I will never be the personal trainer that says you can’t drink or eat something. It’s not my philosophy; never has been and never will be. Why? Because I practice what I preach. Yes, I eat chocolate and I love to have a beer with my friends, but I also know my limits, I train hard and I eat a balanced diet.
Yes, you can drink alcohol and lose weight.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to cut alcohol out of your life entirely. But, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the green light to open a bottle of wine tonight or slam 8 espresso martinis after work this Friday!
At 28, we have never been the kind of home weight loss program to tell you that you shouldn’t drink at all, because that’s simply not a sustainable (or enjoyable) way to live. It’s all about finding the right balance, so keep on reading and I’ll give you some healthy tips on how to drink socially, and still lose weight.
If you want to enjoy a social drink and stick to your weight goals, then it’s about finding a healthy balance, so your body can still burn fat for fuel.
Why drinking (too much) alcohol will slow your weight loss.
The truth is that, even if you eat super healthy meals, too much alcohol can hinder your weight loss and can even lead to weight gain. The good news is that if you want to enjoy a drink without sabotaging your weight loss goals, you can. But, first, you should understand how and why alcohol can slow your weight loss.
If you’re short on time, jump ahead to my tips on how to drink a glass of wine or two, and still lose weight.
Normally your body will burn your fat reserves to get the energy it needs (which is exactly what you want for weight loss), however, the problem is that drinking alcohol can interrupt the normal fat loss process.
Your body will always go for the quickest and easiest energy source and, unfortunately, fat isn’t it! Booze provides a quicker, more accessible form of energy compared to the complex process of unlocking the energy stored inside your fat cells.
Why it’s even harder to lose weight if you eat high-fat foods when you’re having a few drinks
There’s nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence and, at some point, I’m sure we’ve all succumbed to a late night takeaway after a big night out! But, if weight loss is your main goal and if you’re generally making healthy choices and doing all the right things to actively lose weight, then here is my biggest piece of advice: avoid eating any unhealthy or high-fat foods while you’re drinking.
The problem with eating high-calorie foods when you’re having a wine or a beer, is that the calories from the snacks you eat won’t be burned off like they normally might.
This is because, as I mentioned earlier, the alcohol you drank has given your body more than enough ‘easy energy’. And, since your body doesn’t need any of the calories from those tasty late-night chips, it will put that spare energy straight into your fat cells for ‘safekeeping’! Unfortunately, this means your night out has not only likely stopped the weight loss you might have had from all your hard work earlier in the week, but you’ve also made your goal weight harder to reach because… now you’re going to need to work off that new fat first.
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Why ‘dieting’ can set you up for failure.
There’s so much bad advice around weight loss out there. It’s all too common to be told that something is ‘bad’ for us and that we have to cut it out of our life completely. But, after 20 years in the health & fitness industry, I can tell you that always ‘going without’ is not a sustainable way to live, and it often leads to failure.
When we are overly restrictive and cut out everything we enjoy, we often feel deprived and that can be a dangerously negative feeling that may lead us to ‘cheat’ on our diet.
I’ve found that the harsher the dietary restrictions we impose on ourselves, the greater our chance of falling off the wagon; and when we fall, we can fall hard, leading to an unhealthy binge mentality where we over-restrict and over-indulge. It’s not healthy and it’s not an enjoyable way to live.
A healthy, balanced approach to weight loss is the best way to lose weight and keep it off for good.
How to enjoy a few glasses of booze without stalling your weight loss.
If you want to lose weight then you need your body to use your fat for fuel. But you also know (if you read my explanation above) that drinking too much alcohol can slow your weight loss, or even reverse it. So, how do you enjoy a glass or two with friends and family without slowing your weight loss goals?
Balance and moderation.
Moderation is the key to enjoying a drink, staying healthy and still being able to lose weight. So, with that said, here are 5 tips to help you enjoy the occasional beer or wine and still achieve your weight loss goals.
#1. If you drink, don’t go overboard.
When it comes to a sustainable healthy lifestyle, we don’t believe you should have to cut any food group from your diet, including an occasional glass or two of your favourite alcoholic drink. So plan ahead. Before you go out, have a drink limit in mind and make a commitment to yourself to stick to it. Stay strong.
Go to your next event with a strong intention to only have one or two alcoholic drinks.
#2. Pick a healthier drink option.
Sure, that white chocolate espresso martini sounds delicious but it’s jam-packed with sugar and you’re going to drink a lot of unnecessary calories. One way to have a few alcoholic drinks and still lose weight is to choose your drinks wisely. You can reduce how many liquid calories you consume by ordering a clear spirit with soda water, or swap out your cocktail for a glass of wine.
A glass of sparkling prosecco contains around 80 calories, a standard 142ml/5oz glass of pinot grigio or pinot noir is usually around 120 calories, whereas an espresso martini cocktail could be around 300 calories per drink!
#3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Alternate every alcoholic drink with a glass of water. Not only will this re-hydrate you, but you may find that you get used to sipping on h20, and you don’t feel the need for another beer or wine.
Sometimes we just want to have a glass in our hand during social events, but we don’t really feel the need to drink. That’s one of the reasons why soda water with fresh lime is my favourite non-alcoholic beverage (and you can tell that pushy friend who’s always up for a big night that you’ve got vodka in that soda and lime!).
Sometimes we just want to have a glass in our hand during social events but we don’t really feel the need to drink. Soda and lime is a great option here!
#4. Don’t skip your usual workout – work hard, play hard!
Get your workout done first thing in the morning before your big night out and have a workout scheduled in for the next morning. You’re much less likely to go overboard if you know you’re already booked to go to a 9am spin class with a friend!
#5. Don’t skip meals (but don’t go too heavy either)
A big mistake people make is that they’ll skip dinner to compensate for the liquid calories they’re going to consume. This is NOT the answer!
Eat a healthy dinner full of lean protein and good fats before you head out, this will help you slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. It will also help you keep your cool around canapes and it might even help you resist doing a late-night Maccas run because, let’s face it, fast foods are always more tempting when you’ve been drinking on an empty stomach!
CRAVING A TAKEAWAY AFTER A BIG NIGHT OUT?
Sometimes the best-laid plans to drink in moderation can come undone; so if you went a bit hard on the booze last night, and you’re in the mood for a takeaway right now, follow these quick tips on how to make healthier takeaway choices.
Eat a healthy dinner full of lean protein and good fats before you head out – it will not only help soak up the alcohol, but you’ll be less likely to binge on unhealthier foods later on in the evening.