During my time as a coach, I’ve had several clients say they hear my voice in their head like a little fitness fairy telling them to make a better choice. This always cracks me up, but I guess it means I’m doing my job. LOL! I’ve never seen my role as a nutrition and fitness coach to judge, discipline or act like a food cop, though. It’s actually quite the opposite.
Most people are making at least some positive and healthy choices in what they eat and drink. I feel it is my role to celebrate/reinforce those choices that get them closer to their goals, while also guiding them how to tweak the ones that may holding them back a bit. Bottom line is that changing your nutrition habits is stinkin’ hard for everyone!
One conversation I have been having a lot lately is regarding the habit of alcohol consumption. About 98% of my clients drink on a regular basis, and this includes myself. Honestly, one reason I wanted to write this is because the adults in our house are guilty of needing to tighten things up a bit in the wine-drinking department, too! Ha!
It is very easy to get lax about it and before you know it bad habits have set in. The trick is finding the balance of enjoying your wine or spirit of choice while removing the bad habit parts. (SIDE NOTE: As you may have noticed, I didn’t mention enjoying beer… I’m not an advocate of regular beer drinking in regards to fat loss. However, I get that an OCCASIONAL Corona can sometimes hit the spot). :-)
Research proves there are some health benefits with mild to moderate alcohol consumption. In fact, according to Harvard School of Public Health, there have been over 100 research studies that prove that moderate alcohol consumption decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. But the key word here is MODERATE.
With a holiday weekend coming up, I thought this was a good time to get a little real about how our liquid vices play into our goal of fat loss. So let’s start with some facts.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate alcohol consumption as having up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. But this doesn’t mean you should go all week without drinking and save all seven glasses of wine for one night out. This would not only make for a super bad hangover, but also stop you in your fat loss tracks for days.
Where do you fit in? Are you a moderate drinker or is your consumption beyond this and in reality you are actually a heavy drinker? So many people drink more these days, so it seems "normal". But, personally this information makes me feel a little different thinking there are some weeks where we'd be considered heavy drinkers. It just makes you think about it a little more.
According to the CDC, one standard drink in the US consists of:
12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
1.5 ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).
Have you measured out how much you are drinking lately? I have, and have had clients do it recently, as well. It can be an eye opener for sure!
As far as nutrition goes, alcohol is referred to as “empty calories”. These are calories with no nutritional value. Macronutrients consist of carbohydrates (at 4 calories/per gram), proteins (at 4 calories/per gram) and fats (at 9 calories/per gram). In a nutshell, all of these macronutrients supply us with nutrition our body stores and later uses for energy, burning fat and building muscle.
However, alcohol supplies no nutrition at nearly double the calories of both protein and carbohydrates (at 7 calories/per gram). Unfortunately, when alcohol is in our system, it is the first thing our body turns to and burns for energy until it’s gone -- instead of burning calories from carbs or fat (are typical energy sources). Alcohol essentially postpones the fat-burning process and contributes to greater fat storage. And worst yet, the more you drink, the longer it postpones the process, which sometimes leads to days of NO fat-burning. YIKES!
Okay, so we now know that your body’s fat metabolism slows down when you drink beyond moderation. But, alcohol can also cause some indirect behaviors that effect fat loss from happening as quickly as you’d like.
Alcohol boosts our appetite, so it can cause us to crave extra snacks, which means extra calories.
It decreases our inhibitions, so if we go for those snacks or an extra meal, we most likely will overeat compared to what we’re used to.
It also disrupts sleep, leaving us more tired than usual the next day. We all know that when we feel exhausted, unfortunately the odds increase of us kissing goodbye those great plans of a scheduled workout.
So if you are like me and love your wine or cocktail, get real with HOW MUCH you are drinking. It may just be a large reason your fat loss is stalled.
Get out your liquid measuring cup and make sure you are drinking in moderation. Remember, only 5 oz. for wine and 1.5 oz. for spirits per day. If you are in the habit of having more, fill the same glass you drank you wine or cocktail from with a sparkling water or a tea instead. Most of the time it is the habit of holding the glass while socializing or watching TV vs. the need for the alcohol itself.
Would love to hear how it goes! So feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s get fired UPP,