Indulging in alcohol while on a weight loss plan is a strict no-no, as it can really ruin all the hard work you put in during the week. It makes you lower your inhibitions so you actually lose count of how much and what you eat after a drinking binge. What’s more, you are probably going to be served food that is fried and high on salt, which makes you want more alcohol to wash it all down. A drinking binge will dehydrate you and promote fat storage. Alcohol also reduces your muscle growth and whether you like to believe it or not, will bring your weight loss to a standstill.
However, if left with no choice—party season being round the corner—here are a few tricks that successful dieters adopt to prevent themselves from completely undoing their hard work while on a diet.
Weight loss tip #1: Go to a party with a plan
Don’t reach a party hungry. It’s easier to be tempted by snacks on an empty stomach. Eat a small meal before you leave so that you make wiser choices as far as food and drinks are concerned. If you have a say in the place you’re going out to, choose a restaurant that serves you at least slightly healthier choices, either from the menu or on demand. If you are going to be at the restaurant for a long duration, decide in advance what low calorie courses you can order. For example, start with a soup, follow it up with a salad and then a protein-based entree.
Weight loss tip #2: Eat before drinking
Eating a small meal that has a bit of protein and a bit of carbs will slow the alcohol absorption so you will end up drinking lesser as you will simply be in your senses longer. Drink so that you enjoy the mood and the occasion. Don’t drink to get drunk or that way, you will end up downing too many drinks and eventually lose count of the calories. What’s more, when dieters drink and eat controlled portions over a period of time, their threshold reduces and will feel the kick even with lesser quantities of alcohol, so it’s a win-win!
Weight loss tip #3: Simpler drinks are better
Make an intelligent choice even if you are just going to have one drink. Simpler drinks are a better choice as compared to fancy ones. Cocktails and other mixed concoctions have more calories because of the sugary syrups or sweetened sodas added to them. Try to have drinks that are mixed with plain soda or water to cut back the calories.
Weight loss tip #4: Alternate your drinks
A very simple trick if you are going to be at an event for a long period of time is to alternate every glass of alcohol with a glass of water or club soda. This will help you cut the calories and avoid people from noticing that you are cutting back on alcohol. If that doesn’t seem doable, then simply ask for a wine spritzer as that will help to cut your calories by half and no one will be any wiser.
Weight loss tip #5: Know your alcohol
A gram of fat gives you 9 kcal while a gram of alcohol gives you 7 kcal. Yes, alcohol contains those many calories and is much easier to overdo than food. Be aware of the calories in your basic alcohol servings so you can make intelligent choices.
150 ml white wine: 100-120 kcal
150 ml red wine: 100-120 kcal
30 ml gin/rum/vodka/whiskey: 65-105 kcal
A can of beer: 155 kcal
Samreedhi Goel is a Mumbai-based nutritionist, fitness expert and proprietor at Size Wise The Fitness Studio. You can contact her on Sizewise.co.in