Fifty pounds ago I was living quite a different lifestyle than I am today. My nights consisted of going out and drinking somewhere. Hanging out with friends? Drinking. Hanging out with family? Drinking. Holidays? Drinking. Concerts? Drinking. Every night was a party and it’s how I filled my time. I was young and having fun. It felt like everyone around me was doing the same, so nothing seemed weird about it at the time. I didn’t even recognize that it had become essentially my only hobby. Looking back, it was a problem. When I was drinking my heaviest, my anxiety was also at an all time high. This was no coincidence since alcohol is a depressant, but at the time I didn’t see the correlation.
While drinking can be fun and is often a social activity, it can easily become a problem, or in the very least, a health deterrent. I strongly feel that a large part of my weight gain was due to alcohol. I definitely wasn’t eating well either, but alcohol is nothing but empty calories, and most drinks have way too many plus tons of sugar. If I was consuming a minimum of at least a couple of small glasses of wine a day, that’s 1,750 calories per week coming from alcohol. And let’s be honest, there were nights where I consumed more than a couple, and they weren’t small pours. If you are consuming an average woman’s daily recommended calorie intake on just alcohol every week, you’re going to gain weight.
I also felt terrible every time I drank. I seemed to have grown intolerant to it. Every night drinking, even if only a couple drinks, led to a migraine and and nausea the entire next day. It wasn’t a lifestyle I could maintain and still lead any type of functional life. As it does for most people, my tolerance to alcohol has decreased significantly with age. No more are the nights where I can go out drinking with friends and wake up for work the next day.
When I started to experience health problems like serious gastrointestinal issues and weekly migraines, I knew I had to change my lifestyle. I started with food, not even thinking about what a large role alcohol was playing in my health issues. As I started to eat healthier, I knew I had to cut my alcohol intake too if I was really going to feel better.
With the change in diet and lack of alcohol, my body did amazing things. I went from being on medications for my stomach issues and having Excedrin migraine constantly on hand to being essentially issue free.
I still drink on occasion, but it’s no longer every day; it’s not even every week. When I do drink, it’s in a social setting and I try to keep it to one. If I do drink more than one, I make sure to eat a really filling meal beforehand and drink water in between drinks and after.
I know drinking can be fun and it’s close to impossible to avoid alcohol for most people. I know that if I cut it out completely I’d feel even better, but I also know that’s not realistic for me, and it probably isn’t for most of you either. I think for people other than those living with addictions, having a drink on occasion can be totally fine.
If drinking, make a good choice with your consumption. Limit your intake to one or two, drink lots of water, and avoid any sugary mixers or drinks with added sugar. I don’t count calories when it comes to food, but I do with alcohol since it’s all just empty calories. Keep the calorie count on your choices as low as possible.
Here are some of my go-to drinks when I do imbibe. While all alcohol is broken down into sugars, these options have less than most:
+Dry red wine- contains about .9 grams of sugar. Sweet reds and white wines have more. Avoid dessert wines. They can have up to 7 grams of sugar.
*Unlike other alcoholic beverages, there are potential health benefits to consuming a glass of red wine on occasion.
+Wine spritzer (wine & club soda)- good option to cut the sugar and calorie content of your wine
+Vodka (no flavored) w/ club soda & lime- Regular vodka has about 96 calories per oz. and no added sugars
+Clear agave tequila w/ club soda & lime- Tequila also has no added sugars, but is only 64 calories per oz. It’s also gluten free and has less of an affect on blood sugar than other liquors. It’s my alcoholic beverage of choice when out somewhere.
+Extra brut champagne (less than 1 gram of sugar)
+Brut zero champagne (no added sugar)
+Miller Lite- zero added sugars and only 96 calories
+Corona Premier- without the lime it has only 90 calories and zero sugars
My favorite drink to make is a gin drink. It’s a pretty pink color and everyone loves it, even gin haters.
Here’s the recipe:
- A handful of raspberries
- 4 oz. extra brut champagne
- juice of half a lime
- 1 oz. gin (only has 73 calories)
Muddle raspberries in a cocktail shaker or a cup. Add lime juice and gin. Shake (or stir if in a cup). Pour champagne into raspberry mixture and stir. You can shake it a little, but it will overflow from the carbonation of the champagne. You’ve been warned. Fill a glass with ice (crushed looks prettier) and pour contents of shaker into the glass through a strainer. You can add a few of the muddled raspberries as well if you’d like.