It's really interesting seeing how many people struggle with this. I got a lot of good tips from reading through all these responses. I think it's time now I cut back on drinking socially and save it for once a week rather than my current 2 or 3!!!
Fitness Minutes: (871)
35 1/21/13 9:08 A
I don't. My attempts to do so have always failed so I had to make some major life changes. Now, I have one glass of wine with dinner one night a week. There are special occasions (like going to a game or out to dinner) where I'll have a few beers and an extra glass of wine but I pay for them dearly.
I think this is probably my biggest hurdle in weightless right now. Happy/social hours are a big part of the community here, and the vodka is cheap! I am working towards balance and moderation so I can still have the social outlet and stay healthy.
no room for alchol juice or pop... liquid calories cost too much
Fitness Minutes: (1,207)
1,031 1/20/13 10:14 P
It is very difficult. One way is to order wine spritzers made with regular wine and soda water. Cuts the alcohol per same volume and adds some healthier liquid. Light beers are an option, and if you do drink other liquors, mix with water, soda or diet tonic.
You must exercise more the same day to offset the extra calories. For instance, if you go out drinking at a bar where you can dance then dance some of it off. Alternate one alcoholic drink with one plain water. Another trick is to order something you don't really like. For instance, I'm not bo big on scotch so a scoth & water will last me forever vs getting my favorite beverage. A rum & diet coke might get downed rather quickly.
I found that I finally decided I didn't want to drink that badly - I'd rather eat my calories. So I order a virgin Bloody Mary now & then or have a mimosa at brunch twice a year.
As for the calories, do try to eat lighter that day but something substantial before you go out so you don't get drunk and lose your inhibition for booze. Example - opt for a baked potato with turkey chili for dinner not a green salad that doesn't absorb any anything.
You might be okay once a week but it will slow down your weight loss so once a month perhaps would be more of a treat.
I usually have room for a beer or a glass of wine if I'd like one. I try to save that for nights out, or nights when we're watching sports at home and feel like a glass of something. If I don't have room, I don't have anything to drink... doesn't matter much to me.
Fitness Minutes: (11,988)
142 1/20/13 7:13 P
I also struggle with staying within my calorie range when I drink (typically 1-2 times/week). It may mean losing weight more slowly, but if your reason for losing weight it to enjoy life more, there's no reason to deprive yourself of enjoying life in the present. You just have to make the decision about what is important.
On days when I drink, I try to eat on the lower end of my calories range. Then if I'm going over my calorie range with alcohol, I try to at least stay under my BMR to avoid weight gain from a night of drinking.
Fitness Minutes: (47,635)
820 1/20/13 4:16 P
@ Jojulez" Some folks have a diuretic effect when they drink. Not me!
Fitness Minutes: (120)
2,171 1/20/13 4:10 P
No I don't work out. I'm not worried about it, not the first time it has happened so I know what to expect... I just was trying to illustrate the effect alcohol can have on us, even if it's only temporary.
Fitness Minutes: (47,635)
820 1/20/13 4:07 P
@ YoJulez: I did the same thing a couple of weeks ago. Earlier in the day, I did both a cardio workout and a strength training workout. In addition to all those extra carbs, I was wondering if part of my reason was the water retention from the workout. Did you have a strength or heavy workout that day?
Fitness Minutes: (120)
2,171 1/20/13 2:43 P
By the way, last night I went out and had 3 beers (Blue Moon). This morning I weighed in 2.5lbs heavier than I did yesterday. It'll go away in a few days but just goes to show how much alcohol makes you retain water!
Fitness Minutes: (47,635)
820 1/20/13 1:32 P
"Also, your body retains alcohol differently than it does food calories so you're even more likely to gain weight. Really, I think you need to cut down on the number of days you go out drinking if you want to lose weight effectively."
I agree CreativeCalico. I am not really considered heavy and look okay in clothes. However, when my body fat was measured, I learned I have a very high body fat percentage for my age. In fact, it is on the upper end of normal and bordering on obese. I am sure it is (was) related to my poor diet, which included beer on a daily basis. Inicdentally, I did exercise most every day: (water aerobics and golf mostly), but it was not enough to keep the fat from accumulating.
Edit: It was only recently I learned that alcohol calories are digested or metabolized differently than regular calories. If I had known this during this past summer, I would not have been so cavalier about my beer drinking. I thought it could be dealt with as a normal calorie.
I've had a hard time losing weight while drinking on a regular basis. Even if I don't eat much the rest of the day to compensate for the calories, I end up either using more calories than expected on the alcohol or eating crappy food when I'm drinking. Also, your body retains alcohol differently than it does food calories so you're even more likely to gain weight. Really, I think you need to cut down on the number of days you go out drinking if you want to lose weight effectively.
