It’s the holiday season, and in 2020 no one really knows what that looks like, but if you drink alcohol you’re probably sure about one thing: this year, you’re drinking. So, with that being said, let’s talk a little bit about alcohol. What exactly does it do, and how does it affect your body? How can you enjoy yourself during the holidays without derailing your progress, and still reach your goals? And is there such a thing as a “healthy way to drink”?
How Does Alcohol Work?
Alcohol is what’s called a depressant, meaning it suppresses or slows the body. In the case of alcohol specifically, it acts as a depressant to the central nervous system. This means: your brain! When you drink alcohol 25% of it is absorbed into your bloodstream immediately. This is why (depending on the alcohol content), you may start to feel the effects of alcohol almost immediately after your first few sips or glasses. Your first few drinks can loosen you up, but this is a slippery slope. Once the alcohol has been absorbed into your bloodstream and started to work its magic on your brain, it can be easy to over drink, and before you know it: you’re drunk.
The Effects of Alcohol
Scientifically, alcohol stimulates many things within your body that don’t necessarily lend itself to achieving fitness related goals! For starters, alcohol stimulates insulin production when consumed, which leads to increased fat storage (yikes!). It will also leave your body severely dehydrated, and impairs your body’s hormone regulation. Finally, it impairs your sleep patterns. Many people turn to alcohol to help them sleep, and while you may pass out after a few drinks or a night out and get some “great sleep” it throws off your regular sleeping pattern.
What are your goals? – Will alcohol help you reach those goals?
If you’re trying to figure out whether or not you can drink and still meet your goals, here are a few things to ask yourself:
Do you want to build lots of muscle quickly?
Do you need to lose a lot of fat quickly?
Are you trying to reach 10% body fat?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, even having just one drink could set you back on meeting your goals, and honestly isn’t worth it.
If you’re like a lot of people, and are trying to lose weight to feel better about yourself, lead a healthier lifestyle, and create a long-term lifestyle change, one or two drinks will not kill you. However, you should ask yourself:
Can you ONLY drink one or two? OR Does one or two always lead to six or seven or fifteen?
It’s not ALL bad! – Tips & Tricks of “Healthy” Drinking
To keep it “100” as the kids say, there is no such thing as healthy drinking, PERIOD. BUT! There are ways that you can enjoy yourself by having a couple drinks and not totally derailing your progress. Check out our top tips below:
If you’re a wine drinker, choose Red!
Know the days that you plan to drink, and map out what you will have.
Make sure you eat BEFORE drinking (not during)
Whiskey, Brandy, Scotch, and Cognac are all full of antioxidants and only have 64 cals per serving and 0g carbs!
Don’t mix and match – Don’t start with beer/wine and then switch to hard liquor and vice versa
Stop drinking at least 1 hour before going to bed
Avoid mixers that are high in sugar
Try these low cal/low carb options – Vodka and Soda (68 cal/2g carbs), Bacardi and Diet (66 cal/2g carbs)