It’s happy hour and you’re poring over the menu, trying to decide which drink will do the least amount of damage, calorie-wise. We all know pina coladas and margaritas are sugar-bombs and super unhealthful, so you’re probably thinking something along the lines of: “Wine’s supposed to be good for you, so that’s better - right?” or “If I drink just vodka and soda with lime, that’s less sugar so it’s not so bad - right?” The truth is, it’s not so much about the content of that drink, but the quantity of it. Drinking less is best.
Apology: I know that’s not a fun answer, but it’s the truth, and the only answer that will make you leaner.
Truth: All alcohol equals extra sugar and calories in your diet that you will most likely not use… and all of it that you don’t use WILL BE STORED as fat that will most likely stay with you for a long time (unless your plan is to cut out alcohol for a month out of each year to climb Annapurna or train for an English Channel swim.)
Solution: Since I gave you a crappy answer and dropped a sad truth-bomb, I’m also going to offer a totally achievable solution: set a goal of seven total drinks per week. If we’re thinking in terms of calories (and please don’t obsess too much on that), seven drinks is about ½ a pound per week. If you incorporate more standing into your daily life (even just one extra hour total each day), the cocktails in your life shouldn’t cost you much weight-wise, if at all.
If you set yourself a limit, even if you go past it from time to time, it will be by less than if you didn’t approach it with a strategy and alcohol will be less likely to undermine your fitness efforts.
As I discuss in my book The Way In, lasting fitness is about doable tweaks to your lifestyle - and in my method that means: enjoying “Habit Foods” for meals you don’t share or eat on the go, getting your heart rate up 20 minutes each day with strategized workouts that empower you, paying attention to caloric drinks like alcohol and activating your life by making a point to stand more. In combination, the four, doable daily goals will absolutely add up to a leaner you - and one who isn’t afraid to enjoy some cocktails!