The holiday season was a great time for work colleagues, friends and family to gather and reconnect at the end of the year. These festive occasions are appropriate times to celebrate and reflect on the many important relationships in our lives. They also often provide ample food and drink alternatives, which can be a real challenge for someone trying to lose weight. Let’s talk about alcohol and how it relates to weight loss goals.
If you’ve been struggling with getting the last five pounds off or your weight loss has plateaued, you might want to consider holding off, cutting back or switching your drink choices. Why? Alcoholic beverages are referred to as “empty” calories – meaning they provide your body with calories but contain very few, if any, nutrients. Our bodies burn alcohol as a primary source of fuel. When alcohol is consumed, it is processed and eliminated before using any carbohydrates or fats you consume in the drink or from a food source. This means when your body is using alcohol as a primary source of energy, the excess carbohydrates and fats you consume end up as fat.
So what can you do when it comes to attending a holiday gathering? Here are some tips and alternatives regarding alcoholic beverages for successful weight loss during the holidays:
1. Choose sparkling water instead of alcohol, adding a zero-calorie flavor, and putting it in a fun glass.
2. Limit the number of drinks you will allow yourself;
3. Alternate drinking water and an alcoholic beverage during the festivities;
4. Eat before you drink; alcohol lowers inhibitions and can lead to poor decision-making, especially regarding food; and
5. Choose lower-calorie drinks such as seltzers, vodka-soda or a low-calorie beer.
Bottom line: When it comes to alcohol, plan ahead each gathering to enhance your chance of success and allow yourself to enjoy this special time with your family and friends.
Chelsie Comstock is a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian (nutritionist) with Profile by Sanford.