29 Dec How to Party without Putting on the Pounds
By: Tanya Burk
I need to preface this blog by saying the information included is for the occasional party goer. If you are someone who likes a few drinks on New Year’s Eve, a wedding, or other special occasions, this information will be helpful for you. Even if you allow yourself one night a week to go out and have a few social drinks, you’ll find this blog beneficial. If you, on the other hand, are someone who likes to enjoy drinks several times a week, sadly your practice makes it very hard to stop the pounds from accumulating. The younger you are, the slower it may take the pounds to show up, but they will come! Alcohol temporarily keeps your body from burning fat. Your body can’t store calories from alcohol for later, the way it does with food calories. Your body has to literally push pause on your metabolism in order to break down the alcohol calories first. Whatever you last ate gets stored as fat! Some studies indicate that metabolism is slowed down for up to 48 hours after consuming alcohol. Imagine doing this to your body several times a week! See how the pounds can slowly but surely accumulate? Drinking occasionally can be done without totally sabotaging your fitness agenda though! Here are a few tips to remember when you occasionally want to indulge in an adult beverage, but don’t want to waste your efforts to be fit and healthy.
Make sure you have eaten something before you consume your drink. I know, I know – I just said that whatever you eat before you drink is going to be stored as fat. Remember this though; many drinks are loaded with carbohydrates. If you eat something with protein, a little fiber, and some healthy fat before you consume your drink, that will help stabilize your blood sugar and insulin levels. This process helps the alcohol from absorbing too quickly and keeps the diet-damaging effects at a minimum. This healthy meal will also make you feel a little fuller, so when the alcohol makes the inhibitions go down, you won’t be as quick to hit the buffet table!
When you choose your drink, choose wisely! Drinks that have fewer ingredients tend to be lighter in their caloric weight. The website and app “Get Drunk Not Fat” has a table that highlights calories per serving, carbs per serving, calories from alcohol, and the alcohol percent by volume. Both can be handy resources for ordering drinks that will least damage your fitness efforts. Take note that booze alone has 7 calories per gram. That makes it the second-most calorie dense macronutrient. This alone can make a straight shot of alcohol over 100 calories – now throw in the other ingredients to your favorite shot (let alone your favorite drink) and look at all of those calories! The juices used to make most mixed drinks are full of sugar and calories. Calories add up fast and come off slow, but they come off even slower when there is alcohol involved. Choosing a drink made “skinny” or made with club soda (which dilutes alcohol and is calorie/sugar free) is best. Wine is full of carbohydrates (it’s made from fruit), but it is a
better choice than beer. Beer should be avoided totally; it will definitely add to your waist line (can someone say beer belly)?! I have a personal friend whose husband has Parkinson’s disease, and because of the disease he was losing too much weight. After trying several avenues to put weight back on with no success, his doctor finally had him start drinking beer daily, and guess what? Yep – he ended up gaining weight – so avoid the beer!
Avoid salty snacks when drinking. They will make you want to drink more. Drink as much water as possible while indulging in alcohol. Try to have two drinks of water for every one drink of alcohol. Avoid sugary foods and high carbohydrate snacks while drinking (and always)! Enjoy in moderation. Have some fun and keep yourself fit in the process!