So it’s summer and you want to enjoy the back porch, the lawn games, or floating down the river with an ice-cold beverage. BUT you are also working hard to lose weight. Here’s some things you should know about consuming alcohol and impacts on weight loss.
Alcohol is worth 7 calories per gram. This is almost as much as fat at 9 calories per gram and almost twice as many as carbs and protein, each at 4 calories per gram. It doesn’t matter what type of alcohol, however a beer has more than a shot of vodka or other spirit. Wine has different caloric values based on the type of wine. This is because the amount of alcohol and mixtures are different in each. Add a fruity, sugary, or creamy mixture and some drinks may contain a whole daily allowance in one glass!
The next thing we need to be aware of is that the body processes alcohol as poison. This means it takes priority for elimination AND it slows down all other digestion to make this happen. So food you ate just before, during or after your drinking episode gets stored as all extra calories do – fat. This process continues until you have processed through all the alcohol, which is about 1 drink / hour, depending on your liver function.
DON’T Skip a meal to make room for the alcohol calories – Personally, I thought this might work however what happens is alcohol hits your system faster. Then your liver takes on the challenge of getting rid of the alcohol first. So it slows down other digestion faster so your body moves into storing fat faster. I don’t know about you but if I start the night without much food I end up eating later – and usually not a choice I’d make without alcohol on board. So now I’ve got a depressed digestion system and I’ve just added some yummy greasy fried and fatty food on top of it. Double whammy on the weight loss plan.
What’s a party girl to do? First, plan. Decide what type of alcohol you are going to drink, what mixers you are willing to have, and what the caloric content is. Then the week before eat at the low end of your calorie range and add some extra workouts in. This will make space in your weight loss plan for empty calories.
Then plan a healthy meal before drinking and have healthy snacks available while drinking – pretzels, peanuts, and pig’s ears don’t cut it. Aim for some veggies, salads, and lean meats & protein sources. Alternate a non-alcoholic drink (pay attention to the calories of juices and sodas) between each alcoholic drink. You can also make the drink last longer by drinking spritzers or mixing your own with less alcohol per drink.
If you pay attention to your drinking habits before you are out on the town it is possible to have a night out and maintain your weight loss goals. Just remember that drinking does impact your waistline for the same reasons any food does PLUS it takes priority and lowers inhibitions. This might cause you to over eat on your night out (or the day after) leading to more fat storage as your body processes through drinks first.
Don’t forget to call a sober ride once you get off the river, out of the bar, or leaving your friend’s house. With your more fit physique (due to all your diligent exercise and healthy eating) those drinks may hit you harder than they used to.