#114 Can I drink alcohol and still lose weight?
What a strange year it has been. I know that a few of my clients have hunkered down and used wine to help ease the lockdown pain.
In terms of fighting the coronavirus staying healthy is one of the best defences.
Did you know that there is real evidence that diet can change the outcome of Covid?
A study published in the British Medical Journal found that the severity of Covid symptoms is reduced by 73% in those who follow a plant-based diet.
The silly season is almost upon us. Already we are inundated with Christmas Carols in the shops!
So before things get hectic, let's take a look at the topic of alcohol.
Can I lose weight and still drink alcohol?
Yes, you absolutely can!
But you do have to be intentional about your drinking. Whether your goal is weight loss or maintaining your current weight, planning is key.
By all means, plan alcohol into your week but don't use it to buffer your emotions or as a reward for a hard day.
You might choose to drink at the weekends but not on school nights and that is fine.
Make the decision not to drink during the week without feeling deprived, it's ok to want a drink and choose not to have one!!
It's ok to want a drink during the week and just choose to wait until the weekend. (without feeling crabby)
Often we have the urge to drink but just like the urge for cake, if you wait 10 mins you'll find that you didn't even really want it.
Often you think you need a drink but really you are just tired and a good night's sleep is a better option.
Learn how to turn off your day and destress with your thoughts rather than alcohol.
Your liver is your biggest fat-burning organ. 3/4 of a unit of alcohol takes one hour for the liver to process. While it is processing alcohol, it can't process any other calories, like nibbles or dinner, so you end up storing them as body fat.
I often get asked, what's the best alcohol option for weight loss? A white spirit is usually the answer. Remember, one nip (not a double) is one unit of alcohol. Pair this with soda water or a diet mixer for the lowest calorie option. Just remember, you are still getting the negative impacts of alcohol just without the sugars and carbs.
The healthiest option is red wine but it does contain more calories.
Having said that swapping from wine to vodka or gin with a no sugar mixer has had a huge weight loss impact for many of my clients.
One of my favourite tips is to offset every glass of alcohol with a glass of water. Not only will that help reduce some of the negative effects of alcohol by keeping you hydrated, but often it helps reduce your intake of alcohol in general simply because you feel full, and while you consume water you have less time to drink alcohol!
A standard drink is 330ml of beer at 4% and 100ml of wine. One of my favourite organic red wines is 14% alcohol and in Blog #65, I show you what that standard unit looks like. When I pour myself a glass of wine, I know it gets closer to two standard drinks in one glass!
Let's get down to business, alcohol is a Group 1 carcinogen alongside asbestos and tobacco smoke. It's now widely accepted that the heavier your alcohol consumption the greater your risk of disease or injury. Alcohol is the cause of more than 60 different health conditions.
You can read more about the full list of Group 1 carcinogens from the International Agency for Research on Cancer here.
It is important to be aware of the health complications of consuming alcohol especially as we slide into the silly season. These facts will help you make educated decisions.
New evidence around the health harms from regular drinking continue to emerge and the recommended limit of alcohol for women has gone down to 10 units per week (from 14) and more specifically that's been outlined as two standard drink across five days of the week with 2 alcohol-free days a week.
Many of these guidelines are related to how alcohol is processed by your body especially the liver.
As women, we have a lower body weight compared to men and alcohol is worse for us. We can drink less than men over a shorter period of time and it has an even greater impact on our heart, brain and liver. That combined with the research on the links between alcohol and breast cancer means we need to be careful.
So enjoy alcohol in moderation and don't use it to buffer your emotions.
Thanks for tuning into this week's Motivational Monday.