Weight Loss


Drink Wine, Lose Weight, Be Awesome

Let’s face it, alcohol isn’t going anywhere...At the time of writing, it’s late May.

The weather here in Boston is warming up, and as a result, drinking a glass of Rosé (or better yet, Frozé) in the sun feels oh so right.

For many, a significant part of their professional success comes from ‘wining and dining’ important accounts or potential clients.

Whether you’re drinking for work or for fun, should it stop you from looking and feeling your best?

The answer is so simple, yet so complex. It comes down to a number of factors: your drinking habits, what you’re drinking, and what you’re doing when you aren’t drinking.

Hopefully, the following shines some light on how you can enjoy some crushed grapes without crushing your fitness goals. 

Pour Yourself A Glass And Read On….

When it comes to alcohol’s impact on your weight loss efforts, it’s important to first understand how your body processes alcohol. Don’t worry, we’ll make this part quick. You can also skip to the part where I tell you the best wines to drink if you want to be sensitive to calories.

Many of us are familiar with the macro nutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates, but we often forget to include alcohol.

As a general rule of thumb, alcohol comes in at 7.1 calories per gram, which may sound like a lot (carbohydrates, for example, only have 4 calories per gram), but unless you’re drinking pure ethanol, which would kill you, your favorite drink has calories coming from both alcohol and carbohydrates because of the alcohol and sugar in the drink.

Why sugar? Simply put, alcohol comes from fermentation, a process in which sugars are eaten up by yeast over time, with the type of alcohol determined by the type of sugar being used. If the yeast doesn’t consume all of the sugar during the fermentation process, there’s bound to be some sugar left over.

If you’re wondering how all of this ties into weight gain, let me hit you with an incredibly obvious fact: There is a linear relationship between quantity of drinks and weight gain. Meaning, if you double the number of drinks that you have per week without making lifestyle changes, you’re going to gain weight. [1] 

It’s Not (Just) What You’re Drinking That’s Causing Weight Gain

The good news: Your body can’t store calories from alcohol, so calories from alcohol are used as an energy source before calories from food. This means everything you do while you’re drinking is *technically* fueled by alcohol.

The bad news: According to Dr. Pamela Peeke, "Drinking presses 'pause' on your metabolism, shoves away the other calories, and says, 'Break me down first!'" [2] So, that means any food that you eat before, during or immediately after drinking might not be used for energy until all of the alcohol has left your system.

Because of this, it’s extremely important to think about what you’re eating before and after going out for drinks. For example, if you could go for a 4-5 beers and some pizza, just remember that your body will have to burn off the 400-600 calories from beer before getting to the 400-600 from pizza.

Additionally, when you’ve had a couple drinks, it’s much easier to lose your inhibitions and reach for something you know isn’t on your nutrition plan. 

How To Eat For Health and Hotness While Drinking

Okay, so maybe we bummed you out about the whole ‘If you want to drink a 6 pack try not to eat an entire pizza’ thing. Well, there is good news!

You don’t have to skip the drinks or the pizza to maintain your fitness goals, but instead try doing this:

Before: Eat a healthy, protein and vegetable packed meal before going out. This will increase your feeling of being full, and protein can’t be used for energy so you’ll be using alcohol and the sugar from your drinks for energy. Will this make you feel tipsy after fewer drinks than usual? Maybe, but that also means you’re consuming less alcohol and less sugar.

After: At the end of the night, do your very best to avoid engorging yourself on an entire pizza. I know, it’s so freaking hard. Just once slice. You can do it!

How To Select The Best Wines For Your Fitness Goals

As someone who’s far from an expert on wine varieties, I decided to ask the experts (aka Google) about the best and worst types of wines. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who was wondering, and the team over at Wine Folly[3] created this awesome graphic that you can keep on your phone for the next time you’re headed out.

Wine Chart

How To Drink and Still Look Great In Your Birthday Suit

Research shows that people who are physically active and drink are less likely to be overweight than people who are not physically active and drink. Yes, this may sound obvious to you, but there are a few important things that we need to take into consideration. [4]

Generally, people who are physically active feel comfortable doing physical activities while drinking, like dancing. Others are more inclined to enjoy a beer post-workout, hence the beer after a Spartan Race or 5k.

If you’re looking for a hand with staying on track with your fitness goals while still drinking plenty of wine, get matched to one of our fitness coaches at Ladder today!

Download Ladder

Sung KC, Kim SH, Reaven GM Diabetes Care. 2007 Oct; 30(10):2690-4.

Gold, Sunny Sea. “Alcohol and Calories: 4 Rules to Follow.” CNN, Cable News Network, 19 Mar. 2015, www.cnn.com/2013/04/03/health/wine-waistline/index.html.

Puckette, Madeline. “Wine Nutrition Facts.” Wine Folly, Wine Folly, 14 May 2018, winefolly.com/tutorial/wine-nutrition-facts/.

Traversy, Gregory, and Jean-Philippe Chaput. “Alcohol Consumption and Obesity: An Update.” Current Obesity Reports 4.1 (2015): 122–130. PMC. Web. 24 May 2018.

Stan Dutton

Stan Dutton

Stan Dutton is a Boston based fitness expert who has worked with celebrities, professional athletes, helped multiple individuals lose over 100lbs and is a 4x world record holding powerlifter. His philosophy is simple: Move well, move often, and eat pizza.

Leave a Reply

You Might Also Like…

Food and Nutrition


Snack on Superfood: 4 Reasons Why You Should Eat Guacamole

When we think about fitness and what it takes to reach our fitness goals, we...

Food and Nutrition


4 Breads That Prove Sandwiches Can Be Nutritious

There’s simply no escaping it: when you need a meal and you’re in a rush, a...

Food and Nutrition


3 Ways Dark Chocolate Can Actually Be Good for You

Chocolate has long been grouped with the likes of sugary candy because of its...

Food and Nutrition


9 Pasta Recipes That Make The Perfect Post Workout Meals

Pasta is a universally loved and a highly versatile dish, but many will...

Food and Nutrition


Don't Eliminate Your Favorite Treats: 5 Desserts You Can Enjoy in Moderation

As we celebrate National Dessert Day it’s important to remember that your...