As a professional in the fitness and nutrition space I get people saying, “You must be perfect. Workout every day, never eat carbs, never enjoy a drink… Then I remind them I’m a regular guy.
Sometimes I want to sit on my ass, watch football, eat chicken wings, and drink beer too.
I’m an open book and I want my clients to know I like to indulge as much as the next but I choose when and how often wisely. Is this worth it? Will I regret a hangover tomorrow?
Last month I saw all my old college friends and I tell you candidly we had a pretty kick ass time. And yes it was worth it.
If my Kansas City Chiefs are in the Super Bowl. Yes, it’s worth it.
It’s Friday… maybe not worth it.
So how can you have your beer and drink it too? (See what I did there?)
First of all let’s make one thing very clear it needs to be done in moderation. It must be the exception and not the norm.
When we consume alcohol our bodies see it as poison. All metabolic processes will focus on the alcohol until it is completely out of our system. That means any calories you consume during that time will be stored until a later time. The body immediately prioritizes the alcohol over everything else.
Secondly, it must be tracked. Like our food we need to know how much we’re taking in. Guesstimating may work for a while but the closer you get to your goal the more accurate you will need to be. And although we can make some substitutions to counter the calories and carbohydrates we cannot do this blindly.
HOW DO I TRACK MY ALCOHOL?
For starters it is good to note alcohol contains 7 calories per gram. Some even consider it a 4th macronutrient but that’s a talk for another day.
Most often people think of alcohol as carbohydrates and that does make sense in many ways but you do not have to substitute it this way. You can also substitute for fats. Either way is fine, it is personal preference. You will not want to substitute for protein due to it’s muscle building and preserving properties.
Find the total number of calories in your drink and multiply by the number of drinks you plan to have. You can easily find the calories with quick Google search or within your tracker. If it’s something more obscure like a local craft beer just find something similar. You likely will not find it on the label anywhere because it is not legally required.
If you want to substitute for carbohydrates you will divide that number by 4. If you want to substitute for fats, divide by 9. That is how many calories are in 1g of carbs/ fats, it’s really that simple.
*Bud Light - 145 calories
*Substituting for carbohydrates - 145/4 = 36.25.
*Subtract 37g of carbohydrates from your daily expenditure
*Substituting for fats - 145/9 = 16.11
*Subtract 17g of fats from your daily expenditure
( I always round up since we’re already making less than stellar choices that provide zero nutritional value)
Be sure to pay close attention to the serving sizes. Mixed drinks’ standard size is 1oz/ drink but wine is about 5oz so some will provide more bang for their buck.
As always drink responsibly but enjoy the good times by celebrating your anniversary, reminisce with old friends over a cold drink, and cling glasses with your business partner when you close that big deal.
Save the cheat sheet above for the next time you’re indulging and keep your body composition goals in check!
“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” - Benjamin Franklin