The struggle can be all too real when you’re trying to lose weight, but you don’t want to break up with your Friday night martinis with the girls or your favorite blend of red on date night. So what if we told you that you can still drink alcohol and lose weight?
As with any successful weight loss routine, it’s important to make necessary adjustments in your diet, fitness routine, and lifestyle. By getting in regular cardio and strength training; following healthy lifestyle habits; and eating a diet chock-full of veggies, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains, you’re off to an excellent start. Losing weight sustainably and successfully also calls for ditching unhealthy habits that are holding you back from results. For instance, drinking too much will not only steer you off track, but it’s also hazardous to your overall health. The bright side is that there are smart ways you can still indulge in an alcoholic beverage without setting yourself up for failure—the experts say so!
Of course, drinking in moderation is always key, but we spoke with The Nutrition Twins®, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RD, CDN, CFT, members of our Medical Expert Board, who share seven ways you can lose weight without giving up alcohol. Keep reading to learn how you can still indulge in a pint of beer or a glass of wine and still shed unwanted body fat. And when you’re finished, be sure to check out these 9 Sneaky Ways to Lose Weight In Your Sleep.
Before you even start drinking, determine the number of drinks you’ll have. This way it’s easier to put a hard stop on things and you’ll know your limit when drinks are being ordered and going around. “We recommend limiting alcohol to one to two drinks maximum per night,” The Nutrition Twins say. “You’ll save hundreds of calories compared to what the average person typically drinks in a night with cocktails.”
If you’re wondering what the “ever other” rule is, let us clue you in. For every alcoholic beverage you drink, sip a lower-calorie beverage sans alcohol right after it. This way, you’ll consume far less alcohol during the night, and you’ll still be drinking something tasty (without the high calorie count)!
“We like GoodPop’s new Mini Cans since they’re low-calorie, yet enticingly delicious and refreshing so you won’t be disappointed when you go from alcohol to these non-alcoholic beverages,” The Nutrition Twins tell us. “Unlike sugar-laden, calorie-dense sodas and juices, they’re made with real fruit juice and sparkling water, without any added sugars, sweeteners, GMOs, or artificial sweeteners, and they’re only 30 to 35 calories per can. They’re also a great lower calorie substitution for soda in mixed drinks.”
Another pro tip? Fill yourself up with veggies and protein before a night of drinking begins. “The fiber and protein keep blood sugar on an even keel and help to keep you satiated, helping to counteract alcohol’s ability to lower your inhibitions,” The Nutrition Twins explain. “This way, you’re less likely to make poor food and drink choices. You’ll also be a bit fuller, so filling your stomach with more liquid from alcohol will be less appealing.”
The Nutrition Twins say this habit may seem pretty obvious, but it’s surprisingly overlooked. You’re doing yourself a massive favor by opting for a light, low-carb beer. Why? “Beer can range from 64 to 198 calories per 12 ounces, so you can cut calories by one-third to one-half by choosing the light options, which is a significant saving over time,” The Nutrition Twins explain.
You should enjoy alcohol for dessert, not as your appetizer. Kicking the evening off with alcohol when you didn’t eat anything will make you feel the effects of it much sooner. This in turn will make hunger cravings worse, and you’ll likely care less about the drinks and food you order. (Hello, sugar-packed cocktails and greasy fast food!)
“Saving the alcohol for dessert helps to ensure you’ll be satisfied when you indulge and have less hours of drinking and less food ahead of you to help prevent overindulging,” The Nutrition Twins share.
When you’re in the mood for wine, choose prosecco! “Compared to other wine, [prosecco] has fewer calories (roughly 90 in a five-ounce wine glass) compared to 125 in most other wines. Most mixed drinks clock in around 300 to 600 calories.”
Making sure you stick to standard wine glasses is a smart move. Five ounces is a standard serving of wine. When you use a larger glass, it’s easy to drink two servings of wine when you think it’s still just one glass. “Matters get worse for your waistline—if you have two of the large glasses of wine, you’ll get the calories and alcohol in four servings,” The Nutrition Twins stress.