In an ideal weight loss world, giving up social drinking would come easy. But let’s be honest: as much as we try to avoid alcohol while on a diet, sometimes there’s nothing better than kicking back and having a drink after a long day. Though alcohol can help some of us wind down, it can actually do us more harm than good at excessive amounts overtime. In fact, alcohol can sabotage our weight loss efforts by temporarily slowing down the metabolism, putting a pause on burning belly fat in order to work harder on flushing out alcohol from our system. Knowing that, we still cannot resist the temptation of going to happy hour or ordering a drink with dinner. So the question is, how can we still enjoy social drinking and stay within healthy limits? Here are 5 useful tips.
Tip #1. Stick to a Plan
Certain drinks can increase your appetite and since alcohol can reduce our ability to make diet appropriate decisions, it’s important to create an eating plan before going out for dinner. Make sure to scope out restaurants ahead of time and decide what foods you can order from their menu and set an order limit for yourself. For example, order an appetizer to share and allow yourself one sensible size entrée and one drink.
Tip #2. Eat Before You Drink
Most cocktails are loaded with simple carbohydrates, which can spike up blood sugar levels and later cause it to crash, leaving the body ravenous. By the end of the night, we’ve not only downed a few sugary alcoholic drinks already, but also had a dinner-sized meal for a second time. After a few of these nights on repeat, it’s no wonder our waistline has disappeared. So, before having a drink, it is recommended to fuel up on a quality meal or snack that is rich in protein, fiber and healthy fats such as Greek yogurt and berries or almond butter with an apple to help stabilize blood sugar levels. You can also have a shake of Almased with 1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds and 1 tsp of walnut oil.
Tip #3. Choose Skinny Drinks Fewer than 200 Calories
This will require some research ahead of time. Generally cocktails tend to be full of calories and sugar. When ordering cocktails, ask for half the amount of sugar/syrup or refrain from adding it altogether and have a single shot instead. But if that does not float your boat, ask for a cocktail with tonic water or diet coke or cranberry instead of regular juice and soda. For beers, choose light over dark beers since they are lower in calories and carbs. Champagnes and white wines are a wiser low calorie choice among all alcoholic drinks.
Tip #4. Allow Yourself One to Two Drinks, tops
Moderate drinking for women is by definition having no more than one drink per day and for men no more than two drinks per day. Cutting yourself off at one or two drinks can help you stave off calories and prevent you from sabotaging your diet. Even if you do not drink moderately, but rather binge drink here and there at occasional events, it is still recommended to have at most one to two drinks per day to help keep your waistline in check. Keep in mind, drinking four drinks in one night each week can lead to an unhealthy ten pounds of weight gain in one year.
Tip #5. Stay Hydrated
Alcohol acts as a diuretic causing our body to flush out water, leaving us dehydrated and thirsty at the end of the night. Since our brain can easily mistake thirst signals for hunger, making it easy for us to indulge in large portions and high carb and fat foods, it is important to drink plenty of water during a night out. Make sure to alternate a glass of water with every drink you have to keep your body hydrated and lessen the effects of any dreadful hangovers the next day.
Remember, if you can avoid alcohol altogether during a diet, that would be the best for your health and weight loss efforts; but if you must drink, make sure to plan, eat before you drink, choose alcoholic drinks wisely, drink moderately and stay hydrated.
Disclaimer: Almased does not advocate or encourage the abuse of alcoholic beverages. Please drink responsibly and with moderation and do not drink and drive.