Do you have to give up wine (alcohol) in order to slim down and lose weight? I think one of the biggest complaints I hear in regards to food and weight loss, other than not having enough time to make healthy food, is the weekends with their social life always screw them up because they go to happy hour, they have drinks with friends and they don’t want to feel like they are missing out just because they are working on fitness goals.
Before I answer the above question, let’s get a little anatomy and physiology 101 for you on what happens when your body consumes alcohol from a metabolic stand point…To keep it simple, basically all alcohol is considered a carbohydrate. When you consume alcohol your body immediately begins to process that into your blood stream first instead of all of your other foods (which is why sometimes you get the munchies when you have a super heavy drinking night because your body isn’t actually absorbing any of the nutrients immediately…it’s absorbing the carbs and alcohol). This is usually why sometimes after wine or a great night out the next day or even 2 days later you can feel super bloated because your body has to first process all of the alcohol then it processes all of the food. Wine specifically is made through the fermentation process of the breakdown of the natural sugars in the grapes mixing with yeast which turns it into alcohol in its most simple definition.
Having said all of that, I am far from the days of counting calories and counting too many macronutrients so I will not get into that with your wine or beverage of choice because ultimately it’s about finding a way to enjoy your favorite things in life while also having a body that you love and are confident with.
So, can you lose weight and still enjoy wine regularly? Yes, absolutely. I enjoy wine every week and it is a huge passion of mine and I have been able to stay fit, in shape and slim for over 10 years. (If you follow my Instagram page at all you will see I consistently am posting about all of my most recent favorite finds of wine) I honestly don’t think I would be able to cut out something like wine forever simply because it is something that fascinates me and is a whole culture I love to experience.
How do you stay fit while enjoying wine? That is the real question I think everyone wants to know and I am going to answer it here.
- One trick I use, sometimes but not all the time, is I treat my wine as my carbohydrates if I am out at a social event or dinner. Again, not every time because sometimes I am craving some pasta and wine so I go for it I just don’t eat the entire plate of pasts! So if I know I will have wine, I simply load up on my protein, fats and veggies since I get my carbohydrates from an “all natural” grape source! For example, as you can see in this picture I do the ABS Protein Pancakes with wine for dinner all the time! The protein pancakes are low carb already and high in protein so I top them off with some grass fed butter or all natural almond butter for fat then have 1 or 2 glasses of wine and you’ve got delicious and healthy wine and pancakes for dinner!
- I strength train my body more than I do cardio to make sure that even while I am at rest my body is naturally burning calories without getting that “skinny flat” look which is what happens a lot when women only do cardio. With just cardio, you may slim down but you will never get that fit and tight look that you are going for. You can get a full wine and strength training program here. Most people I come across always tell me they do a few machines and then they do 30 minutes of cardio and want to know why they aren’t losing any weight and I always say “Stop doing the machines and replace that 30 minutes of cardio on a treadmill with a 30 minute weight circuit using dumbbells or barbells and you’ll see results immediately”. The reason is because when you incorporate dumbbells and barbells and are moving a “load” in your workout your body is forced to work harder than when it is only using it’s own body weight. Plus, when you step away from the machines and use things that your own body has to balance you burn more calories from simply having to incorporate stabilizer muscles to keep the weights from falling. (there’s plenty of circuits and strength training workouts on this site so check them out that you can do at the gym or at home).
- I NEVER beat myself up for having a good time. I used to…then I realized what a waste of time and energy it was to make myself feel guilty for enjoying life and having a good time. Plain and simple your happiness is the most important thing in life and if you go out one weekend and have a little too much then just laugh about it, love yourself and get back on track. Life is way too short to be counting every single glass of wine and every single drink you have so find a balance. Listen to your body. You know when you’re drinking and eating to fill a void and you know when you are doing it out of a love for life and yourself.
- Embrace your body. Let’s be honest, 9 times out of 10 we all have unrealistic images in our mind of what we think we should look like or what is the right weight/size for us. Our body naturally may hold 155lbs well in a way that allows us to exercise, have a balanced social life, enjoy natural well balanced meals without any deprivation or starving yet if in our mind we see some other girl at our height who is at 125lbs we will exhaust ourselves and immediately get to “fixing” our bodies instead of seeing our own natural curves and beauty. (same thing goes for men too!)
- The next day after drinking, I always do something to move my body and get some blood flow going. For example, if it was just 2 glasses of wine the night before then the next day I will do a full on sweat session like normal to get my blood flow and circulation going and get right back on track. If it was 3 or 4 glasses of wine the night before (which tends to happen when I visit my favorite wineries), then I may just take a walk or do some yoga to get the blood flow moving. The reason this is important is because it helps to continue to process the alcohol and get it out of your blood stream the next day which will also help with that groggy lethargic feeling as well.
My whole philosophy with fitness, food, and wine is that it’s about being present and connecting to what you’re doing. When you are doing a workout, BE IN THE WORKOUT. Feel each and every move and how it feels to your body. When you are eating, actually breathe and taste your food so there’s an actual connection to your meal. A lot of times when we eat we distract ourselves from our food with our phones, the tv or something else when honestly if we are fully present then we know when we are full and can stop and we probably wouldn’t want to eat a lot of the food we eat because we actually taste what is going into our body and how it makes us feel. When you are enjoying your wine or maybe it’s whiskey or whatever it is….actually taste and enjoy the experience. Be present with it. How does it smell, how does it taste, where did it come from, etc. This is one of my favorite things about going to wineries is you literally can walk the vines that your grapes in your wine came from and you experience the vineyards, the climate, the soil, the smells, the delicious aromas and flavors, the oak barrels they were fermented in etc.
As you practice connecting and being more present in these areas of your life you will see them positively affect your work, your relationships and your own quality of life as well.
So can you enjoy wine and stay fit? Of course you can and I encourage you too! If this article helped you and you enjoyed it then please share it so I know to keep writing this stuff!
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To get more information on meal planning and strength training while enjoying your favorite foods and a social life head here.