Can I drink alcohol while trying to lose weight?
Everyone knows I’m a wine lover (seriously, how can I not when we live so close to Okanagan wine country?) – so there’s no need to feel worried about asking about drinking. No judgement here – and I’ll even share a couple of my favourite wineries at the end. Friends don’t let friends drink bad wine or eat diet food. All that being said, alcohol does impact how we lose weight.
Like all things nutrition, the answer depends on how much, how often, and what your goals are. If you have a cocktail of choice that brings you great pleasure, we’re going to want to work it in as a regular treat. But – alcohol should be treated like any other treat – not every day, mindful of how much, and make sure we’re not doubling down by using it as an excuse to eat all the foods (We’ve all been there, can I get an amen?).
For clients who are trying to lose weight sustainably, we focus on having days off from alcoholic drinks to allow your metabolism a break, and adding an extra glass or two of water with each drink. Alcohol does interfere with our repair and anti-inflammatory pathways, as well as dehydrates which can amp up hunger hormones so days off are important. Exactly how much will work for your goals and body depends on the person, that’s something we personalize in session with clients.
If your goals are performance – a race or competition coming up for example – you’re going to want to limit alcohol within the 24 hours around your training sessions. It has a fairly dramatic effect on muscle repair and recovery, so you’re working a lot harder than you have to for fewer gains in strength or endurance.
So don’t feel guilty about savouring your favourite drink, but do be sure to flesh out your week with plenty of anti-inflammatory plant foods, balanced meals and moving your body. ⠀
PS. A couple of my favourite wineries – the Hatch in Kelowna, Lakebreeze in Naramata (so much so you’ll find a picture of me on the “About” page here), Grey Monk in Kelowna, and good ol’ J Lohr from the US.
We pull these questions straight from client sessions and comments/messages on our facebook and instagram accounts. Have a burning Q you’d like us to post an A for? Find us on there and send us a message or comment on one of the posts. We’ll add it to the queue.