How Does Alcohol Fit Into Your Weight Loss Plans?
When reading about various diet plans and weight loss regimes, we not-so-rarely also read about the effects of alcohol on our weight loss process. Namely, alcohol contains many calories, and the number of calories depends on the type of drink.
For example, clear drinks such as vodka can be said to have the least calories of alcoholic beverages, while wines (red wine more than white wine) and cocktails are often packed with carbs and sugars and contain the most calories. Naturally, the more calories an alcoholic beverage has, the more fattening it is. Also, it all depends on the quantity you drink. One drink once in a while doesn’t have to make much damage, while even drinking the least caloric drink regularly and in high amounts will probably make you gain weight.
However, it is not all about how much you drink but how much you eat as well.
If you are on a diet and you limited your intake of carbohydrates, one drink once in a while shouldn’t hurt. But if you try to eliminate something from your consumption, you are likely to fail, because that is the road that leads to frustration, which directly leads to overindulgence. That is why planning ahead when you are going to drink (instead of, let’s say, drinking every couple of days) could work just fine on your way to your ideal weight. Consider it a cheat day, and then get back to your healthy habits. This way you will let yourself have a little fun, but not do it regularly.
A moderate amount of alcohol in some occasions can be healthy.
When it comes to the healthiness of alcohol, many medical experts and nutritionists agree that a moderate amount of it in some occasions can be healthy, but it does physiologically slow down the weight loss process, so you will probably continue losing fat if you are on a diet, but at a slower pace and maybe your body will need a few days after your night of drinking to recover, and those days you will probably not lose any weight. But don’t worry, as soon as this period passes, your fat will keep on melting. Of course, physical activity is an important part of this process, and those that are physically active commonly lose more weight than those who are inactive, without regard to alcohol consumption.
It is the eating after a couple of drinks that gets you.
One of the problems when it comes to weight loss and alcohol is that people tend to make not-so-wise decisions when it comes to eating after drinking. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study in 2013, which showed that respondents usually took foods that were high in carbohydrates and saturated fats after drinking. This is what directly leads to piling on pounds, this late night eating of unhealthy fattening foods, and often not the alcohol itself (even though it does tend to slow down the process of losing fat). So, try to drink small amounts of alcohol when you are drinking, and pay attention to what you eat afterwards if you really want to lose weight. Drinking plenty of water might help curb your carb cravings, and maybe even lessen the intensity of hunger so you won’t feel the need to overeat.
The right way to fit alcohol into your weight loss process would be to stay away from it as much as possible.
However, if you are at a party, wedding, or some other big occasion, and you feel like drinking, you will probably take a glass or two. But if you don’t want your weight to stop dropping, you could educate yourself about the caloric values of the beverages you are likely to drink, and see how they fit into your meal plan. For example, one glass of red wine contains up to 228 calories. That is the number of calories you can eat in one good low-carb filling meal and stay full for a long time. Now you can calculate how many calories you should take in during the day and see how much can come from alcohol. Remember, you also need to eat, and restricting food just so you can drink alcohol could make you sick later. Eating foods that are low in calories, such as high-protein foods, can help you save some calories for that glass of wine.
You should also allow yourself some days in the year when you won’t need to pay attention to calories, such as New Year’s Eve, or your wedding. That day, allow yourself a nice drink or two, without caring about the fattening effect, but the next day will be the time to stay away from alcohol and get back to a healthy lifestyle.