“The #1 factor in your success for any program, whether it be nutrition, weight loss, fitness, getting your PhD, learning guitar or whatever you’re into is your ability to stick with it.
I’ve seen so many people quit nutrition programs because it takes away enjoyment and pleasure in life. Would you trade being a totally shredded model on the cover of Men’s Health if it meant you could never eat the foods you like or, god forbid, give up having a few drinks? Not us.
If you don’t drink at all, then please pass this advice along, but for those of us who like to have a couple cold ones on the course or have a Manhattan or two after work, then this if for you.
Getting into your best shape is awesome, but it’s not everything. Going out and socializing does not have to come to a screeching halt because you decided to make better nutritional choices and set a weight loss goal. I can promise if you completely disrupt your lifestyle, you’ll end up snapping and will go on a drinking and eating bender.
The more you obsess about your workouts and your diet, the more likely you are to screw it up.
Have you ever strung a few good days in a row eating right, then you get invited to a happy hour, have a few fried appetizers, a few drinks, then you just say, “screw it”? You eat like its your last meal, then it takes you a few days or the entire weekend to get back on track.
Does this sound familiar? “I’ll restart again on Monday.”
Now, if you don’t deprive yourself of a few drinks, it’s not a big deal when you do go out with friends.
You don’t have to make a choice between going out and getting in shape. You can have your cake and eat it (literally, but within reason).
How To Drink And Get Lean
Here are 6 simple ways you can drink and still get lean:
1. Drink Less.
Seems pretty obvious, but you’re about to learn about a game-changer. Of course, if you drink less, you’re going to be consuming less calories which is good. Some of us like to go out and have a few cold ones because it loosens us up, makes us more social and feel better in general.
Here’s the trick: THE MAGIC NUMBER IS FOUR
There is a Law of Diminishing Returns that says there is a point when the benefits gained are less than the amount invested.
When it comes to boozing, that point is four drinks. In general, four drinks will get you to that loose state where you feel great. Anything past four drinks is a waste of calories and your chances for getting sloppy start to increase exponentially.
This is the greatest stat we’ve ever learned about drinking.
2. Always skip the “foo-foo” drinks.
Most “foo-foo” drinks are made with a ton of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that make them extremely high in calories.
Generally, avoid drinks with whipped cream, fruit decorations and umbrellas. Basically, any specialty drink you’d get at a resort.
More specifically, avoid these types of drinks:
- Pina Coladas
- White Russians
- Pre-made sweet and sour mix
- Daiquiri mix
3. Take advantage of mixers.
Most liquor has no sugar or carbs and the calories remain constant. It’s what you mix with your liquor is where you need to pay attention.
Regular soda, tonic water, cream and added sugar are the enemy of a relatively healthy night out boozing. Take advantage of soda water, water, lemon, lime and even diet soda to keep your calories down. We’re not big fans of the artificial ingredients in diet soda, but for the purpose of keeping your calories down, it’s okay.
According to the website efficientdrinker.com, here are some stats to help your next night out:
4. Stick with the basics.
With the variability in the way mixed drinks are made these days makes it nearly impossible to pinpoint the calorie count. A margarita can range from a lean 150 calories to well over 1,000 depending upon the establishment, bartender, etc.
If you’re unsure of about how many calories are in a mixed drink, stick with a glass of wine or a good beer to keep you in the 100-200 calorie range per drink.
Simple mixed drinks whose name tells you exactly the ingredients are also good lower-calorie bets: Vodka & Soda with a lemon or lime, Rum & Diet Coke, Gin & Tonic.
5. Drink better liquor.
Stay out of the well and graduate to the shelf behind the bartender. We all went to college and most of us were broke, so by necessity we had to shop on the bottom shelf at the store or order generic drinks in the hope that it wasn’t pure gasoline.
Drinking the liquor that comes in giant plastic bottles at the price club means more sugar to mask the taste and a terrible hangover the next day.
6. No shots.
It’s great to go out and have a good time and celebrate with a shot of who-knows-what, but they last you about a half second and you immediately reach for another drink.
Shots are the snacks of the alcohol world. They don’t fit with the Magic Number Four Drinks mantra.
KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE
Again, start with the four drinks mantra and always know what you’re drinking and what to ALWAYS skip.
Some cocktails we just can’t fix like a Long Island Ice Tea, but others we can reel into our calorie range with a few tweaks.
Most importantly, losing weight and getting into shape should NEVER take away from enjoying your life.