Too Legit to Quit: Fit and Friendly Alcohol Choices

I wanted to take a break from discussing my 30 Day Yoga Challenge (which is going fantastic) and focus on something very important to me, something I hold extremely dear and near to my heart, the apple of my eye, the cherry on my sundae (insert drumroll here)…my very good friend named alcohol.

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If you have ever tried to lose weight, I am sure you have been confused by all of the articles out there that state either: alcohol is terrible for weight loss or alcohol may help weight loss (umm yeah, I am perplexed).

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Either way, I don’t care. These days, I detest dieting, loath calorie restriction, and I refuse to label foods as “good” or “bad.” As long as you consume alcoholic beverages in moderation (and responsibly), I see no reason to eliminate something you enjoy from your lifestyle. If you are feeling scholarly this morning, click on that picture above to learn a little bit more about how alcohol travels through your body.

That being said, I also believe in trying to find smarter choices. Why work hard all week exercising and eating healthy, just to blow it all by taking in extra calories at the bar?

Top 3 Fit-Friendly Alcohol Choices

  • Vodka/Rum/Tequila: I put these champions together because they hold the same caloric value. Per 1.5 ounces (which is about one shot for my lushes out there), these delicious choices total about 100 calories! Try choosing low calorie mixers to pair these with. For my vodka lovers (here’s to you Belvedere), crystal light is your best friend. It will add practically zero calories to your beverage and it tastes AMAZING. For my rum friends, a rum and coke is the way to go. Although I am not a huge believer in soda and I try to avoid it, a diet coke may be useful in moderation. Tequila? Well good news here, you don’t need a mixer. Grab a lime, some salt, a few friends, and I guarantee you will have a good time while keeping your waistline in check.
  • Wine: Sometimes we all want to pretend we are being classy while poisoning our bodies. This is where wine comes in. Red and white wines carry a measly 20 calories per ounce. So, for my mathematicians, a 5-ounce glass would be only 100 calories (Look at that math skill, I am so smart). Sweeter blush wines may run a bit higher, around 32 calories per ounce. There has also been research indicating red wine may benefit heart health and even help keep extra pounds from piling on.
  • Light Beer: It’s summer time, you’re on the beach, and nothing tastes better than popping open a delicious Corona Light. I don’t care how badly you want to lose weight, would you seriously deny yourself of this pleasure? Per 12 ounces, a light beer carries approximately 100 calories, where a regular beer can run anywhere between 150-200 calories.

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Although I do not believe in any type of food restriction, you may want to use caution when choosing a fancy cocktail from a restaurant. In comparison to my fit-friendly choices mentioned above, these drinks can run up to 500 calories each. Keep in mind these calorie totals are estimates, as many restaurants use extra sugar and high calorie mixers.

Pina Colada     500
Chocolate martini       450
Coffee liqueur      350
Long Island Iced Tea  300
Margarita      280
Mojito      215
Cosmopolitan       215

If you remember anything from what you just read, remember that alcohol still provides zero, zilch, nada, nutrition. I will say it one more time, slowly, M-O-D-E-R-A-T-I-O-N. Meaning, if you plan on continuing a healthy lifestyle, binge drinking is something you should probably try to avoid. Personally, I follow the 80% rule. As long as I am eating healthy and exercising 80% of the time, I will allow myself to indulge (I truly cannot resist those little golden balls of heaven… Ferrero Rocher, in fact, I eat chocolate daily). Remember, living a healthy lifestyle does not mean eliminating a few guilty pleasures. If you are planning on always being perfect with your nutrition, I recommend never returning to this blog again (actually, please do return, I enjoy a challenge).

For those of you following the yoga challenge, keep pushing because we are halfway through it! If you skipped a day (or a week), it is okay. Roll out that yoga mat right now and get to it.

Namaste.

Credits:
NIAAA
totaldui
sparkpeople
livestrong

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Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

If you are like most people in the world, you are probably on a diet as we speak.

Losing weight is a simple mathematical equation. There are 3,500 calories in a pound. Essentially, if you were to eat approximately 500 calories less each day, you could lose a pound a week (note: this is not taking into account exercise/activity level or your maximum daily caloric intake allotted)

We all took math class, and most of us know how to subtract, so why is it so difficult for people to lose weight and keep it off?

“I’ll start my diet on Monday.”

