Every year around the Christmas holidays, people's schedules are filled with loads of Christmas parties and gatherings where there is an abundance of food and the alcohol is flowing. But how do you maintain that body you've worked so hard for all year, as well as enjoy yourself along the way? Read on to find out how...
By now, most people know that alcohol and weight loss do not come hand-in-hand. But there are better options and smarter choices you could be making when it comes to that night out. When you go out for a night of drinking, not only are you drinking excess calories, but a high percentage of people admit to induldging in fatty foods the day after drinking such as pizza, burgers and chips.
Carbohydrates often form the mixers in many popular alcoholic drinks. Bourbon and coke, Vodka Cruisers and Vodka Raspberries are just a few well known examples. When ingested, alcohol is treated like a toxin in the body and is sent straight to the liver to be processed. Because getting alcohol out of your system is the first priority, any foods consumed whilst drinking are immediately stored (in your muscles and liver) and if your body's carbohydrate stores are full, the rest is then stored as fat.
1 shot of a standard spirit, such as bourbon, yields approximately 10g of alcohol. As alcohol yields almost double the energy of carbohydrates (7 calories per gram), this equates to nearly the same energy as 20g of carbs. Therefore 1 standard shot has approximately the same amount of calories as 1 small potato, 30g of oats or nearly 2 slices of bread. Furthermore, should the spirit be mixed with soft drink, another 20g of carbs will be added. This means a bourbon and coke equals nearly 2 potatoes, 60g of oats, or nearly 4 slices of bread. Remember this next time you are out drinking and think would your diet allow for 1 (or more) whole loaf of bread in one night?
It is important that when you are trying to lose weight, you keep this in mind and keep alcohol to a maximum of 7 standard drinks per week. Any more than this and the body finds it hard to burn fat.
These are my handy tips to follow to keep your waistline in check:
Eat a meal high in protein and fats before you go out drinking.
Count your drinks.
Alternate each alcoholic drink with water. The more you stay hydrated, the less hungover you will feel the next day.
When drinking spirits, use water, soda water or sugar free drinks as mixers.
Stick with lower calorie, low sugar alcoholic drinks such as vodka, lime and soda, or try vodka on the rocks.
White spirits are the lowest in calories, carbs and sugar.
Don't eat bar snacks while drinking.
Be aware of the foods eaten on the days following a drinking session, as high carbohydrate consumption can easily lead to fat gain.
A light-moderate walk the following day may be useful in preventing fat gain as it will utilize the oversupply of energy and help you sweat out the alcohol.
Below is an average guide of how many calories are in each of these popular drinks:
I hope you have a Merry Christmas and continue to stick to your goals over the Christmas break :)