Can You Enjoy Alcohol and Still Lose Weight?
Time to read 6 min
Unfortunately, changing your plan will also empty your basket. Are you happy to proceed?
Time to read 6 min
Raise a glass Goal Planners! The burning question on the minds of many is whether it's possible to enjoy a drink or two while still shedding those extra pounds.
And considering the 2024 season of Dry January is just about to come to an end, we’re sure many of you are wondering if re-introducing your favourite tipple will end up tipping your scales the wrong way.
Which, to be fair, is understandable considering we often hear that drinking and weight loss don't mix, but is that true? Or is there a way you can still enjoy a drink, and hit your weight loss goals?
Without further ado, let's dive into the world of alcohol and weight loss to uncover the truth and provide you with evidenced tips on how to include alcohol without sabotaging your weight loss journey.
"It's recommended to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across 3 days or more. That's around 6 medium (175ml) glasses of wine, or 6 pints of 4% beer. There's no completely safe level of drinking, but sticking within these guidelines lowers your risk of harming your health."
You would think the simplest option is to swear off the Big A completely, BUT before you take the T-total plunge, understanding the key concepts of moderation and mindful consumption is crucial.
Moderation means finding the sweet spot between enjoying alcohol and not overindulging. The key is to be conscious of the quantity and frequency of your alcohol consumption.
Generally, moderate alcohol intake is roughly defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men, although it's important to remember that "a drink" refers to a specific quantity, or unit measurement.
Of course, if you’d like to go T-Total, whether for weight loss or other health reasons that’s amazing! The benefits of doing so are many, for instance:
That said, we’re here to question if you can still lose weight whilst enjoying a glass or two a week – and, in short, yes, you can! You just have to be strategic in how you approach it…
I chatted with Goal Plans' resident PT extraordinaire, Jess for her top tips on how to strike a balance between enjoying alcohol and achieving your weight loss goals, here’s what she had to say:
Some alcoholic beverages are more waistline-friendly than others. Choose light beers, wine spritzers, or spirits mixed with low-calorie mixers like soda water or diet soda. Avoid sugary cocktails laden with syrups and sweeteners, as they pile on the empty calories.
Explore alternatives to calorie-dense alcoholic beverages. For instance, swap a traditional margarita for a tequila with club soda and fresh lime juice. Get creative with mocktails or try non-alcoholic beers or wines.
Keep an eye on the size of your drinks. Use appropriate glassware to avoid overpouring, as larger servings can quickly add up the calories and grab yourself a measurer for spirits.
It's essential to give your body regular breaks from alcohol. Designate specific days each week where you abstain from drinking. This practice not only aids weight loss but also promotes overall well-being.
Remember, drinking isn't the sole factor when it comes to weight loss. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to achieving your goals so as well as moderating your intake, make sure to:
Regular physical activity is crucial for weight loss. By incorporating exercise into your routine you’ll burn calories, boost metabolism, and improve overall health.
While enjoying alcohol, it's important not to neglect your diet. Choose for a well-balanced meal plan that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
And please, please, please don’t not eat just because you’re planning on having a glass of wine with the girls or beer with the boys. This is the sort of disordered eating minefield we want to avoid.
Alcohol can be dehydrating – if you’ve never experienced the dry Sahara that is your mouth post drinking, you’re very fortunate.
Thing is, staying hydrated can be easy when enjoying a few, simply alternate alcoholic drinks with water! This will not only quench your thirst but also help reduce overall alcohol consumption too, thus helping your weight loss goals stay within reach.
So, the answer to the question "Can you enjoy alcohol and still lose weight?" is a resounding yes, but within limits.
Maintaining moderation and practicing mindful consumption are essential components of incorporating alcohol while on a weight loss journey. However, drinking to excess regularly will likely make your weight loss journey a whole lot harder, if you struggle with this there is some useful information at the end of this article for you.
By making informed choices, opting for lower-calorie beverages, watching portion sizes, and balancing alcohol with a healthy lifestyle, you can enjoy the occasional drink while still making progress towards your weight loss goals.
Now go ahead, raise that glass with confidence, and savour your drink while knowing that you can still achieve your desired weight loss. Cheers to a balanced and enjoyable journey!