Alcohol and weight loss

Monday, June 16, 2014

I recently joined a group through Noom Pro (again a massive thanks to Sarah from Noom for providing me with Pro for a year!), a small community for people losing weight with the support of the app. It's a nice place to chat and ask for hints and share our thoughts on several weight loss related topics - alcohol being one of them.

One of the group members asked, how to handle social outings and alcohol. They were worried about the calories in booze, and I don't blame them. Alcohol can really throw good progress off tracks, and in some cases the consumption of alcohol is the main factor for sneaky weight gain. People might not see drinks as something so fattening, but trust me - they have loads of calories.

And all these pictures are from 2011 and 2012, just to give the post a bit of colour. ;)

Don't get me wrong, I do drink occasionally. I'd be an absolute hypocrite for talking about alcohol in my blog and claiming that I don't touch the stuff. But since deciding to live a healthier life, I've cut down a lot. I've never been a massive drinker, and my drunken adventures were limited to our big nerd gatherings twice a year. Due to personal reasons, alcohol has never appealed to me that much. To me getting absolutely wasted and not remembering a thing the next morning just isn't worth it. Why spend a lot of money on something you won't remember?

In the discussion I asked why this person felt like they had to drink when going out. Is it because their friends create pressure and they'd rather avoid the grilling about choosing not to drink, or is it just about having more fun when drunk? Can we condition ourselves to enjoy a night out without being drunk? Is it simply socially acceptable to be absolutely hammered and make fools of ourselves, is it OK to justify our drinking by saying that we need to wind down after a stressful day at work?

Going slightly off the rails here. My point is, I really think you can still enjoy alcohol while losing weight, as long as you're being smart about it. Spirits have considerably fewer calories than beer and wine (and more likely to get you drunk faster, hah), and when combined with diet soda you'll be saving a huge amount of calories over the night. For example, a shot of vodka with diet lemonade only comes up to roughly 70 calories, when a pint of Magners is 210. It's also a brilliant idea to drink lots of water during the night, helps you avoid a hangover in the morning. ;) Drinking water will also fill you up, possibly limiting the amount of alcohol you drink.

A lot of fitness people do actually say no to alcohol. Even small amounts of alcohol shut down your metabolism, while it's being turned into energy. For people training towards competitions, early mornings are a regular thing, so staying out late drinking isn't exactly the best option. Most diet plans they use most likely completely ban alcohol as well, no point consuming those empty calories is there?

Will I completely cut out alcohol? Well, I don't see it as an impossible change in all fairness. If I ever was to start training towards a fitness competition, I wouldn't struggle with a strict diet that bans alcohol. I'd struggle with the early mornings more, hah!

So what's my point in this whole thing? If you want to drink, I'm not going to hunt you down and wave a blaming finger at you. All I'm saying is that maybe plan ahead a bit, budget your drinks in and go for the lower calorie options instead of beer. Your body will thank you in the morning.

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  1. I have a pretty similar view to drinking alcohol. It doesn't have the most appealing taste most of the time in the first place and it's not worth the extra calories. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a nice evening of drinking with friends, but it's definitely not something I do every single weekend.

    1. Oh exactly how I feel! I'm quite a reserved person so I have a drink or two just to open up a little bit. I'm very aware of my limits and that's usually the amount I have on a normal night out!