Fitness Minutes: (88,754)
6,002 1/20/13 11:14 A
eating less on days where you drink most of your calories does two things. the first is that it ensures that your body isn't getting the nutrition it needs. the second is priming your body to drink because your body is starving for calories. and that's true whether you're trying to save most of your calories for a big dinner or a lot of drinks later on. eating way too little through the day primes you to shovel it in later on.
exercising the calories off really just doesn't work for most people. it takes a lot longer to burn those calories off than it does to eat them. having 500 cals of drinks in a night is one thing, but if you have a spare 500 cal workout that would balance it out, why aren't you doing that workout in the first place? and what makes you think drinking would make you do the workout? and why would you suddenly have the time and energy to do this a few times a week?
there are several ways to handle drinking. and i, personally, think it's a good idea to learn how to drink within your limits if you plan on drinking. if you don't drink or you're happy cutting it out, then great for you. but if you are drinking and plan to continue you need to learn how to balance it, or drinking will bite you in the butt when you switch to maintenance. the one rule across the board is that the calories you drink can't be in the first 1200 cals you eat. those calories are there as a nutrient minimum and alcohol just doesn't have anything that can contribute as a nutrient. so option one is making sure you're getting a very nutritious first 1200 cals in, then using the remaining 350 cals a day to have a few. or you can go a little higher if your ranges are higher. option two is to eat lower perhaps under 1300 cals and bank up the extra 250 cals a day for the week [1750 cals] and space those out through your drinking days. if you want to check your math, you can average out your cals for the week and if you are in range, that's good enough. option three is using your maintenance ranges on drinking days. if you are set to lose half a pound a week, your maintenance ranges are 250 cals above your loss ranges. if you are set to lose a pound a week, your maintenance ranges are 500 cals over your loss ranges. if you are set to lose 2lbs per week, then i would say you need to readjust your goals because that is more than 1% of your bodyweight and that may be artificially lowering your ranges. if you do eat in your maintenance ranges, figure every day you do gets you 1/7 off your goal. so if you were set to lose 1lb per week, you would be trading a day of drinking for 6/7lb loss. if you did it for two days, you would be trading your pound a week for 5/7lb loss.
so it all sort of depends on that math. if you wanted to drink 3500 cals a night out, if you did that once a year that would mean saving less than 10 cals a day to balance it out. if you wanted to do that twice a week, it's mathematically impossible to balance out those calories and get the nutrients you need in. if you want to have 3 100 cal drinks a week, that's entirely doable and you would need to be reserving 42 cals a day through the week for those drinks. if you want to have 3 100 cal drinks in a night, that's the same thing. if you want to have two nights a week where you have 3 100 cal drinks, you're looking at reserving 84 cals a day to get those to balance out on a weekly basis. so you really have to do the math. what do you like drinking? how many cals does it have? how many do you want to have? figure that per week, the first 8400 cals you eat need to be nutritious food, at least if health is anywhere on your radar. with an upper range of 1550, that means your weekly upper end is 10850 cals. which means that after you get those first 8400 cals of food, you have 2450 cals to play with on a weekly basis. keep in mind that alcohol doesn't count toward satiety [i mean, i know people who have passed out drinking vodka and never have they said "wow, i'm full from that"] and most people don't find 1200 cals entirely filling. so to some degree you should be using some of those calories for more food. but if you want to drink the rest you can. you just have to find the balance between where you want to drink and where you can drink. and when you skip a 100 cal drink that can go towards your loss instead of your booze.
For sure! I love wine and beer and enjoy it a few time per month. I exercise more or eat a little less (or both) when I do!
Fitness Minutes: (47,635)
820 1/20/13 8:53 A
One of the reasons I'm choosing to limit myself to 0-3/week is that even if I had sufficient calories remaining, I'm picturing the alcohol calories going directly to fat, while the rest of the nutritious calories are burned for energy. It's like the body says, :Okay alcohol calories, you go here in the fat room. The rest of you calories and nutrients, come with me. We've got work to do"
Fitness Minutes: (930)
124 1/20/13 8:49 A
I personally only have 1 drink maybe twice a month, but this is the norm for me and not something that I changed to lose weight.
I have always had a hard time understanding how people have time to go out drinking multiple times a week. Between 45 hours of work M-F, working out 6 days a week, healthy meal prep/cooking, family time with my husband/parents/brothers, and a few other volunteer activities I have never found that I have the time. At the end of all that I just want to curl up with a good book, not go out, but then again I am just a nerd like that.
