Ask a Trainer: Can I Drink Alcohol and Still Lose Weight?

zzzzzzzz lift and bitch 033Dear Fitbabe,

I am a fan of your content and NO BS approach to fitness and weight loss. I have a question about alcohol and weight loss. How can I enjoy a few beverages a week and still achieve my goals? I often have meetings with clients and they want to buy me a beer and I love to social drink with my friends at sporting events. Can I really lose fat while enjoying a few drinks every week?

Thanks, Rich

Hey Rich,

One of the major concerns my clients face is wanting to be able to enjoy some drinks without packing on the pounds. I am happy to tell you that it is possible to enjoy a few cocktails and still maintain or possibly even lose weight!

*Certain foods or drinks don’t make you fat. Overeating does.

*Sugar doesn’t make you fat. Overeating does.

*Carbohydrates don’t make you fat. Overeating does.

If you choose to consume alcohol, you need to know how to track it. Alcohol is high in calories, containing seven calories per gram. We need to remember, it counts! Alcohol is also the only substance other than protein, carbohydrates, or fat, which contains any caloric value. Protein and carbs have four calories per gram and fat has nine calories per gram. Alcohol is considered a macronutrient because it contains calories. They are EMPTY calories though, meaning that you get no nutrients from them (except maybe some added carbs). But you will receive no micronutrients (i.e. vitamins and minerals) from drinking alcohol. In that sense, you are sacrificing nutritious food in order to consume alcohol. Sorry my sweet and tasty wine, you still do not give me a serving of fruit! 🙂

You therefore need to know which of your actual nutrients you will have to “give up” in return for the high calories that alcohol contains, if you want to achieve your fitness goals while consuming it. Rich, you like beer: let’s say your beer of choice has 180 calories per 12 oz bottle. As I just mentioned, a nutrient has to be removed in order to balance these calories because it still comes down to calories in versus calories out. I would keep your protein the same and either pull from your carbs or your fat to “make up” for that 12 oz beer. Either remove 45g of carbs (carbs=4 cals/g) or 20g of fat (fat=9cals/g). Do not make it more complicated than that.

So there you go; swap out some carbs or fats and drink your bevy! I like the moderate approach to fat loss because the way someone eats to lose weight must be a system that can be maintained in order to reach the desired goal.


Deanna Harder: Fitness Leadership Diploma, CSEP-CPT (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology-Certified Personal Trainer), and Figure Competitor

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About fitbabe

Deanna Harder is a college-certified, highly knowledgeable personal trainer, with over 20 years of experience. In addition to running her own business in Edmonton, she has competed in 6 figure competitions, and is always ready for a new challenge. Fitness Leadership Diploma, CSEP-CPT (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology-Certified Personal Trainer)

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