Can you drink alcohol and still lose weight?

Most of us enjoy a drink from time to time, whether it’s a couple here and there or the odd big night out. The question is will this derail your progress or can you enjoy the odd drink and still stay on track?

The answer is YES but it comes down to how much you intend to drink and how often.

It’s important to understand firstly that alcohol doesn’t magically make you fat, it’s the additional calories in your diet from drinking that can lead to weight gain.

Where most people go wrong is that they often don’t exercise enough, eat poorly, snack too much and then drink alcohol on top of that.

So how do you stay on track and enjoy a drink?

It’s important to get the basics in place first; get more active, improve your diet then make sensible choices when it comes to having a drink.

You might have heard or seen me refer to this 80:20 balance with your diet. What I mean by this is eating healthy, nutritious food 80% of the time and then allowing yourself the things you enjoy 20% of the time.

So if you’ve nailed the nutritious 80% of your diet then alcohol could definitely fit into your 20% in the form of a couple of glasses of wine or a few G&Ts.

But if you’ve been out for lunch, had a dessert, and eaten a packet of crisps when you got in, the chances are you’ve probably already maxed out your 20% and could do with skipping the wine or G&T.

Think of it in terms of balance, you can’t expect to spend all your money on clothes and nights out and still be able to afford the expensive holiday. The same applies to diet. Much as we’d all like to be able to eat and drink what we like, unfortunately it’s just not possible.

So in terms of the odd glass of wine, follow the advice above, what about parties or times where you’ll be drinking more than one glass?

Well again it comes down to balance but this time we need to look at balancing our week rather than just the day.

Let’s say you have a party coming up on a Friday but you usually enjoy a glass of wine on maybe a Tuesday and Thursday evening, it would be a good idea to skip those and save those calories for the party. You basically bank your daily 20%s and save them up to use at the weekend.

It might also be a good idea to have lower calorie breakfast and lunches on the day of the party and avoid any unnecessary snacking. You are making sensible choices to limit the damage of all the calories you’ll be consuming from eating and drinking at the party.

Another good tip is to get straight back on track the following day, eat a good breakfast, get out for some exercise and try to avoid a big night out turning into 2-3 bad days.

Just remember that one bad meal won’t make you fat, in the same way that one good meal won’t make you lean. It’s about consistency, if you have the basics in place the odd drink or party won’t matter.