Now that I have your attention…One of the most common questions I get asked from my clients is: “Can I drink? Is wine OK? Or, what about cocktails or mixed drinks?” As a Health and Wellness Speaker and Coach, education and knowledge is where I like to focus my attention. Once you understand the facts, you can make an informed decision.
First let’s address why we find it hard to commit to a program that includes the elimination of alcohol. I’ve observed that drinking alcohol with family and friends fulfills our desire and ultimately our need for socialization. Socializing is important for happiness and fulfillment. As we age, our family dynamics change, our parents age, marriages may shift, children leave home, and/or careers change all leaving us with a need to fill that gap!
Second, we probably like the effects of alcohol. It may help us to unwind, feel happy and allow us to enjoy the experience, cope with a stressful situation and or simply take our minds off our own worries.
Third, we don’t like being judged by others. If you don’t participate like everyone else, you might feel that your family and friends may consciously or subconsciously form an opinion about you. The consequence of this situation may impact future opportunities. No one wants to be left out. Sounds a bit far fetched, but probably over time it could happen.
Last fall, I participated in a very low carbohydrate 30 day beta test group. The group was made up of over 1,700 members. We discussed alcohol a few times during the test. One of the trainers said “if you can’t give up alcohol for 30 days, you have a bigger problem than weight loss.” I do believe it was to make a strong point that we need to truly be in alignment with our goals for starting a healthy living program and not focus only one aspect.
You might be wondering if I drink ~ occasionally. My drink of choice is vodka on the rocks with lime and a splash of soda. The calories are around 200ish. So you might think a good 2 mile run will erase all evidence BUT… I probably consume a disproportionate number of calories when I drink. It’s like someone totally hijacked my reasoning around food. This situation is really where my trouble with alcohol lies. It’s not the drink but the binge eating that accompanies the drink(s). Logically, I know it’s not right, but “the alcohol” is doing the talking.
These are 5 points that you should know:
- There are certain liquors that you can have plain during your weight loss journey, such as vodka, whiskey, tequila and brandy. These are all within 100 calories per 1.5 ounces and won’t affect blood sugar levels as much as other alcoholic drinks like wine or beer because the carbohydrate counts are near zero. Beer and Wine contain sugar and carbs so they impact your blood sugar as well. Of course, you can look for certain wines that are made without additives or sugars – they are more expensive, but you can always get a healthier version if you love that glass of wine! Read more...
- Ever wonder what alcohol does to your metabolism? Alcohol isn’t part of any food group, because it actually blocks the absorption of nutrients to parts of your body that need them. When you drink, your body puts all the other foods you’ve consumed on the back-burner, and devotes itself to metabolizing the alcohol first. This is because unlike carbs, protein, and fat, your body isn’t equipped with a storage capacity for alcohol, so when you drink, getting it out of your system becomes your body’s immediate priority. Also, when you go to the gym and you have not finished metabolizing the alcohol, that may be all you burn off – never getting to the carbohydrates and forget reducing the body fat. Read more...
- In relation to #2, this is why alcoholic beverages can inhibit proper digestive function and can cause stress on the stomach and the intestines. This leads to decreased digestive secretions and movement of food through the tract, which can affect the metabolism of organs that play a role in weight management. Read more...
- You deplete your vitamin C – along with other minerals and vitamins -- when you drink a lot of alcohol. That’s why it’s a pretty good idea to take a healthy dose of Vitamin C supplements in your system before and after drinking. This can help prevent or reduce your hangover the next day and guess what – it can even reduce alcohol cravings! Read more...
- I know lots of people who think a nightcap before bed is the key to a good night’s rest but you may want to reconsider. Research actually suggests that alcohol can lead to increased periods of wakefulness during sleep cycles. And, lack of sleep or impaired sleep, can lead to an imbalance in the hormones related to hunger and energy storage. Read more... If you want more tips on better sleep, check out my previous blog for tips: Four Tips for Improved Sleep Part 1 of 4
Back to the top – can you drink? My answer is it depends on your goals, how you control yourself when you drink and how often. A healthy lifestyle encompasses all aspects of your life. We work with your circumstances and lifestyle.
What are your goals when it comes to weight loss and alcohol? As always, feel free to share your thoughts via firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!