Alcohol + Fat Loss
I’d like a frozen margarita with salt, por favor. I love margaritas. And Smirnoff Ice drinks that all my friends make fun of me for liking. I like what I like. I hate beer and I tolerate wine.
Instead of trying to convince you to change your favorite adult beverages, let me try to just shed some light on the topic of ALCOHOL AND FAT LOSS. Can we drink and stay trim? Is self-imposed prohibition the new way to looking good and losing weight? Are we allowed to get away with countless drinks?
Let me just go ahead with all the bad news. And there’s plenty of it. You’ll wish you’d already had a drink before reading this.
Alcohol contains empty calories. So you are adding calories to your daily allotment with no nutritional value. As you drink you lower your inhibitions (hello, bar top dancing) WHILE increasing your appetite, which means you think to yourself, “You know what goes with beer? Pizza!” So you end up eating even more calories, usually in the carbs and fat department.
Alcohol with fat and starch is a fat-loss nightmare. Calories + Calories + Regretful bar top dancing.
After just one and a half drinks, you significantly blunt your fat-burning by about 75%. So every sip has the potential to tell your body, “Hey body, get fat stat!” I reminded myself of this as I sipped on frozen mudslides in the Dominican (one of the highest calorie drinks in existence) for 3 days straight.
Alcohol disrupts our sleep and makes us tired and fatigued. This leads to a chain reaction of not wanting to exercise for at least a couple of days (and the booze reduces our testosterone which means we don’t recover well from workouts). With heavy drinking, the breakdown of alcohol can occur for up to 48 hours after your last sip. Basically, you become a lazy bum (hello, Netflix).
For those of you who like fun, fruity drinks---good news. You get an overdose of calories and sugar so your muffin top can expand. Dangit.
Debbie, is there any GOOD news? Must I move to a dry county and live off water for the rest of my days?!
This is real life. Cocktails are happening and you’ll often see one in my hand on the weekend or at the end of a rough day with child-rearing. I judge no one. The key is MODERATION. Heavy drinkers are more likely to stall weight loss and move into the obese category. The “beer gut” label is real. Having one a day is not a big deal if you are eating healthy otherwise.
If you know booze are part of your day, here’s your game plan:
Adjust your eating for the day BEFORE you start drinking. Eat less starchy carbs and allow zero desserts that day. Think of it as a swap instead of deprivation. When alcohol is combined with fat and starchy carbs, you are setting yourself up for fat storage. Focus on lean protein, green veggies, and a gallon of water beforehand.
WHILE drinking, eat lean proteins like beef, chicken, seafood, or turkey. You want your blood sugar to stay level.
Drink more. Water, that is. Alcohol dehydrates (and makes you act the fool) so soothe your kidneys and help your metabolism by drinking a full 8-ounce cup of water after every cocktail. Don’t even ORDER the next glass until you have finished the water (this may keep you out of jail too).
Don’t “save money” by ordering pitchers. You’ll just drink more and be filled with regrets later.
Red wine is best with the bioflavonoids.
White wine won’t make you as hungry as other alcohol beverages.
Sparkling wine is better for you than margaritas (unless you’re Debbie).
Sangria is better for you than a mojito (“Hey, look, there’s fruit!”).
Dark beer is your best option in the beer department, not causing the “where are the pretzels?” effect. The bitters help suppress the appetite.
Choose top-shelf liquors, especially the clear ones. No fake colors or additives
Mixers = trouble. This is when the sugary calories add up. Go for club soda or seltzer. Tonic or juice is too many calories. Colorful drinks are pretty, but saddlebags are not. Add some lemon or lime to add flavor.
Allllllll this said, life is short and sometimes being told you “shouldn’t” or “cannot” have something just triggers your unrelenting desire for that thing. If you want a drink, have a drink.
If you want 12 drinks, call a sponsor. I’m joking. But balance is key. Don’t get hammered on the regular, drink water and eat healthy. Cheers!