This is the mantra that ruins it all.

Many people who diet, myself included, fall victim to the all or nothing mentality when it comes to fitness and nutrition. Let’s set the stage, shall we?

It is Friday night and you are getting ready to go out with your friends. As you sip on your one cocktail of the night (or so you tell yourself), your tummy grumbling in anguish from “banking” calories all day, you reflect on the many smart eating choices you made since Monday. All week you have denied yourself the right to indulge in those cupcakes that your boyfriend brought home from the store, you stuck your nose up at your co-workers as they greedily shoved their faces with bagels and croissants, and you exercised vigorously everyday to try and squeeze into those skinny jeans that have been sitting in your closet since last summer.

Fast forward to Sunday morning. After a full weekend of eating out, drinking, and getting fancy drinks from the Starbucks drive-thru to cure your weekend hangover, you pretty much threw your diet out the window. Like most, your Sunday probably consists of you being curled up in your bed surrounded by a pizza box, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and chocolate truffles, kicking yourself for not sticking to your diet that weekend. Suddenly, without fault, that mantra sneaks into your head… “I’ll start my diet on Monday.”

Before you know it, you traded in those skinny jeans for sweat pants, and your new best friends are the remote control and your refrigerator.

If you are serious about losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle, then repeating this mantra on a weekly basis is sure to send you down a sad road of self-hatred and an irrational anger towards your food.

The first step in eliminating this barrier in your weight loss journey, is to stop dieting. I know, sounds pretty crazy right?

Let’s take a second and look at the word diet. Take away the “t” and the word die pretty much sums up how most of us feel trying to function when being on one. It is important to look at healthy eating as a lifestyle, not a medieval torture device.

Here are a few simple guidelines that have helped me work towards a healthier lifestyle.

Stop Making Excuses
The number one reason why I choose not to exercise is because of lack of time. The truth is, I would LOVE to wake up at 10 a.m. and exercise, but that just is not realistic. I have work and well, a life. Exercise should be a priority. Hopefully you brush your teeth and shower daily, so why not put exercise on that list of being non-negotiable? Wake up earlier to make time.

Keep Track

As cumbersome as it might sound, write down everything, and I mean everything, that you put in your mouth (get your mind out of the gutter). You may not think a little bit of extra cream in your coffee or nibbling on that second cookie makes a huge difference, but if you were to “accidentally” eat an extra 200 calories a day, that totals 1,400 extra calories a week! Tip: Bring your lunch to work rather than eating out. Not only will you keep your waistline from expanding, but you will also save your wallet from shrinking.

Mix it up!

If you are someone who can run on the treadmill every single day, and still feel excited to workout, then good for you. I hate you (kidding…sort of). In my experience, I have found that when I mix up my workouts during the week, I tend to be more consistent with exercise, and I enjoy it more. It is important that you also incorporate weight lifting or some sort of resistance training in your weekly plan. Although cardiovascular exercise burns calories, lifting weights keeps you toned and enhances your physique. With more muscle, your workouts will become more efficient, meaning MORE calories burned overall.

Put down the bottle.

Don’t get me wrong, I love drinking Belvedere on a Friday (and Saturday…sometimes Sunday, sorry mom…) night. But alcohol can be the evil nemesis on your weight loss journey. One issue with alcohol is that it offers zero nutrition. It is essentially empty calories. Alcohol also lowers our inhibitions. Combine these two issues, and you have a recipe for disaster. Not only will you be hungry after a night out, but you may also become the next victim of a midnight madness binge in your kitchen (Helloooo there pizza, doritos, and oh wait, are those oreos!?). If you really want to go out and have a few drinks, add more cardio to your daily routine instead of restricting calories and “banking” them for later in the day.

H20

Drink. More. Water. If you are someone who enjoys soda or juice, try replacing those beverages with some good ole H20. Many people do not realize that feeling hungry can actually be a symptom of dehydration. Drinking water will not only make you feel less hungry, but it can also help reduce headaches and binge-eating behaviors. Tip: Try drinking a glass of water before your meal to reduce over-eating.

Break the Fast

Breakfast. Eat it. Enough said.

It is important that you find what workouts you enjoy and to stop depriving yourself of foods you love! Moderation is key and being honest about your eating habits is a must. The only person standing between yourself and your weight loss goals is you.