If you are going to go out drinking then I agree with what many others have said about creating a calorie deficit. Eating on the low end of your calorie range for a couple of days before, and then still limiting yourself with drinks the night of. Even with that though it would be hard to lose weight because at the end of the week how much of a calorie deficit will there be for weight loss when a chunk of it's gone to alcohol.
Maybe go out to do something else rather than drink on a regular basis? Maybe something active or something that at least won't be detrimental to your health. I know there are a lot of frozen yogurt places around here. Me and my friends like to get some low-fat frozen yogurt and top it with different fruit. It typically ends up being around 250 cals, and I can use it as one of my snacks and not feel bad because I am getting a serving of fruit and 6 grams of protein. I'm not saying you have to do that specifically, but I am just saying that there are a lot of fun, healthier options out there.
Fitness Minutes: (157,134)
10,389 1/20/13 8:23 A
Going along the lines of what Dragonchilde said, you could add some exercise into your plan. Of course, as she said, you should never use exercise to punish your body for going overboard in the calorie department. However, if you add some exercise calories to your lifestyle if you haven't already, it will increase your range a bit and thus giving you a little more to work with in the event you wish to have an adult beverage. And to reiterate what's been said, alcohol should be used in moderation like desserts.
Fitness Minutes: (65,697)
2,489 1/20/13 8:13 A
I rarely drink. I may have a glass of wine or two on a special occasion. Alcohol and weight loss just don't mix. Not that I drank much before, I have 3 young kids so it doesn't really fit into my life.
Don't drink & never have, so.....it's a non-issue, something FOR ONCE I don't have to be concerned about!
Fitness Minutes: (47,635)
820 1/19/13 10:08 P
I am a light beer drinker and since Christmas, have been mostly alcohol free. I did have a light beer this evening, but have set my limit at 2 or 3 per week. I have noticed a difference in the "bloat" of my abdomen. (I wish this much)
Fitness Minutes: (67,560)
4,086 1/19/13 9:13 P
I guess I'm lucky, I hate anything alcoholic, even the smell makes me sick..........but I have used wine to clean the sink, rather than toss it into the compost pile.
Fitness Minutes: (1,548)
73 1/19/13 7:37 P
The less you eat during the day... the less drinks you need ;-)
I have the same problem - I love wine (lots of calories and sugar) and frequently have to attend events (work and social) where there are drinks involved. I personally just try to work out extra and eat on the lower range of my calorie recommendations on those days. If I track my alcohol the next day and see that I went over my limit by a lot, I will adjust my eating for the next few days and take in less calories.
Honestly...you really probably can't "go out drinking" and lose weight. You can plan to have no more than 2 alcohol drinks, 1 night a week. These calories would probably work in your plan.
Fitness Minutes: (2,397)
66 1/19/13 1:21 P
I have been having the same issue lately! I always drink Vodka Waters too. Through my own experience, consuming less food during the day because I know I am going out drinking that night is a recipe for disaster!!! I drank considerably less than I normally would, and felt much more drunk than I typically would. My solution has been just cut back on my days of drinking per week. I try to only go out once, but my friends are so social sometimes that is hard. I usually just eat a lot on days I know I am going out, but eat things very low in calories, so my calorie range is still on the smaller end. I am definitely no expert, just speaking through experience.
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
9,646 1/19/13 1:15 P
MAke room for your extra calories; it doesn't have to be on that day; you can "bank" calories from earlier in the week. You have a range of calories, at the very minimum 1200-1550... use that range. Get 1200 calories of WHOLE foods before, to ensure your body gets the nutrition it needs, and save the other calories in your range for the occasional treat.
Never try to "burn off" your excesses through exercise. That can cause some unpleasant, disordered thinking, and at the very worst, can trigger exercise bulimia.
Punishing yourself or trying to compensate by working off your extravagances is not healthy, at all. Prepare and plan, and don't overindulge, rather than trying to burn it all off.
Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 1/19/2013 (13:19)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
2,171 1/19/13 1:05 P
You should only be drinking alcohol if it fits into your nutrition plan... it's considered an "extra" like cookies, sweets, etc. If you really want to drink though, consider increasing your calories to 1400, that way you're still getting 1200 calories of actual nutrition, and the other 200 are for your alcohol. You will lose weight slower that way though. Also alcohol causes a lot of water retention so chances are your weight loss will appear slower anyway because of the consumption.
I drink vodka waters, which I am happy to say is a great way to cut calories while drinking, BUT I am having trouble staying within my calorie range while I drink so my question is this: Is it healthier to eat less on days I want to go out drinking or is it healthier to exercise the access calories off? I ask this because SP suggest to always stay with in your calorie range but I am unsure about alcohol because they are empty calories meaning on days I drink I may only be consuming 1000 calories of food than the rest would be alcohol. I`m totally lost!!
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