• Wed, Nov 27 - 10:30 am ET

You Don’t Have To Stop Drinking In Order To Lose Weight, But It Wouldn’t Hurt

Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones's DiaryBeing a party animal and trying to lose weight at the same time is no easy task. Sacrificing fun totally blows, but do you really have to cut out alcohol in order to lose weight? According to Katie Rickel, Ph.D., a psychologist at Wellspring at Structure House, a weight-management facility in Durham, North Carolina, there might be value to eliminating alcohol when dieting. She said:

 ”Alcohol actually provides no nutritional value. It is neither carb, nor fat, nor protein. It’s in a class by itself, so it doesn’t provide nutrients. Alcohol is just wasting calories.”

Is it really “wasting” calories if you want to consume them a particular way? Not really. If people can manage to allocate their calories appropriately, eat well and still get to have a drink, it’s not a waste of anything. If you blow all of your calories on cocktails and don’t get to eat any food, that’s just dangerous, but not a waste. Just keep in mind how many calories are in your drinks and don’t pretend they don’t count towards calorie totals. It’s always struck me as odd the way dieters budget calories like finances. When I say “struck me as odd” I mean “totally weirds me out.”

Another reason to take a break from booze when dieting: your lowered inhibitions might make you break your diet.

 ”When you drink alcohol, it’s easy to lose your determination and fall into ‘a little won’t hurt’ thinking,”

Personally, I’m no stranger to diet-destroying-late-night-after-party slices of pizza. Maybe in the morning, I’m disappointed in myself for the extra indulgence, but that really doesn’t seem like liquor’s fault. Some people manage to drink without binging and ruining their diet using self control. Those people might be evil. Rickels advises that those who cannot stay faithful to a weight loss plan while drinking, set a period of time to abstain from alcohol. This separation period will make it easier to commit to a “dieting rhythm” and get in the groove. Those who simply cannot part with the bottle for a couple weeks or months should set limits–one drink a day or a week– as long as “it’s predetermined—not left as a decision to make in the moment.”

via ABC News//Image via Bridget Jones’ Diary(2001)

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  • Derek

    This is true! Funny actually, first place I saw that said you didn’t have to not drink was fatburntime.com/diet, just earlier today ;)

  • kj

    Not sure how budgeting calories is weird? I would say it’s pretty on par with any concept of balanced eating.

    At any rate, what I have read is that it’s not the empty calories from alcolhol that are the problem – it’s the way that your body metabolizes alcohol differently and stores it as fat. Heard this from a nutritionist I eally respect that recommends that her clients don’t drink at all if they are trying to change their body composition.

    • Joanna Rafael

      Budgeting calories is weird because eating a cupcake has never bankrupted anyone. The repercussions are pretty different. To me, the metaphor objectifies human bodies and reinforces a negative relationship with nourishment. BUT it works for other people, so who cares if I think it’s weird?

      As for cutting out alcohol, do whatever you gotta do for yo.

  • Elisianna

    If you are a boozer and want to lose weight just go on the good old-fashioned “Drinking Man’s Diet” which is a diet where you eat/drink only 60 carbs per day but drink with every meal (as long as you are not having high carb drinks).