It's Friday night, all of my friends are going out to the bars to celebrate the weekend, but I've been on a real health kick the last couple weeks and don't want to sabotage all of my hard work... Not to mention I don't really miss those next day hangovers. I could go and just not drink, but its so much more fun to have a few drinks. I could go and have one or two drinks, but lets face it there is no way I'm going to stick to one or two drinks. Should I just not go out?
Does that sound familiar? Of course it does.
Realistically, alcohol is only going to get you further away from your health and fitness goals (Yes, even a glass of red wine). It's basically empty calories, it decreases the body's capacity for nutrient absorption, and is extremely taxing on the liver. Having said that, I'm going to go out drinking tonight.
The most important part of any health and fitness plan is sustainability. It's better to occasionally indulge in some not so healthy habits from time to time than to go 100 MPH for a week and then just burn out and revert to your old ways shortly after. For many people, giving up alcohol completely is just not realistic or necessary long term solution. If you do choose to have a few (or more than a few) drinks every once in a while, it's important to know how to do it in the least damaging way possible.
Below are a few rules I follow to minimize weight gain and hangover effects when drinking alcohol:
1. In the day leading up to your night out, eat a lot of lean proteins and vegetables. You are going to be drinking empty calories at night, so make your calories during the day as nutritious as possible.
2. Drink as much water as possible during the day. Alcohol severely dehydrated you, so you need to make sure you are hydrated beforehand. I aim for at least 15 glasses.
3. Eat a nutritious meal and take a multivitamin as close to when you start drinking as possible. You don't want to drink on an empty stomach, as you are more likely to get sick, and if you don't get sick you are definitely more likely to end up at the pizza place at the end of the night. You will also be flushing out a lot of the nutrients in your body when drinking, so the multivitamin will fill some of those nutritional gaps.
2. Find a spirit that you like (or hate the least), and stick to that without a chaser. Thats not easy to do, but spirits have less calories per gram than beer or wine, and don't have any carbs. Also, the calories in chasers can often end up being more than the calories in the alcohol itself.
3. Drink two glasses of water in between each drink. You will thank me for that one in the morning.
4. Don't binge eat at the end of the night, and if you do-- make it Paleo.
5. Once you are ready to go to bed, drink two more glasses of water. The main reason for a hangover is dehydration.
6. When you wake up in the morning, drink water, take a multivitamin, and eat something nutritious to replenish your body of everything it lost the night before. Try this recipe below.
1 scoop Paleo Protein-Superfood
1/2 cup kale
1/2 cup spinach
2 stalks celery
1/2 large lemon
2 large green apples
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 1/2 cups coconut water