It’s that time of year…cocktails, parties, cocktail parties. Some are pumped – YES, an excuse to be tipsy at work and not get fired (I’m talking about at a work-sponsored holiday party where booze is being served – don’t go to work drunk, please), others straight up dread this time of year because of what the extra alcohol calories means for their waistline.
Yes, you can say no to a drink. No, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. Family time is hard, guys. And you CAN drink alcohol and stay fit.
Honestly, every time I see a new diet plan that bans alcohol, or a nutrition professional (or non-professional – there’s a lot of those out there) claiming you have to cut alcohol out of your life to lose weight or even to maintain a healthy one, I cringe.
Sorry I party, but it’s just not realistic for many of us. (I can’t believe I just said that and I kind of want to punch myself in the face, but I’m going to leave it in.)
Family time is hard, guys.
What happens when you decide you’re not eating cheese all year? YOU EAT CHEESE. ON LIKE, DAY 5. And you eat so much you can’t poop for a week. We’re human, ya’ll. We want what we like and we really want what we can’t have.
“Screw it, I’m going to happy hour and I’m eating all the chips and queso and having 14 margaritas.” No. Guys. It really doesn’t have to be like that. Not only do I know that drinking alcohol can be a part of a healthy lifestyle, but I also know you can drink alcohol on occasion and still lose weight.
You just have to do it strategically, and that is why I made a definitive guide to drinking alcohol without gaining weight.
Here’s what we know about alcohol and how it affects our weight.
Alcohol has calories and eating more calories than our body can burn up causes weight gain. Now, calories are stupid to focus on, but they do exist, and it is something to be aware of since alcohol consumption can go overboard.
Alcohol is metabolized a little differently than carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Our bodies prefer to use alcohol as energy first because alcohol contains acetate, which is toxic. So it’s nearly impossible to be burning fat while drinking alcohol…
However! It’s also really difficult to actually store alcohol as fat. The only way you really store fat as a result of drinking alcohol is by going through the drive-thru and eating a bunch of garbage.
Because our bodies make clearing the alcohol in our system a #1 priority, all other normal metabolic processes are put on the back burner – including blood sugar regulation. Because blood sugar regulation is key to fat loss and a healthy metabolism, frequent and irresponsible alcohol consumption can really screw with weight and body goals.
Here’s the nutritional breakdown of beer, wine, and liquor:
12 ounce beer = 140-220 (depending on lite or heavy) / 10-30g carbohydrate
5 ounce glass of wine = 80-120 calories / 5-11g carbohydrate
1 ounce of liquor = 65-90 calories / 0g carbohydrate
Yeah so let’s take a look at that “liquor” category. Low in calories, 0 g carbs. I like that.
I recommend clear liquors like high-quality vodka, gin, and tequila over dark liquors like whiskey because they’re purer forms of alcohol and you’ll notice a huge difference in the way you feel the next day if you make the switch. I can’t emphasize avoiding a hangover enough, because truly, being hungover is so often what drives you to eat the stuff you wouldn’t normally eat.
Since we’re already being really judgy about which alcohols are cool to drink and which aren’t, let’s rank them in order of “best choice” to “worst choice,” basing it off of sugar content and toxins present.
Now, this is my opinion, and it can vary based on what specific brand of beer, wine, etc you’re drinking, but I’m pretty well versed in this category and I’ve done A TON of research because, you know, it’s a subject near and dear to my heart.
Vodka, Tequila, Gin > Dark Spirits > Dry Champagne > Dry White Wine > Dry Red Wine > Sweet White or Red Wine, Sweet Champagnes > Beer > Sugary Cocktails
Beer is so variable depending on what you’re drinking, of course, but it’s never going to be your best choice. It’s often high in calories and carbs, and many people experience a worse hangover with beer because of the gluten, yeast and mold toxins that are present.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a beer when you want one, but when trying to lose weight, steer clear.
You can drink alcohol and stay fit – here’s how. Cheers!
Put the wine away. Hey, there are worst choices. Us ladies love the wine, though, so I challenge you to switch it up because wine does contain sugar. If you do drink it, drink dry varieties, or just come to the dark side with me and get yourself a Milagro silver on the rocks with loads of lime. Way better choice!
…And the beer. Honestly, there’s just not really a good choice for beer. If you absolutely LOVE them, have one or two. But if you’re planning on drinking more, switch over to vodka/tequila/gin after your second beer.
Don’t add sugar. This seems pretty obvious, but just don’t get cocktails that add a bunch of juices or agave. Instead, ask for just a splash of juice or some fruit or look for a house-made flavored vodka.
What are your favorite skinny cocktails? I’m a Kettle One + soda water + fresh lemon juice girl.
PS – want to know how to go out to eat and still lose weight? Download my free guide here!