Can You Drink Alcohol and Get Lean?

A glass of whiskey strained over ice in a tumbler.

Diet and exercise are the first things most people look to when considering weight loss. However, for many of us, alcohol intake should be at the top of that list too.  Alcohol is calorie dense.  For example, drinking 2 glasses of wine with dinner totals around 620 calories alone. Coming off a weekend, or spending time with friends and family surrounding the holidays, it’s not surprising that many questions surround alcohol consumption and weight loss. There’s often some debate about whether one can drink alcohol and get lean. The short answer is YES, but as with all things quantity and quality matter.

Admittedly, I too enjoy my favorite cocktails, beer and wine.  More often than not, an adult beverage goes well with a good meal or social occasions.   Many clients upon their enrollment in a customized meal plan with Healthy Meals, Inc. will want us to know about the libations they enjoy and account for them when customizing their daily meal regimen.  For many people, alcohol consumption can be limiting in getting optimal results from their nutrition plan.

Everything in Moderation

Although one glass of wine or a beer generally won’t blow you out of the water, when alcohol consumption becomes habitual (like a binge on weekends or frequently with work lunches or dinners) it WILL be a major hindrance to your weight loss progress.

As far as getting lean is concerned, even moderate alcohol consumption can hold you back.  Not only do alcoholic drinks have dense caloric amounts (7 calories per gram), but your body has to metabolize the alcohol before burning off all the other food you’ve eaten. So your body is processing the alcohol and won’t get around to the food you’ve eaten earlier.  This interruption slows down your metabolic rate and reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy.

The occasional alcoholic drink can be healthy and relaxing. Research does seem to indicate that moderate alcohol consumption is actually healthier than not drinking at all. However, its important to note that these are epidemiological studies, where other lifestyle factors may have an influence.

Alcohol and Inhibition

The real danger of alcohol, when it comes to weight loss goals, is that it lowers your inhibitions. This might seem like a good idea if you’re working up the courage to hit the dance floor. It’s not nearly as useful when it comes to food. You know how appealing food seems to be when you’ve been drinking?  Those greasy fries you normally would avoid while engaged in a diet meal plan suddenly become enormously enticing.

Think also about how you feel the day after a night of heavy drinking. You’re tired, don’t feel like doing much, and probably aren’t very motivated to be careful with your food intake. So you’ll probably skip your workout and opt for some easy, comforting food to get you through the day. So a night of extra calories from food and alcohol, is followed up with a lazy day and more extra calories.

Do that most weekends and you’ll keep getting held back from making real progress with your physique, even if you’re totally on track with your workouts and nutrition throughout the week.

Be aware of alcohol’s impact on your behavior. Try to manage your alcohol intake so that you enjoy yourself, but don’t totally screw up everything else.  Plenty of fluids, balanced meals, and getting in some exercise can help you feel fresh ‘n lean and make ready to tackle a productive week.

You can drink modest amounts of alcohol and get lean.

Just be aware of its effects and drink wisely Kansas City!

Healthy Meals, Inc. can help you balance all the aspects of your health regimen, whether it be diet, exercise, or even alcohol consumption.

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Scott Kluck

Scott Kluck

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Scott Kluck
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