But then I realized that the issue goes much, much deeper.
You can switch the word “alcohol” out with whatever you may like — pizza, pasta, sardines — it really doesn’t matter.
The Real Question is This:
Can I still drink (and eat) the things that I want to eat/drink while still losing fat?
But, in order to answer that question, we first have to face the harsh truth.
Fat loss isn’t as simple as we all like to pretend that it is. For 99.9 % of us, “eating less and moving more” is just scratching the surface of what actually needs to happen.
For the vast majority of us, myself included, it’s something more like this:
“Make fat loss as easy as possible – because I actually do a decent job already.”
Never have I ever had someone walk into UpLifted and tell me that they eat McDonalds 5x / week, Burger King 4x / week, and Wendy’s for every other meal. The vast majority of the time, there are already salads, fruits, and other “healthy foods” being eaten on a daily basis. But for some reason, they still can’t quite lose that stubborn fat.
A Reality Check…
(Most people have their heads in the sand about this.)
"All I wanted was to have a glass of wine with my dinner at night. But my old trainer wouldn’t let me"
How many times have I heard something like this?
At least 5, maybe even 6 times in the last 2 months. That’s about 7 times too many.
Whether you’re a “fitpro” (another name for a personal trainer), or someone who just wants to have a beer (or any other “bad” food) with their dinner and still stay fit, the fact of the matter is this:
If your diet doesn’t account for things that make you feel good, why are you following it?
Once again, this could be all of the gluten-filled foods, beer, wine, anything.
The amount of guilt that comes along with most nutrition programs is absolutely despicable. I’m not just saying this because the people that write these programs are being extremely hypocritical, but instead because most of us respond to guilt by engaging in self-sabotage.
Speaking from personal experiences, I know that I’m not alone when I say that I if I fail – I fail hard.
One meal that I eat outside of “what I’m supposed to” creates a domino effect and all of a sudden I wake up in a bathtub filled with doughnuts.
Okay maybe that was a lie, but you get the point.
I realized this about myself when I tried paleo for a few months in early 2012. I told myself that I’d have “just one” cheat meal every week, yet for some reason it never quite worked that way. I’d beat myself up over “ruining my diet” and it would take at least 3 days to get back on track after the one cheat meal.
Can You Drink Alcohol and Lose Fat?
As I said before, it is completely possible to drink your wine and lose your fat. You just have to follow the rules.
Rule #1: Plan ahead
- Are you planning on having some beer or wine with your dinner tomorrow night? Earn it. Drinks that contain alcohol have a fair number of calories from carbohydrates. Create a carb/calorie deficit beforehand by consuming less in the 24 hours prior, so you can savor that Heffeweizen at night.
Rule # 2: Make it 20%
- This ties into the whole “not feeling guilty” part that I just talked about. Try to have no more than 20% of your calories come from junk food (This works out to about 5 drinks per week).
- According to this math, the average person gets to eat approximately 2,800 calories of junk food every week. That’s like, plenty of beer and pizza.
Rule #3: Strive for progress, not perfection.
- Before experimenting with Paleo, old me would have smacked myself for saying this:
"In my opinion, losing 10% bodyfat while still drinking beer or wine is far more awesome than losing 10.1% and missing out on the food/drink that I want to eat."
- My job is literally to produce results. I create results that augment a person’s lifestyle, not deprive them of it.
For example, one of our members just got back from an amazing weekend in P-Town (aka the Massachusetts version of Vegas) and he’s down 9 pounds this month. Want to know what else he did?
He had a great time.
Fitness has to be something that adds to your life, but doesn’t subtract. Have fun with it and don’t let some hypocritical photo-shopped “trainer” tell you what you can and can not drink.
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And still eat what you want without any guilt?
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