Many people are wondering; can I drink alcohol and still lose weight? The real question is how much. You can eat anything and lose weight but you have to watch how many calories you are consuming. That’s the biggest reason that people gain weight, not realizing how many calories are in their drinks.
Since you are here I know that drinking is part of your life and you are probably looking for someone to tell you that you don’t have to give it up to lose weight. You still want to be able to go out to the club, party with friends or just have a nice glass of wine after dinner. There is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to do this within reason.
Calorie count of popular alcoholic drinks from lowest calories to highest
If you are going to have a chance at losing weight while still having a drink once in a while then you are going to have to know how many calories are in your favorite drinks. Here is a breakdown of some of the more common drinks at the bar.
Shots (1 oz) of 80 proof liquor (Tequila, Whiskey, Vodka, Rum, Gin) = 64 calories
Beer light 12 fl.oz = 100 calories
Wine 5.1 oz glass = On average 115 – 130 calories
Beer 12 fl.oz = 150 calories
Mixed drink (Regular soda with 1oz of 80 proof liquor) = 200 calories
Mikes Hard Lemonade (11.2 fl.oz) = 240 calories
Pina Colada without cherry or pineapple (4.5 fl.oz) = 245 calories
Smirnoff Ice (12 fl.oz) = 253 calories
These values are averages, check your individual brand for exact numbers. I got these numbers from the calorieking website. As you can see some of the coolers can really set you back on your weight loss since they are sugary and high in calories. Adding regular soda or juices to shots of liquor would increase their calorie values to around 200 calories.
Why alcohol makes you gain weight.
Calorie Consumption: Most people will drink alcohol without considering the amount of calories that are in it. If you are dieting to lose weight then this is definitely necessary. Every alcoholic drink that you have will take away from your daily food allowance. The question is do you want to give up food for alcohol?
Mixing Alcohol: The fact that alcohol is usually mixed with other drinks like coke, juice or other sugary mixes makes the drink that much more damaging to your weight loss efforts. As you can see above mixed drinks are usually a lot more calories than beer and wine when you aren’t using a diet or zero calorie alternative.
Food: Where there is alcohol there is usually food, or food soon thereafter. Many students can’t go out to a bar without making a pit stop for a pita, sub or hamburger with fries after. I was one of them. It just tastes so good that early in the morning. This can add up to another 1300 calories to an already high calorie night.
Alcohol blocks fat loss: The reason that alcohol is said to block fat loss is because alcohol in your body takes priority over carbs and fat. This is actually the opposite of what exercise does to your body.
You lose count: I’m sure many of you have been there and done that. After a few drinks and a couple shots the last thing on your mind is how many drinks you have had.
Can I drink alcohol and still lose weight?
Being responsible and accountable is the key to losing weight and that’s exactly what you need to do with your alcohol consumption as well. If your goal is to lose weight and you are really serious about it than your best bet is to drink as little as possible.
If you consuming one of the higher calorie options that I mentioned then there is an easy way to cut your calories.
Beer – Switch from regular to light. (Lowers calories by about 50)
Coolers – Switch your drink to beer, wine or mixed drink with diet. (Lowers calories by at least 100)
Mixed Drinks – Switch the regular soda to zero calorie soda. (Lowers calories by about 135)
How to drink alcohol and still lose weight?
OK so how is this going to work. You want to go out and have fun like these guys/gals.
Here is the strategy so you can still have fun once a week.
- Figure out how many drinks you are going to be having so this is your absolute limit. (Unless you want to make up for it next week. Which you probably won’t.
- Calculate the calories of these drinks.
- Subtract these calories from other days of the week.
So if I decided that I’m going out on Saturday and I’m going to have 7 beers with the guys. (This would make me really tipsy.)
I’ll choose light. So that’s 7 x 100 calories = 700 calories. NO food afterwards.
If my regular daily diet allowance of calories is 1800 then my weekly allowance is 12600.
Cutting 700 calories from this shouldn’t be too hard.
Option 1 – Cut 100 calories from each day making them 1700 calorie days like the anything goes diet.
Option 2 – Cut Monday and Tuesday by 350 calories each by cutting out breakfast or shrinking your meals.
Option 3 – Complete 1 fast (Eat Stop Eat) for that week therefore eliminating 1 x breakfast and lunch. (Do the fast at the beginning of the week so you aren’t empty when you are drinking).
That doesn’t seem that hard does it? Just think, if I was drinking rum and diet coke or another liquor with 0 calorie mixes then I would only have to make up for 7 x 64cal = 448 calories. That’s 252 calories less.
If you are also planning on dining out on the weekend then you can also calculate the extra calories you will be consuming and use one of the 3 options to make this work as well.
Be responsible with your calorie intake and you should have no problem losing weight.