Recently I came across a fabulous article about alcohol use during the holiday season. It was pretty perfect timing, I have to say. As we enter the holiday season, filled with parties, bubbly and amazing food, each year I join the legions and put on a few lbs. In fact – in the spirit of full disclosure – after a couple of glasses of yummy champagne, I am much more inclined to do a face plant on the dessert table and have been known on occasion to chase waiters into the kitchen for seconds (or thirds!) on a particularly delish appetizer.
The thing of it is that for me – someone post-FBC – putting on weight is not ok. Truth be told, after this fall of travel, I am already a few pounds heavier than my normal weight. When I told my oncologist this, he wasn’t happy and reminded me that it is NOT GOOD for me to yo-yo. I know. I know.
This is why I have decided that rather than do a January cleanse, I am going to do one in December. For me this will mean abstaining from alcohol, sugar and white food. I know that it will be difficult, but I will remind myself how much better I will feel, which is a great Silver Lining!
Here is the info from MyFitnessPal about alcohol consumption during the holidays. I found it to be pretty doggone fascinating and also quite motivating!:
- Alcohol is the second most potent source of calories Partying with alcohol is fun because we like feeling intoxicated, but this intoxication comes with a caloric price tag. One gram of alcohol is 7 calories, which is more than one gram of carbohydrate (4 calories) and protein (4 calories) but less than one gram of fat (9 calories).
- We don’t burn extra calories to metabolize alcohol Not like we do from digesting carbs, fat and protein. This phenomenon, called the “thermic effect of food”, refers to the energy we use to digest food into small, absorbable components. Because alcohol is so easy to absorb, it enters our bloodstream without burning any extra calories.
- Your liver does the dirty work Because alcohol is seen as a toxin, the liver prioritizes metabolizing alcohol first (get in line, fat…it’s not your turn!) which means you won’t be burning calories from other sources while that happens. The liver is only able to clear alcohol at a rate of around one ounce liquor per hour, which is why consuming more than this will leave you feeling tipsy.
- Alcohol makes your blood sugar drop, making you want to reach for carbs The liver helps keep our blood sugar steady, but a liver busy at work metabolizing alcohol can’t do this effectively, causing your blood sugar drops and stays low until the alcohol is metabolized. This explains why you crave carbs and wake up the next day with a headache.
- Alcohol calories that aren’t burned will be stored as fat This is true for all extra calories eaten no matter the source, but what makes alcohol calories worse is that they are stored in your liver first. It takes time for the liver to ship out the alcohol-induced fat for proper storage in your fat cells. If the liver doesn’t do this fast enough (or if you drink too much, too often) the fat stays stuck in your liver and around your abdomen giving you what we refer to jovially as a “beer belly.”
Here are their tips to help prevent you from gaining too much of your holiday cheer:
- Pour yourself half as much. This will help you limit yourself to one or two drinks per party.
- Avoid higher calorie mixed drinks like eggnog, margaritas, mudslides, or other sugary mixed drinks–or have one and consider it dessert.
- Alternate between having alcohol and water to stay well hydrated.
- Sip slowly and take the time of enjoy your alcoholic beverage.
- Keep your alcohol budget at or below 200 calories. Pick these lower calorie alcohol alternatives:
- Red or white wine: 5 ounces | Calories; 125, Carbohydrate: 4g
- Light beer: 12 ounces | Calories: 100; Carbohydrate: 5g
- Champagne: 5 ounces | Calories: 100; Carbohydrate: 1g
- Vodka, whiskey, rum or gin: 1.5 ounces | Calories: 96; Carbohydrate: 0g
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!