During lockdown weight gain is perhaps inevitable, and not necessarily the end of the world. But if you want to lose weight – or at least not put on too much extra weight – there is one thing you can do that is almost certain to help. It is very obvious when you think about it, and arguably not that easy, but it will give positive results, and perhaps it might not have occurred to you before.
So, you want to know how to avoid isolation weight gain at home? There is one item in a lot of people’s diets that could be easily cut and would result in losing weight faster. You guessed it: alcohol, booze, and ‘the drink’. No one needs a lecture about why alcohol is bad for your health but I think a lot of you don’t realise how consuming alcohol effects your diet and your weight loss. Or your weight gain, more accurately.
If Google Trends is anything to go by, everyone seems to be having more booze than usual now that we are in full lockdown. And in the case of the UK in particular, that is saying something.
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Let’s get one thing out of the way right at the beginning: the best way to lose weight is not to exercise more, but to eat less. Especially now that we have to stay indoors almost all the time, eating the same amount of food as we used to will result in us putting on weight. Cutting back on calories of any sort will help you in your weight loss battle. No news there.
How many calories are in alcohol?
There are a lot of misconceptions about alcohol and as I mentioned above, I’m not here to lecture anyone about just how bad it is to consume alcoholic beverages. Sure, some types of alcohols contain certain micronutrients (like minerals) that can be beneficial for health, but this doesn’t outweigh the negative effects of these drinks.
One very important thing to realise about alcohol is that it is basically pure carbohydrate. Carbs are one of the three main macronutrients your body needs to function; the other two are lipids (fats) and protein. This doesn’t mean your body needs alcohol to function, on the contrary. Drinking alcohol adds nothing to your diet, alcohol calories are just ’empty calories’.
Just how many calories, though? There are a few options that are considered ‘low-calorie’ drinks, like vodka and diet coke. Although diet coke can be considered free of calories (still pretty bad in every way) a double shot (50 ml) of vodka contains over 100 calories. You would have to run 10 minutes to burn off those calories and that is just one drink.
How about beer? A small bottle (12 oz/355 ml) of Goose Island IPA is 208 calories, twice as much as what’s in a double shot vodka plus diet coke combo. And whoever has only one small bottle of beer when they drink? That’s right, no one.
Maybe wine? A bottle (750 ml) of Cabernet Sauvignon is just under 600 calories, meaning that two medium glasses (approx. 175 ml) contain around 250-300 calories.
Calories in different alcoholic drinks
We used the Drinkaware Unit and Calorie Calculator to calculate the below numbers.
Type of alcohol
- Beer (pint): 182 calories
- Cider (pint): 216 calories
- Wine (175 ml/medium glass): 159 calories
- Champagne (125 ml glass): 89 calories
- Prosecco (125 ml glass): 82 calories
- Spirits (generic, single shot): 61 calories
For the rest, we used MyfitnessPal’s database and the manufacturers websites.
- Bombay Gin (1oz/28 ml): 59 calories
- Smirnoff Red Vodka (1oz/28 ml): 65 calories
- Jose Cuervo Especial (1oz/28 ml): 65 calories
- Bacardi Rum (1oz/28 ml): 65 calories
- Famous Grouse Scotch (1oz/28ml): 64 calories
- Schweppes Tonic Water (250 ml/one serving): 53 calories
- Fever-Tree Naturally Light Tonic Water (200ml/one bottle): 30 calories
- Diet Coke (330 ml/one can): 0 calories
- Coke (330 ml/one can): 139 calories
- Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice (250 ml/one serving): 110 calories
- Tropicana Original Orange Juice (250 ml/one serving): 95 calories
- San Pellegrino Sparkling Water (250ml/one serving): 0 calories
Here are some other things you could drink instead
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How can you drink less alcohol?
The best idea, of course, is to keep your alcohol consumption to the minimum. As I mentioned in the ‘how to lose weight at home‘ article, being mindful about your diet and food/drink intake can help. Before you pour yourself another drink, ask yourself: do I want another drink? Am I bored? Is there another task I’m putting off by drinking?
Admittedly, on some occasions, especially during social gatherings, it is pretty challenging to get out of drinking at least some alcohol. When everyone is having beers and wines around you, the social pressure on you to have one too could be immense. Even in these cases, there are ways to reduce consumption.
If you are a wine drinker, have a soda spritzer instead of just a glass of wine. You would still get the sensation of having a wine in a wine glass, but you also drink plenty of water, which dilutes the alcohol and makes it easier for your body to digest it more efficiantly.
If you are more of a beer drinker, see if there are any low calorie/alcohol-free beers in stock. A bottle of alcohol-free Holstein is only 8 calories (!) and there are plenty of low-cal options out there, especially if you live in the US.
And in any case, if you drink a glass of water after you had a drink, your stomach will fill up sooner and you will feel fuller sooner, making you less likely to drink too much alcohol. It also helps with hangovers, too.