It’s the million dollar question: Can I drink alcohol and still lose weight?
The answer is YES! And…
For women, the CDC recommends no more than one drink per day. Which means:
ONE 5 oz glass of wine
ONE 12 oz beer
ONE 1.5 oz mixed drink
And then we look at those guidelines and laugh, and laugh, then pour another glass #amiright?!
Seriously, though, whenever I’m doing a consult with someone who is struggling to lose weight or just get a solid handle on their nutrition habits, my first question is always about alcohol:
How many drinks do they have each week?
How much do they drink on the weekends?
What kind of alcohol they like to drink.
Do they tend to get snacky when they drink?
Because all this stuff matters and can 100% stall, if not totally reject, any results or progress.
My golden rule for clients is no more than 4 drinks per week- especially when they’re looking to lose weight, or even just looking to clean up their eating habits/exercise habits/sleep habits.
◾️ Alcohol disrupts our sleeping patterns
Lots of people think when we drink, it helps us sleep better, and alcohol absolutely can help us fall asleep faster, but we don’t reach that deep REM sleep after drinking, which is the most restorative type of sleep. With less REM sleep, you’re likely to wake up feeling groggy, sluggish, and unfocused. AND you’re more likely to wake up more often throughout the night and take extra trips to the bathroom.
◾️ Alcohol Leads to Increased Food Cravings
If we’re overtired from a bad night’s sleep, feeling groggy and sluggish in the morning, our body is going to naturally want higher energy foods- like carbs and fats and comfort foods. We’re a lot more likely to grab a bacon egg & cheese bagel sandwich the morning after drinking then we are to stick with the veggie omelette. And that’s not always a bad thing, but remember, our food choices aren’t made in isolation, so the bagel sandwich can easily snowball into saying “screw it” for the rest of the day and throwing your goals aside to eat foods that we think will make us feel better.
◾️ Alcohol Pauses Fat Metabolism
Normally our liver metabolizes fat so we can use it for energy, but when we drink alcohol, fat metabolism takes a backseat so our liver can breakdown the alcohol, so basically we stop fat loss in its tracks. Not to mention alcohol is pretty high-calorie and then we add mixers on top of that, we’re building an anti-fat loss lifestyle without even really knowing it.
Alright, so let’s say you read all that and you still wanna know how you find a loophole so your nightly glass(es) of wine don’t ruin the body and healthy lifestyle you’re working towards.
I’m gonna give you 3 right now, and save the rest for my Fit Summer Challenge peeps.
Each week during the Fit Summer Challenge, we’re going to focus on a different nutrition theme – and Week Three of the challenge is all about alcohol which, as we head into summer, is what we all need a little refresher course on!
Ok, now that you’ve joined the challenge (right?! right.) here are three tips to hold to so you can have your boozy beverages and still get great results:
◾️Stick to the 4 drinks per week limit.
You’ll feel more energized, you’ll sleep better, you’ll eat better, and if fat loss is your goal, your results will come in quicker.
◾️On a day that you know you’ll be drinking, eat mostly veggies and protein.
This might go against the ‘build a base’ idea that we used in college to soak up the booze, but look, we’re not out to get hammered, right?? Since alcohol is a sugar and sugar = carbs, keep your carb intake lower the day of drinking to get somewhat of a balance.
◾️Hydrate and re-hydrate.
Drink lots of water before, during and after drinking. Lots of times that dreaded headache the morning after drinking is because we’re dehydrated. A little ‘rule’ my clients and I have is #waterbeforewine – at least 16oz of water before each glass!
Less is definitely more when it comes to alcohol but you can totally still indulge a bit here and there. Let’s just make sure it’s not negatively impacting you and your goals!