Right after the 4th of July, I woke up realizing I drank too much during the celebrations… again… and I didn’t like how I was feeling. It seems the older I get, the longer it takes to recover and, the “after-effects” are lingering longer (feeling puffy, sluggish and not performing at 100% even days after). Most women (and men) fail to remember that drinking isn’t just about forcing the liver to process insane amounts of alcohol – it’s also about calorie consumption, not just in the drinks themselves, but the cause and effect of needing to eat at ungodly hours too.
Still, one can eat and not consume as many calories as they will drink in a night. For example, did you know…
- There are 300 calories in a Fireball shot (about 3 oz.)
- There are 200 calories in a shot of Cafe Patron (about 2 oz.) – my weakness
- There are 192 calories in a shot of tequila (about 2 oz.)
- There are 128 calories in a double jack and diet coke
- There are 91 calories in a glass of champagne and 495 in a bottle
- There are 76 calories in a single vodka soda
- There are 59 calories in a single sugar-free Redbull (1/2 can) and vodka
Given how most of us consume alcohol in a night, it’s no surprise why some of us are complaining about weight gain. Your body isn’t built to process that much sugar in one night and let’s be honest, most of us don’t stick to “just a glass”. I, for one, have admittedly consumed half of an entire day’s worth of calories (assuming 2,000) in one evening on some occasions. It’s sad, but true.
Thus, I took one look at myself in the mirror on July 5th and realized I needed to make some major changes to my lifestyle – my vacation was coming up and I didn’t want to head to Miami wearing a mumu all weekend. So, I put myself on a gradual challenge that would correct me both physically and mentally.
- NO ALCOHOL, with the exception of an occasional glass of wine. Yes, one of THE MOST difficult things I’ve ever done. I’ve never, ever cut out alcohol. It’s a tough exercise mentally, especially when your group of friends is highly sociable. SO… I gradually reduced the amount and switched what I was drinking. I cut out champagne, shots and and jack and diets. When I’m at a bar, I ask for less vodka and more sugar-free Redbull. When I’m at a restaurant, I allow myself (maybe) two glasses of wine. (In case any of you are wondering, I am making an exception on my birthday weekend in Miami.) What’s harder about cutting out alcohol – limiting yourself. Sure, you can switch up what you’re drinking but if you consume enough of it, you’re still not doing yourself any good. And yes, it’s still possible to have a good time sober. 🙂 (It also saves money. I once knew someone that looked at his expenses on bars, restaurants and clubs for about nine months’ worth and it came to $15,000. Yes, he was also being generous with his friends but still. That’s a lot!)
- COURSE-CORRECTING what you eat. Last year, a client of mine turned me onto the Dukan Diet. It completely changed HOW I eat. And, when followed correctly, it actually keeps weight OFF, while allowing you to eventually enjoy the foods you love in moderation. Granted, I’m also allergic to gluten and soy however, with so many tasty alternatives on the market now AND given my love of cooking, I needed to get back on track. To give you an idea of how powerful and HEALTHY this diet is, for the first five days it’s all pure protein, in which I lose about a pound or so a day. After that, depending on your lifestyle, you start incorporating vegetables at a certain frequency before re-introducing certain grains, etc. Within days, you regain so much energy – you’re happier and you look leaner.
- BUILDING AN EXERCISE PLAN that works for YOU. I hear people all the time, trying to tell people what to do with their workouts. Honestly, we are all busy and unless your job is to be in the gym, you need something that you can maintain. I once read that Jessica Biel makes sure she does something active everyday – that she doesn’t set herself into a routine. I like that because it takes the pressure off. I joined Sport & Health for the classes, not because I needed motivation to be in the gym. Truthfully, if I wanted to just be on a treadmill, my apartment complex has that. I just knew the combination of group classes and traditional methods of working out would be enough to keep my interest. Since I work from home, these group classes get me out of the house and doing something sociable, while getting a great workout in.
- HAVING ME TIME at least once a day for an hour. I realize some people are too busy to have me time AND the gym but if you can help it, do it. It could be relaxing by the pool, reading a book, taking a 30 min. nap – really anything that will help you clear your mind. Everyone needs down time, something I consistently forget to do. And because of that, I’ve made sure to add in my calendar “LUNCH – DO NOT SCHEDULE OVER”. It works because you commit to yourself and those at work know not to grab that time.
So how am I doing so far? I committed to 10 days of an intense version of this program to drop about 8 lbs. and I’m three days in so far. My accelerated version is:
1. No alcohol for 10 days
2. Protein only for 6 days, followed by 3 days of adding in vegetables, followed by one day of protein only
3. Two work outs a day – one strength training and one class (yoga, hip hop, spin, etc.)
4. One hour of “me” time (preferably by a pool)
So far, 3 1/2 lbs. down!