So as you know from my last post here, I have been working with Amanda Nighbert, a registered dietitian and founder of LEAN for the past year on my quest to a better me. Amanda is amazing and so knowledgable! The single hardest part for me personally when trying to lose weight, is to balance those cocktails. I mean I know that I am not alone in the “enjoys a glass of wine at night” club, I just KNOW it!! Sadly those pesky calories do really add up ya know?? I asked Amanda to give us the dish on what really happens when we still try to include alcohol in our weight loss journey. GOOD NEWS, she has some tips for us on how we can still enjoy a cocktail and also stay on our nutritional path to righteousness.
Here is what Amanda has to say on the matter!
“The key to enjoying the foods that you love in life while still maintaining (or losing!) weight is having everything in moderation. This is true for drinking alcohol as well! It’s pretty safe to say that no one lost weight and built a killer body while drinking a 6 pack or a bottle of wine every night, but you can definitely still enjoy these treats from time to time!
There are both negatives and positives associated with drinking alcohol. First, let’s figure out the science behind what alcohol does to our bodies:
Alcohol is dense in calories, but certainly not dense in nutrition. Alcohol is considered to be “empty calories,” meaning that they don’t provide our bodies with any nutrition. Our bodies metabolize, or break down, alcohol prior to any food we may have eaten. Since alcohol metabolization gets prioritized, our bodies can’t break down nutrients, so we store the calories we consume from food as fat. In a nutshell, alcohol can lead our bodies to store more fat, and more fat is not good for anyone!
Alcohol is not only full of “empty calories,” but can also make us pack on even more pounds by debilitating our ability to make healthy food choices. After having a drink or two, you’re relaxed, more easygoing, and are much more likely to choose the cheeseburger and loaded fries than you are the grilled salmon and asparagus when you’re having dinner on a Friday night. So not only are you getting the added calories from alcohol, but you’re also consuming more calories from your meal than you planned. Yikes!
However, while drinking daily might not be the best for your weight and overall health, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with an occasional drink! In fact, having a casual drink every now and then has been shown to reduce the risk for some chronic diseases. This is thought to be due to the fact that alcohol is a stress reliever, which can have a positive effect on your health and weight. Not only that, but some red wines have been shown to contain antioxidants that have some heart healthy effects.
Remember, the key is moderation. Instead of drinking 2-3 glasses of wine with dinner on Friday, have only one, and really savor it. It’s going to be hard to combat daily drinking with diet and exercise, so try to limit drinking to once a week. Or, plan your week around it if you know you’ll be splurging in some heavier weekend drinking. Make more of an effort to stick to a wholesome diet, and crush your workouts everyday. This way, the alcohol you consume will have less of a negative impact on your goals!
Here are some healthier drink choices for when you do choose to drink:
Light Beer (12 oz): 70 – 125 calories
Truly Spiked & Sparkling/White Claw Hard Seltzer (12 oz): 90-100 calories 2g carbs
Wine (5 oz): 125 calories
Gin and Diet Tonic: 100 calories
Vodka Soda: 100 calories
Ask for a flavored vodka with club soda and a twist of lime on the rocks.
Wine Spritzer: 120 calories and 3g carbs
4-5oz of white wine, 3-4oz club soda, ice and one squeeze of a lime wedge.
Champagne: 90 calories 2g carbs
Cosmopolitan Lite: 75 calories, 1g carbs
Squeeze a wedge each of lime and orange into 1 oz of cranberry flavored vodka. Top with club soda and serve on the rocks.
Mimosa: 75 calories, 2 g carbs
1 oz. orange juice and 3 oz. champagne
Mini Margarita: 80 calories, 3 g carbs
Squeeze a couple of lime and orange wedges into a glass. Add 1 oz of tequila and a splash of club soda and serve on the rocks.
Poinsettia: 90 calories, 3g carbs
1/4 shot triple sec, a dash cranberry juice, and 3 oz champagne
Nada Colada: 100 calories, 11 g carbs
Mix 1 oz. coconut rum with 4 oz pineapple juice, then top with a splash of club soda. Serve over ice.
Having only one of these drinks won’t set you back too much. Just remember not to drink the whole bottle!”
I don’t know about you, but that all of this was SO helpful to me! Thanks Amanda!! Understanding how alcohol is metabolized makes so much sense, and I definitely make smarter food choices when I only have a glass or two of wine, not the whole bottle. These drink recipes have helped me a lot this summer, and will continue to help me not go overboard during upcoming tailgate season!! I am currently on a margarita kick, and I have been mixing organic Tres Agaves mix (low in calories!) with tequila and sparkling ice lemonade (calories free). I hope this post was helpful!!
Cheers to living your life while managing your weight! And call me if you want to ago grab a glass of wine, I am usually always up for it!