Let's Talk Alcohol

Maybe one of your New Year’s resolutions was to be consistent with diet and exercise. Awesome! How's that working for you?

There are SO many things in our lives that can impact this resolution. Let's take a deeper look.

One thing that can either make or break that goal is drinking alcohol, and the chain of events that can occur when drinking..( hello midnight snacks). That chain of events can look like the plan to drink one glass of wine with dinner. Then your host INSISTS on you drinking another glass which leads to socializing and mindless over consumption of more alcohol. Or maybe you drink more to stay social if you are wanting to have fun, let loose, or to deal with anxiety in social settings. Then you see that tray of snacks and mindlessly munch.. Sound familiar?

So what is the impact of drinking alcohol on our goals of body composition changes and exercise? Alcohol tends to be a source of empty calories, and as you may know, people don’t always stop at drinking 1-2 glasses of wine or beers. This leads to tons of empty calories. Consuming excessive calories in any form - food or alcohol - leads the body to storing extra fat and gaining weight, often in terms of excess belly fat, or the dreaded “beer belly.” Alcohol also impacts your decisions on food. Wake up with a hangover? It's going to be hard to lean towards a healthy breakfast versus a breakfast burrito or a donut.

And what about alcohol and its impact on exercise? Maybe you are really sore from the week and decide to have a few drinks Friday night. This is only increasing the amount of time your muscle will take to rebuild and recover! Think about that next time you decide to have a night out.

So what are some healthy mindset exercises to practice when looking at alcohol consumption and what are some healthier alternatives for alcohol beverages? Here are some ideas:

Behaviors:

  1. Go into a social event with a plan. If you know that you have to get up early the next day, or plan on Saturday morning class, reminding yourself of your goals may impact your decision to drink in excess.

  2. If you know that you are going to have a few drinks, similar to the idea of taking time to really enjoy and savor the taste of your food, pick an alcoholic beverage that you truly like. Pick 1 drink, and sip it slowly, being mindful of the taste and flavor, and pay attention to the social setting that you are in, enjoying the environment you are in, and people you are with.

  3. Make it a goal to have 1 glass of water for every alcoholic beverage consumed.

If you know that you'll be drinking, here’s some healthier alternatives:

  1. Vodka seltzer with lemon or lime (or white claw)

  2. Light Margarita

  3. One glass of red wine

  4. Whiskey on the rocks

Try to stray away from sugary cocktails and using soda/ juices as mixers. Keep in mind these tips on nights out and enjoy in moderation!

-Coach Sam



Sam Wheeler