There is a very common question I get every holiday season….
“What about alcohol?”
With the holidays fast approaching so are the countless holiday parties with friends, family get togethers, and work events! What does this mean? I know the biggest challenge for a lot of people is to keep from getting too tired and stressed out, and then “soothing” themselves with holiday treats.
However, because overindulgence is the tendency during the holidays, I want to talk about keeping your alcohol consumption in check.
You’ve worked/are working really hard to accomplish your nutrition and fitness goals – this is one area where all that hard work can quickly be diminished if not kept under control.
Keep in Mind Four Important Tidbits.
- Alcohol (no matter the form) Acts as a Diuretic. This means that you’re going to experience dehydration much faster due to loss of fluids and electrolytes. Dehydration is a huge contributor to fatigue, and that tells me your workouts are going to be directly affected. No way can you effectively complete a Natalie Jill workout after a big night of drinking!
- You’re Trying to LOSE Weight and Lean Out, Not GAIN It! There are at least 80 calories in a 3.5oz glass of wine. Does anyone just drink 3.5oz? Do you even know what that looks like? It’s TINY! A regular beer is in the 135 calorie range, and we all know that mixed drinks are a caloric nightmare (a margarita is 400-600 calories!). All of these additional un-tracked calories push your progress backwards, and you might notice an increased level of belly fat (i.e. “beer belly”) as you begin 2013.
- Alcohol Interferes With Protein Synthesis. I often talk about how increased lean muscle mass is an important step towards maintaining a speedy metabolism and changing the overall shape of your body. However, alcohol interferes with protein synthesis, so you might see a reduction in your lean muscle mass if you decide to partake in excess drinking on a regular basis.
- Mindless Eating Happens! I know from my own personal experience, that mindless drinking and eating go hand-in-hand. Not only are you consuming excess calories from multiple beverages, you’re now feeling munchy and the appetizer table is quite appealing. Why is this? Alcohol causes extreme spikes in insulin levels (basically a sugar rush) which encourages the body to store fat, and then you drop into a hypoglycemic state that makes you crave sugary treats. Ultimately, all of the extra snacks you decide to consume are just an additional blow to your progress.
Am I Scaring You? Am I Ruining Your Plans to Go Out and Have Fun?
I hope not, because there are options…
“Remember, it’s all about moderation and making smart choices!”
I have a few guidelines for when I know I’m attending or hosting an event that involves alcohol:
Add Water: For every alcoholic beverage I consume, I have the equivalent serving of water. In fact, I start off my evening with at least 10-12oz of healthy H2O with lemon. It might mean more trips to the ladies room for me, but it helps keep me hydrated and feeling alert. That alertness keeps me aware of my actions and I can stay in check. At the end of the evening, my insulin levels are steady, I don’t snack, and I don’t wake up the next day feeling absolutely parched.
Consider Wine Spritzers: When I do consume alcoholic beverages, I personally prefer wine spritzers. Knowing that all those calories can quickly add up over the course of a fun night, I make moderation easier by cutting my alcohol intake in half by adding carbonated water.
If you’re hosting a party, I absolutely LOVE an option like Bon Affair. It’s an all natural pre-bottled wine spritzer that uses purified carbonated water and added electrolytes.
Honestly, it’s my dream drink. You can check it out for yourself HERE. I’m hoping some of my local restaurants or bars will be carrying it this holiday season, but if not, just ask your friendly bartender for the same or order it online.
I love it SO much that they have heard this from me countless times.
They have also generously agreed to offer my friends 10% off online orders just by mentioning “NATALIEJILL” at checkout.
If You Prefer Mixed Drinks, keep the calorie count low by staying away from high-sugar alcohols (i.e. rum), added fruits or syrups, and high-calorie sodas. If you love gin and tonics, ask for diet tonic and load up on the limes. Frozen drinks are basically desserts in a glass, and you can easily consume your complete daily caloric content in 1-2 drinks (A mudslide? – Forget about it!!!). If beer is your drink of choice, there are some decent low calorie/low carb options available. The higher the alcohol content and the darker the beer, the higher the calorie count.
Never Go Hungry! Finally, never leave the house to go to an event on an empty stomach. You’re guaranteeing yourself a challenging evening of over-consumption and feeling terrible the next day. A healthy snack before you leave along with a big glass of water will keep you calm, steady, and capable of making rational choices.
If you have no time for a snack, grab a handful of almonds or other nuts for your purse or pocket. Nuts contain fiber, protein and some healthy fat, which WILL help control that hunger and over-consumption.
Excuses or Solutions, YOU decide- Natalie Jill