I will never be the trainer who tells you that you can’t eat this and you can’t drink that. is not my philosophy, never has been and never will be. Why? I eat chocolate, love to have a beer with my friends and I practice what I preach.

I know my limits, I train hard and I eat a balanced diet. It is all too common that when we are told something is ‘bad’ for our health and fitness goals that we cut it out entirely. We restrict, feel deprived, fall off the wagon and enter a vicious cycle of restricting and indulging. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to cut alcohol out of your life entirely.

Yes. You can drink alcohol and lose weight.

It’s all about finding the perfect balance. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the green light to have a bottle of wine a night or 8 espresso martinis after work on a Friday. Too much alcohol can impede weight loss and even lead to weight gain. The important thing is that you don’t overdo it and you understand the effects alcohol has on the body.

How (too much) alcohol can impact your weight loss.

Alcohol has been shown to increase fat storage, as the body will preferentially use alcohol as a fuel source, sparing your fat reserves. The double negative occurs when you consume high-fat foods whilst drinking alcohol, as the fat in these foods will be directed to be stored, rather than burnt as a fuel source.

How to enjoy a couple of glasses a week without stalling your weight loss.

#1. Don’t go overboard.

Have a limit in mind and make a commitment to stick to it. Go out with the strong intention to only have one or two drinks & stay strong.

#2. Pick the healthier drink option.

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Sure, that white chocolate espresso martini might sound delicious but it’s probably jam-packed with sugar and unnecessary calories. Opt for clear spirits and soda water or a glass of wine.

#3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

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Alternate every alcoholic drink with a glass of water. Not only will this re-hydrate you but you may find that you’re happy just sipping on h20. Some of us simply want to have a glass in our hand when out in social situations. Soda water and fresh lime is my go-to non-alcoholic beverage. You can even tell that pushy friend who’s always up for a big one that it’s a vodka, lime and soda.

#4. Don’t skip your workout – work hard, play hard.

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Get your workout done first thing in the morning before your night out and have a workout scheduled in for the next morning. You’re less likely to go overboard if you’re booked in for a 9am spin class with a friend.

#5. Don’t skip meals but don’t overeat

A big mistake people make is that they skip dinner to compensate for the calories they’re going to consume drinking. This is NOT the answer!

Eat a healthy dinner full of lean protein and good fats before you head out because it will slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. This will also help you keep your cool around canapes or resist the late-night Maccas run which is always more tempting on an empty stomach.

Speaking of Maccas, maybe you’d like to check out my article on how to make healthier takeaway choices?

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change. Sam Wood has over 18 years experience in the health and fitness industry, and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators. He is also the founder and trainer at Australia’s number one online fitness and nutrition program, and owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed.