5 Steps to Staying Healthy On the Weekend – But You Still Get to Drink!

I get it. The weekend is a time to “let loose!” It’s a time to put the dumbbell down and pick up a martini instead. But how can we have fun on the weekend without ruining our perfect week? Here are a few helpful hints!

  1. Bring a Snack

I don’t know about you, but I get hungry often. Especially when I drink. I’m usually stuck eating whatever is available at the time. (And at 12:30am that’s usually popcorn or something fried.)

So I started bringing a snack in my purse!

This can be anything from a protein bar, to nuts and dried fruit, to carrots, or kale chips! Whatever floats your boat and you feel comfortable bringing along, put it in your purse or pocket!

Just make sure that you take extra. Trust me. You’ll be hungrier than you expect, and your friends will probably want some!

  1. Drink basic

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cocktail. Especially if it comes in a pretty glass with some fruit to nibble on! (Yes I’m one of those people. . .)

But many of these cocktails are full of simple syrup (literally just sugar and water), soda (more sugar), and fruit juice (a bit more sugar).

That’s a lot of calories that are not doing a much to fill you up. And because the drinks are mixed with alcohol, they are likely making you more hungry.

Not a good combo.

What about beer?

Beer can be quite high in calories. And you usually have to drink more to get the same buzz that you would with hard liquor.  

Let’s say you typically drink about 4 drinks on weekend night.  

And let’s be honest, if you start pre-gaming at 7pm, then go to three different bars throughout the night, you are probably having a lot more than 4 . . .

A “light beer” such as Bud Light runs at about 110 calories. Multiply that by 4 and you are at 440 calories.

A “Craft Beer” such as Three Floyds Gumballhead is around 195 calories. That’s 780 calories for 4 servings.

And wine?

Similar story. One serving of Pinot Noir is about 120 calories. If you have 4 glasses, you are at 480 calories.

These can add up fast! And you have to remember, the drinks are not doing anything in terms of nutrition or keeping you full and satisfied.

And yes, red wine may have some health benefits, but don’t try and tell me that 4 glasses in one night is good for you.

So what do you drink?

I’d pass by the beer and wine and go straight for the hard stuff.

You may think I’m crazy for saying it, but hard liquor is going to give you the quickest buzz for the least amount of calories.  

Let’s take vodka for example. An 80 proof vodka is about 64 calories per ounce. A typical drink has about 1.5 ounces of liquor in it. That’s 96 calories from vodka. If you mix it with plain soda water, regular water, or drink it on the rocks, you only get those 96 calories. Multiply this by your typical 4 drinks and you are at 384 calories.

That’s 396 less than if you drank craft beers all night, 100 less than you would get from wine, and 56 less than if you stuck with bud lights!

And remember it takes 3500 calories to gain 1 pound of fat. So it might only be 56 more calories if you drank light beer, but if you add that up over time you can gain about 1 pound every 2 months, or 6 pounds of fat a year!

Here are my typical drinks:

  • Whiskey on the rocks
  • Whiskey and water
  • Vodka on the rocks with a lemon
  • Vodka water with a lemon
  • Vodka on the rocks with a “splash” of orange juice

Experiment and see what you like! Vodka or whiskey might not tickle your tastebuds, but you’ll find something!

**Note: Please be careful with hard liquor. It is much stronger than beer or wine, and it’s easy to get overly drunk on it. To avoid this, see Step 3.

  1. Drink water between every alcoholic drink

This is something I incorporate more as I get older. There comes a point in life when you get tired of waking up hung over every Sunday morning. . .

Step 3 is a trick I started doing to avoid the hangover. However, it’s also great at keeping you from getting too drunk or consuming a surplus of calories from alcohol.  

If you start drinking hard liquor, please start drinking more water as well!

Make a solid commitment to yourself that you will have one glass of water between every drink. You’ll find that you keep a solid buzz, avoid becoming a drunk mess, and wake up on Sunday headache-free!

  1. Plan ahead

Step 4 starts with self-awareness. Know yourself and what your habits are when you drink. For me, I often want to eat something before I go to bed.

Those late night cab rides home are often accompanied with a stop at a fast food joint. This is an easy way to ruin all the hard work you did during the week to eat healthy and exercise regularly.

So if you know that you are going to want to eat before you go to bed, make a meal and put it in your fridge! And since it’s the weekend, this meal can be semi-indulgent, but not over-the-top. (Maybe a slice of homemade pizza with whole grain crust and extra veggies?!)

When you are on your way home you can look forward to the meal you have prepared, rather than stopping for a triple decker and fries.

  1. Eat light during the day

Again, self-awareness is key.

You know you are going out Saturday night. You know that you typically have about 4 drinks. You know that you are going to want to eat something when you are drunk. And you know that you are going to eat something late at night.

So maybe opt for a light breakfast and lunch? This might mean that you have a salad rather than a large burrito, or maybe you snack on grape tomatoes rather than chicken nuggets!
All in all, it’s quite simple. Know yourself and what your tendencies are. You are allowed to have fun on the weekend. You are allowed to indulge a bit. Don’t try and give up everything you love, just modify it so you get a similar indulgent feeling without straying too far off the path of health!  

Have more questions on health or fitness? Reach out!

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