How to Drink in Moderation and Skip the Extra Calories
When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, drinking can sabotage all of your efforts to lose weight, get healthy and stay happy.
One of the most common ways people deal with stress is by drinking alcoholic beverages. There’s a whole industry that has built this into culture, entertainment and even holidays. Whether that be a night out with friends at a bar, a date with the wife at a restaurant or just a family barbeque - there is always an opportunity to have a couple drinks and enjoy yourself.
While some drink more heavily on weekends, others have a cocktail nightly or multiple beers a day. This can be problematic for anyone trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
The issue is that many alcoholic beverages contain a large amount of calories and sugar that can be completely unassuming if drinking is a regular part of your life.
When you take into account the calories you’re drinking and the sugar it actually ends up making a significant difference in your overall body composition, not to mention metabolism and fat storage.
STRATEGIES & TIPS TO CUT BACK ON DRINKING
1. Stick to neat high quality liquor instead of mixed cocktails.
Mixed cocktails may taste great but they’re usually loaded with sugar and high in calories. In comparison a high end tequila or vodka has a fraction of the calories and very little sugar. Even a Vodka Soda or a Tequila Lime is a much better choice.
2. Choose beers that are light
While a peanut butter chocolate Stout may sound heavenly - you’re essentially drinking a cake in a glass. The calorie count is high, the grains will turn into sugar and the cost of all those calories will add up very quickly. Light beers in comparison will be on average 50 calories less and contain much less sugar as well. Stick to lagers and when in doubt just choose the lightest looking beers. The exception to this rule is ciders - which contain a ton of sugar and still have a light appearance.
3. Drink a glass of water or seltzer water with every other beer while out.
It’s not uncommon on a night out to visit multiple bars, restaurants etc. You may play pool, stop to get food or go watch a live band. A good trick to keeping your alcohol consumption down is to always order one water or seltzer water between any alcoholic beverages. Not only will it keep you hydrated but the time will pass and you’ll consume less over the course of the night. You’d be surprised how good a seltzer water with lemon can taste. You’ll also appreciate the cheaper bill at the end of the night.
4. One glass of wine can do the trick.
Beer is made with grains which are turned into alcohol during the fermentation process. What’s left over comes in the form of sugar. Those sugars come with calories and the excess is stored as fat in your body. Wine goes through a fermentation process as well but many wines end up with much less sugar and overall a lower calorie count - as long as the serving size is right. If you would usually drink 3 beers over the course of a night, one 5oz glass of wine may be a good substitute. Wine is a good way to slow down your drinking with a different pace and taste.
5. Skip the drinks over the weekend.
It is much easier to drink in excess on the weekends without having to show up to work the next day. Instead of drinking on the weekends, fill your schedule with other activities or make a commitment not to drink on the weekends. You’ll be surprised to see that you end up drinking way less over the course of the week and as a result majorly trimming down those calories and your weight. You may wonder - how do I do this? Try staying active on the weekends and stick to seltzer water or other non alcoholic beverages that are low on calories such as Zevia sodas or Perrier.
6. Only drink on days you have worked out.
Not only does this tip help moderate your drinking but it encourages you to work out and makes drinking a reward. When you workout or participate in physical activities your metabolism increases. This means you burn through sugars and carbohydrates faster as a way of recovering from your activity. So, if you have a drink after your workout your body will be primed to burn through those calories, stopping them from being stored as fat. If you’re going to a social engagement where you know you may have a couple of drinks - setup your schedule to get a workout in before and then enjoy yourself knowing you’ve earned it.
DRINKING IN MODERATION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What does it mean to drink in Moderation?
Drinking in moderation means consuming less alcoholic beverages on a daily and weekly basis. The goal is to lower the total amount of alcohol, calories and sugar from your drinking habits. This will help you lose excess weight and improve your overall health.
2. How do you begin drinking in Moderation?
You’ll want to start by looking at what you’re drinking and how often. Once you know this, you can choose healthier drinks and implement a plan. The plan will help you decide when and how much to drink based on your goals.
For example - instead of three Rum and Cokes every Saturday night - maybe you can switch to one high quality Vodka Soda and make sure to do something active earlier in the day.
3. How much weight can you lose if you stop drinking on the weekends?
This depends on how much and what you’re drinking over the weekends.
For example, someone who drinks 6 beers on Friday and Saturday, and two beers on Sunday is consuming 14 beers in total and an average of 2100 calories extra just over the weekend. If they’re not active - the excess sugar on top of these calories is being stored as fat too.
Let’s say they now only drink 7 light beers over the course of the weekend. That’s an average of 630 calories instead of 2,100 a weekend and they’ve cut out the extra sugar which we know turns to fat.
Over the course of a month you could easily lose 5-10lbs alone just by drinking less on the weekends. If you were to completely stop drinking on the weekend your results would be even better.
4. How many calories are in a beer?
On average a regular beer has around 150 calories. A light beer has 90 calories on average. On the high side there are beers with well over 300 calories and on the low side there are beers with calories in the 50’s.
5. How many calories are in a cocktail?
Depending on the mixture in the cocktail the ranges can be as high as 780 calories in a Long Island Iced Tea or as low as 96 in a Vodka Soda.
6. What’s the lowest calorie alcoholic beverage?
A Budweiser Select has 55 calories and stands as one of the lowest calorie alcoholic beverages available.