So…you’re tracking your food religiously and progressing towards your goals. But, what happens when you decide you want a few drinks?
Instead of neglecting to track, like it never happened, alcohol can be worked towards your fat and/or carb targets so that you don’t go over your calories.
First, decide if you’d rather log your drinks as carbs or fat. Then, research to find the amount of calories in your drink. Take the amount of calories and divide by 4 if you’re logging as carbs or 9 if you’re logging as fat (this is because each gram of carb has 4 calories; a fat gram has 9). Then, you will arrive at the number of grams to factor into your daily targets.
Say I decide to have two 5-ounce glasses of red wine. That’s 250 calories. If I want it to count towards by carbs, I’ll divide 250 by 4 to arrive at 62.5 grams of carbs. If counting as fat, I’d divide 250 by 9 and arrive at 28 grams of fat. As you can see, alcohol quickly adds calories! So, it’s important to plan ahead and eat less fats or high-carb foods at other times of the day.
Note that this strategy should be used sparingly, like once a week or less, especially if you have nutrition and body composition goals. Alcohol slows your metabolism and interrupts your body’s normal processes, including impacting estrogen and testosterone levels. It has also been shown to possibly hinder our ability to build lean muscle. And it can lead to that “screw it” attitude where you eat anything and everything while under the influence.
That said, it’s totally fine to drink on occasion and still meet your goals. The key is in moderation and having a plan. If you’re looking to lose weight, minimize consumption as much as possible. If planning to drink, make sure your diet is totally on point (full of protein and vegetables). That means, if your cheat is going to be dessert, don’t have drinks. Choose your battles. You can pre-log your drinks prior to imbibing, and stick to the number you planned on having. Drink water between drinks. Drink the good stuff – top shelf and nix the sugary mixers and sodas.
The next day, make sure to move and hydrate, even getting down some coconut water for electrolytes.
With the holiday party season right around the corner, this can be a fabulous strategy to help you survive without regret!