Hey Angels and Alphas,
Whether you’re on a weight loss journey or not, we all know mixing, mingling, and making merry this holiday wouldn’t be the same without parties and get-togethers usually associated with alcohol.
But for those of us who have a goal to neutralize weight gain as much as possible, adding more alcohol to the equation will make this journey a tough one to balance.
Let’s talk about why.
ALCOHOL IS A MASSIVE SOURCE OF CALORIES
Partying with alcohol is fun because human beings tend to like the feeling of being intoxicated, but this intoxication comes with a massive calorie price tag. One gram of alcohol will be about 7 calories, which is generally more than one gram of carbohydrates and one gram of protein. It’s still less than one gram of fat, though.
YOUR BODY DOES NOT BURN EXTRA CALORIES TO METABOLIZE ALCOHOL
Unlike what we do when we digest carbs, fat, and protein. This phenomenon, called the thermic effect of food, will refer to the energy our body uses to digest food into smaller, more absorbable components. But because alcohol is so easy to absorb, it enters out bloodstream without burning any extra calories.
YOUR LIVER DOES ALL THE HEAVY DUTY
Because alcohol is essentially seen as a toxin, the liver will prioritize metabolizing alcohol first. This means you won’t be burning calories from other sources while this is happening. The liver will only be able to clear the alcohol at a rate of around one ounce per hour, which is why consuming more than this will leave you feeling tipsy and intoxicated.
ALCOHOL MAKES YOUR BLOOD SUGAR DROP
And this drop will always make you reach for more carbs. The liver helps keep your blood sugar steady, but if your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol and cannot do this effectively, your blood sugar will drop and stay low for as long as the alcohol is metabolized. This explains why we always tend to crave carbs when we wake up the next day with a heavy headache.
ALCOHOL CALORIES TEND TO BE STORED AS FAT
This is true for pretty much all the extra calories eaten regardless of the source. But what actually makes alcohol calories worse is that they’re stored in your liver first. It takes time for the liver to ship out all of the alcohol-induced fat so it can be properly stored in your fat cells. if your liver doesn’t do this quickly enough, or if you start drinking too much, too often, the fat is going to stay stuck between your liver and around your abdomen, giving you what people tend to call a “beer belly.”
But all of this, of course, doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid alcohol in the social settings around the holiday time. We’ve compiled a list of great tips you can use to prevent yourself from gaining too much unnecessary weight from your holiday cheer.
#1 POUR YOURSELF HALF AS MUCH AS YOU’RE USED TO
If you can limit your drinks to one or two per party, you’ll be golden. “Pouring half” is a great way to limit yourself as you would when you’re exercising portion control.
#2 AVOID MIXED DRINKS HIGH IN CALORIES
Margaritas, mudslides, eggnog, and other sugary mixed drinks should be avoided… or if you’re going to be drinking them, consider them to be your dessert for the night.
#3 ALWAYS DRINK WATER IN-BETWEEN DRINKS
You’ll stay well hydrated and you’ll be equipping your body with the water it needs to handle alcohol-induced dehydration.
#4 TAKE YOUR SIPS SLOWLY
Actually take the time to enjoy your alcoholic beverage. This way, you won’t feel the need to drink more and more throughout the night.
#5 SET AN ALCOHOL CALORIE BUDGET
And try to keep it below 200 calories. You can also try to opt-in for lower-calorie alcohol choices, some of which include…
Red or white wine: 150ml | Calories; 125, Carbohydrates: 5g
Light beer: 350ml | Calories: 100; Carbohydrates: 4g
Champagne: 150ml | Calories: 100; Carbohydrates: 2g
Vodka, rum, or gin: 50ml | Calories: 96; Carbohydrates: 0g