If you’re following your nutrition plan to a “T”, getting out to do some exercise a few times a week and still not seeing the results you want, there are a number of reasons this could be true. (we did a whole blog post about this. Find it here) With the Fourth of July around the corner, we wanted to talk about one sneaky reason you might encounter over the holiday weekend: alcohol.
Alcohol can affect your weight loss for a few different reasons. First and foremost, drinking affects your body’s metabolism. Your liver processes many substances in your body. When you drink alcohol, your liver will always prioritize alcohol over anything else- including weight loss metabolism. If you have a beer or glass of wine, regardless of its carb count, it’s likely to stop you from losing weight. What’s different person to person, is how long this effect takes place. Some have a drink and their body resumes its normal fat burning pattern the same day while others might have a drink and be stalled for a week! There is no way to know how alcohol will affect you, but if you aren’t seeing results on the scale, it could be the culprit. Aim for no alcohol for a week (or 2!) and see how the scale responds. Add it back, in moderation, for a few days in a row, and see if your progress changes at all. If your body is sensitive to alcohol, you either won’t lose or you might even gain. Overall, the less you drink, the better off you are!
On top of disturbing your metabolism, alcohol tends to also alter your eating pattern. You may notice after having a few drinks that the pizza or nachos are suddenly more appealing. You might even struggle the following day, looking for greasy carbs to help settle your stomach or a sugary Gatorade to rehydrate you. If this is the case, it’s a double whammy of backsliding: first, the alcohol itself preventing fat loss followed by poor food choices when you are disinhibited. To prevent this, carefully plan your food choices before a night out and recruit those around you to help create an environment for your food success. Again, the less you drink, the better off you’ll be!
Alcohol doesn’t always have to be avoided. If you are celebrating and want to imbibe, choose your drinks wisely. Here are your top 5 low carb, low sugar alcohol options:
- Dry Martini: With just gin or vodka, vermouth, and an olive or lemon twist, this drink packs an alcohol punch with 0 grams of carbohydrate. You’ll need fewer drinks to feel festive and keep your sugar intake at zero.
- Whiskey or Scotch: Fermented from grains but with no carbs, you can drink this straight up or on the rocks without much issue.
- VSL: Also known as Vodka Soda Lime or “Skinny Bitch”, this drink is basic and tasty. It skips the caloric mixers and sugary additives and gives you smooth flavor and zero carbs.
- Dry wine: First, make sure you’re not drinking a sweet wine, which has more residual sugar. A dry wine has fermented off most of the grape sugar, leaving behind just about 2g carb per 5 ounces per pour.
- Champagne or Sparkling Wine: Double check the label and make sure you’re getting the dry stuff. Nothing says celebration like some bubbles, so pop a bottle and enjoy a glass for only 2 grams of carb.