup of brown rice. Just 4 ounces of cola contains about 12 grams, and the same amount of sour mix will cost you 25 grams of carbs.
Watch your mixers.
A 100-calorie shot of tequila turns into a 500-calorie margarita once it’s poured into a blender with a sugary mixer. Try a healthier, skinnier version of the umbrella drink. Eight ounces of pina colada mixer contains 250 calories. Cut the calories (by about a third) and add more nutrients, blend a handful of ice with one-quarter cup each 100 percent pineapple juice, coconut milk (the kind in the dairy case) and sliced banana.
Avoid alcohol-induced munchies.
Alcohol can act as an appetite stimulant and lower inhibitions. This is the key reason most weight loss plans nix alcohol. Try to fill up on healthy food before drinking and have them available for when you want to snack with or after your cocktail.
Control your intake.
If you think you’re knocking back too many drinks each week, mix things up. Plan social activities that don’t revolve around drinking, , or volunteer to be designated driver.
Tip: If you’d rather cut back than cut out alcohol, order drinks that will help you take in less alcohol per volume, like a wine spritzer instead of a glass of wine.
If you’re serious about losing weight, it’s best to put alcohol aside until you’re in maintenance mode. If you are going to have a drink, choose wine, which may protect the heart and help lower inflammation,. Or, opt for a drink with clear alcohol and no sugary mixers. One drink a day probably maxes out the benefits, though, so keep a cork in your alcohol consumption.