There's no secret that alcohol for most people is a very real part of their lifestyle. A lot of people when embarking on challenges or quick fix diets will cut alcohol completely only to binge drink after their spell of dieting and as a result undo all their results. Why? Because alcohol has no nutritional value yet it's highly calorie dense so essentially it's empty calories that if not factored into the total daily intake goal can throw someone into a calorie surplus consuming more than they're expending.
Our approach to alcohol? We know that for most people it gets to Friday, or perhaps even midweek and after stresses with work, the kids, relationships, running around, and the chaos of a big week most will want to just sit back and crack open a beer or pour a glass of wine.
For many people this is where it all comes unstuck, when one drink turns into two, three, four… or a bottle; or a weeknight drink turns into a daily ritual with little dietary compensation to counteract the effects. The key: Balance and moderation. If you cut something entirely it won’t be long until it’s the cause of relapse.
Simply, understand and know your intake goals and make your alcohol and food choices work within this in a moderate and balanced manner. Unlike macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, alcohol doesn’t contribute to a macronutrient group. While alcohol can still be consumed and fat loss still achieved, without the right modifications to other areas of your diet alcohol can pose problems if you’re wanting to shed unwanted fat, look your best and maintain good health.
Here’s our tips for making it work.
- PRE PLAN: Not on the day, preferably prior. So get My Fitness Pal ready for a self tracked day. Prepare in a way that you know will ensure you stay on track, so whether that be getting your other meals ready for the day writing out a plan etc.
- CHOOSE YOUR ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE: So you know how many calories you need for this select the drink and number of drinks you intend having.
The question on everyone’s lips, when it comes to alcohol - what's the BEST option? Vodka and some other spirits or hard liqueurs and a diet soft drink are usually the lowest calorie option, cocktails are very high… Based on this and how ‘compensatory’ you’re willing to be during the day, assess your options:
- Vodka/Diet soda 65 calories a glass
- Standard Wine 125 calories a glass
- Jack and Diet Coke 75 calories a glass
- Pure blonde 105 calories a bottle
- Hahn super dry 120 calories a bottle
* There are ACCURATE Equalution entries for each of these in My Fitness Pal - search e.g vodka equalution. Note: Just because My Fitness Pal has an entry for alcohol that is very little e.g a wine at 60 calories a glass it doesn’t mean it’s correct.
- INPUT BEVERAGE AND QUANTITY INTO MY FITNESS PAL
Begin tracking your beverage(s) and desired quantity. Remember portion control is key.. Otherwise…..
- PRE PLAN THE REST OF YOUR DAY:
Alcohol hasn't got an protein or nutrient density and also is likely to be more calories or meal equivalent to what you usually have in a sitting, so....
- Make your other meals high in protein, low in calories, and aim to get some goodness in your meals. Our suggestions:
- HIGH PROTEIN: Omelettes (less yolks less fat), Chobani yogurts, smoothies, quest bars, bsc bars, the bar counter bars, special k bliss bites, Danone yopro yogurts, Chobani dips and water crackers, salads, light wraps, lean meats/fish and vegetables, rice cakes with deli meats and salad, fruit.
- HIGH FIBER: Fruit, vegetables, purebred bread and rolls, be free wraps, sandwich thins, protein bars, barley wraps, legumes and beans.
- SO YOU'VE TRACKED THE DAY BUT ITS NOT PERFECT... that's okay! Try and ensure that you've at the very least:
- Are within a 40 under or over range of your calories
- Females hit a minimum of 120g of protein; Males hit a minimum of 160g of protein
- Females hit at least 15g of fiber; Males hit at least 30g of fiber
- Kept your fats within 20-30% of entire day
- Don't stress - incorporating your lifestyle is a win and benefit you shouldn't deprive yourself of! The body doesn’t recognise food as good or bad it’s instead recognised for its macronutrient value so within the context of balance and moderation you can have your cake and eat it too.
Pre planning may not always be something that you want to do or usually do, but remember you're on a body transformation journey.. stick to your guns and don't go all 'YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE' in the moment, there will be plenty of time for that after your bod goals!
As part of our coaching service we help our clients pre plan and select a dine out meal within their fat loss plan. If you’d like a customised body transformation plan that scientifically factors in your social events and preferences so you can eat how you want and get the body you want contact us today.
Yours in Health & Fitness,
The Equalution Team