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Can you drink alcohol while trying to lose weight?

Short answer is Yes. But you must be strategic about it!
Alcohol Macros
Alcohol Macros

By Mandra Taulu, Owner at Wynyard

According to a study at Stanford University only 5% of people who lose weight keep it off. Why? Because of a combination of crash dieting and not building sustainable habits. Let’s be honest. Alcohol is part of our culture. We celebrate with a cheer of an alcoholic beverage; we catch up with friends and family over a drink.

Much of the problem is not always the alcohol itself but the behaviours around alcohol consumption. When under the influence we make bad eating decisions, perhaps seeking fatty foods to soak up the alcohol. Furthermore, when we’re hungover, we tend to lie in bed and not move the body.

Remember the key to weight loss is Eat Better, Move More!

It’s generally not the calories in alcohol that lead to weight gain but the toxins that inhibit your metabolism. There are 2 functions of your metabolism: Conversion of food to energy; the removal of metabolic wastage i.e. toxins in alcohol. More often than not, your body will prioritize the latter. What does this mean? In the morning when you’re feeling hungover and opt for the big breakfast option, before your body can even metabolise last night’s food consumption it’s trying to get rid of the toxins (i.e. Alcohol), let alone the big breakfast, compounding the effect of weight gain.

So here are some tips.

  • Give yourself a drinking budget. “I’m only going to drink 5 drinks tonight.” You’ll be surprised how much fun you can still have on only 5 drinks. Plus, you’ll appreciate each drink more knowing you have a budget.
  • Use your food diary and log in your drinks first to know what your remaining macros are for the day and select your food choices accordingly.
  • Go to the event on a full stomach so you don’t make unhealthy eating choices.
  • Avoid sugar mixers such as coke and juice as they’ll carry many of the calories.
  • Drink water between drinks, so your drink less and you feel less hungover in the morning
  • Plan some exercise on the day of to ensure that you compensate for any additional calorie consumption, but also, it’ll make you feel good and confident. Often people warm up with pre drinks to boost confidence and energy. Instead, boost that confidence and energy with a quick weights session, and look good and feeling good.
  • When you wake up the next morning before you eat any food grab a bottle of water and go for a 30 min walk. It’ll boost your energy and burn excess calories.
  • Have fun and enjoy the company more than the alcohol!

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