In most diets and fitness regimes, the role of alcohol is often overlooked…probably because it’s assumed you just don’t drink it if you’re on a real health kick.
However, to many people, drinking alcohol would not only be difficult to give up totally but is highly enjoyable…and definitely seen as one of life’s little “treats”.
So saying that, we all know that drinking excess alcohol in one sitting is definitely rather horrible and drinking to excess on a regular basis is very bad for you indeed.
So, if you want to lose weight and get fit…can, and should, you still drink?
The Government guidelines are still 21 units for men per week and 14 for women, with the recommendation that you don’t drink on at least three or four days each week. One of the difficulties of these guidelines is the measurement of one unit of alcohol, particularly with wines seemingly getting stronger and stronger.
As anyone who drinks knows only too well, abstaining completely is difficult! Just like giving up the muffin with coffee, it takes a lot of will power and determination and it’s all too easy, particularly if you have a partner or friend who cracks open a new bottle of wine in front of you, to give in to temptation.
It’s also true (like many other things that tastes good) alcohol is very fattening. It contains lots of sugar and it does very odd things with your appetite, like making you want a big curry at midnight! It’s addictive properties also play havoc with your mind and willpower…the more you have the weaker the latter becomes.
So what’s the best strategy if you’re trying to lose weight and get fit?
Well, obviously the best thing is not to drink at all if you find that easy to do. Your body certainly won’t miss it and your waistline/health will thank you for it.
But giving up drink entirely is certainly not for everyone…and so we’re back to that wonderful word: MODERATION.
So here are our golden rules on drinking (not just in the short term, but for life):
If you can give up for good, do. And congratulate yourself for doing it!
If you can’t, or don’t want to stop drinking then;
A. Don’t drink alcohol on at least 4 days per week. If you have been drinking everyday, then start the stopping slowly…miss out one day, then two etc. Come the evil hour at 5pm, get up and distract yourself. Go out for a quick walk, drink a glass of water or diluted squash. Don’t have an alcoholic drink with supper and you’ll find the moment passes very quickly…and once you do the first day of the week, then the others will be much easier.
B. When you do drink, don’t binge to make up for the abstemious days. It’s not clever or particularly enjoyable. By all means drink steadily, but drink water in between or dilute your alcoholic drink with water. Remember, it’s bad for your body to drink to excess.
C. Try and stop drinking by 8pm and then make sure you drink lots of water before bed. Late night drinking means piling on the calories before you go to bed, and your will power goes as well which means you’ll probably eat more food.
D. Never drink and drive…just never. So volunteer to be the driver and you know you won’t drink…and you can enjoy the food even more if you’re eating as well.
E: Remember to include drink in your overall “food intake” thoughts. There’s no point in having a great food diet if you then drink a bottle of wine regularly. Everything’s a balance and if you enjoy a drink, then that has to be counted alongside everything else you eat.
Get into this routine and stay in it for the rest of your life. Don’t worry if there is the occasional over-indulgence – your new lifestyle will quickly correct it. You’ll find you can still enjoy drink, and you’ll feel much better in yourself as well.
The New In 90 team
The New In 90 app will show you how to change daily habits and routines to help you lose weight and get fit. Download it from the App Store and start today.
And here’s a useful list of alcoholic drinks that are a bit easier on the calories.
• Gin and slimline tonic, single serve (56 cals)
• Bacardi and diet coke, single serve (65 cals)
• Vodka lime and soda, single serve (76 cals)
• Southern Comfort and lemonade, single serve (73 cals)
• A small (125ml) glass of dry white wine (85 cals)
• A small (125ml) glass of medium dry (95 cals)
• Flute of Champagne (91 cals)
• A bottle of Corona Light (99 cals)
• A bottle of Magners Irish Cider Light (92 cals)
• Half pint of lager shandy (78 cals)