In my years working in the health and fitness industry, one of the most common things that I see inhibit people in their weight loss or maintenance efforts is alcohol consumption.
If I had a pound coin for every time a client failed at fat loss because of their unconditional love of alcohol I would be self-isolating in my super yacht in Monaco.
Honestly, the drinking culture is probably one of the hardest habits for people to break. It’s what we do to “reward ourselves” after a hard week at work and it’s what we do to socialise. “Meet you at the pub for a drink?” but it’s so easy to turn “a drink” into a slam drinking contest to see who can down the most number of pints of lager / Guinness / cider and so on.
? I raise my hands for being guilty of this too… in my younger days when I could drink a whole pub dry and wake up the next day barely hungover and ready to do it all again.
Now that I am in my 50s however it’s a very different story. I am wiser to what alcohol does to your mind and body and I am well aware of the fact that my tolerance levels are much lower and even a drop over my personal limit means being so hungover the next day that I can barely function… ?
There’s more to the story though and it won’t come as a surprise.
Not only is alcohol just generally bad for you, it also contains more calories per gram than carbs and protein AND it’s often high in sugar or combined with sugary mixers.
That’s why I always recommend clients to be mindful of drinking their calories.
And then there’s red wine. ?
Are there benefits? Sure.
Research, as always, offers conflicting opinions on whether red wine is good for you or not. I tend to read scientific journals quite often and when I get confused on the benefits of red wine I look at my parents who are now in their 80s and enjoying better health than most.
They have been drinking a glass of red wine with each one of their meals all their lives and I would say they are living proof that drinking in moderation isn’t that bad for you after all.
The main benefits you get from drinking red wine are:
- it’s rich in antioxidants which may help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease;
- it contains resveratrol which helps control chronic inflammation thus reducing the risk of developing cancer, autoimmune disorders and heart disease;
- it may help promote good bacteria in the gut which in turns helps with weight control.
Having said that none of the above can’t be achieved through consuming much healthier alternatives.
We like to tell ourselves that red wine is super healthy to justify it. And we turn the blind eye to the potential adverse effects like disrupting our sleeping patterns, altering our mood and, certainly, increasing our waistline.
Now, my point is NOT to ask you to eliminate alcohol from your life if it’s something you enjoy. I wouldn’t do it either.
BUT I believe that with a little bit of help we can all make better choices at the bar.
And that’s why I wanted to share this cheat sheet with you so that you can make the best choices that are in line with your goals.
It’s so easy to forget about the sugar and calories we consume in our drinks, so hopefully this serves as both a reminder and helps guide your choices the next time you go for a drink or two. 🙂
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