Think one too many drinks won’t hurt your fitness goals? Think again. Don’t let alcohol fool you. Trying to improve your body and health with new eating plans and workouts is great, but drinking too much can offset the hard work you’re putting in. If choosing to drink, make low-risk choices* to stay on track.
Four reasons to cut back on alcoholic drinks:
- Keep the extra pounds off. The body breaks down alcohol before it breaks down food. So, once alcohol is consumed, your last meal may get stored as fat.
- Stay within the desired calorie limit. Alcohol companies don’t have to list their products’ calories, which makes it difficult to count calories while drinking.
- Stay away from “empty” calories. Alcohol doesn’t provide the body with any necessary carbs, protein, fat, or vitamins. That means all alcohol calories are “empty.” Alcohol is high in calories and can easily add up to the same number of calories as an entire meal. Save those calories for foods that fuel the body or for a special treat.
- Help the body soak up good nutrients. Alcohol irritates the gut, making it hard to digest and absorb the nutrients the body needs.
Cut back on drinking so the body is energized and ready to kick butt every day. Your body will thank you.
Five tips to consider on top of healthy eating and exercise routines:
- Know what a standard drink looks like. For example, a standard beer is 12 ounces, while a standard glass of wine is five ounces. Know your drink size because what you order at the bar could be two or three standard drinks (two or three times the calories).
- Know how many calories are in your drink. To lose weight, the body needs to burn 500 more calories than consumed each day. For example, beer has about 150 calories, and a pina colada has 490 calories, so hitting your goal could be as easy as giving up a couple of beers or one mixed drink.
- Eat before drinking. The body will absorb alcohol more slowly and can often make better food choices when eating before the alcohol affects decision-making skills.
- Work with a health and wellness coach. Semper Fit trainers or strength and conditioning coaches can help you set goals and create a plan to reach them.
- Talk with a health care provider if alcohol use is affecting personal health goals. Talk with your installation’s dietitian about healthy eating, and find other resources on weight.
If your drinking habits are adding to your weight concerns, consider cutting back or taking a break from drinking. If it is difficult to go a day or two without alcohol, consider these substance abuse resources.
For more information on low-risk use, contact your installation’s Substance Abuse Counseling Center.
*Low-risk drinking is defined as no more than three standard drinks in one day and no more than 14 standard drinks per week. (Females, those taking certain medications or with health issues, or those with a history of alcohol misuse should consider drinking even fewer drinks per day and weekly).