August 28, 2018
I have a story I want to share that I think a lot of you will resonate with!
Sometime in 2013, I decided I wanted to lose weight. A desire I’m sure a lot of us have had at some point in our lives. Although I had absolutely no experience in a gym, or with food that didn’t come from a box, I thought, this is it! I’m going to lose the weight this time. I’m going to feel confident in my bikini this summer, I’m going to wear whatever I want and feel good, I’m going to do it!!
Well, I didn’t.
Monday-Thursday I spend well over an hour in the gym, anywhere from 30-45 minutes on the elliptical, depending on how fat I felt that day. I would say to myself, “okay, 30 minutes = three 10 minute intervals, I can do that”, then maybe 20 minutes of half-ass abs and called it a workout. I replaced my lunch with a low carb, low flavor, smoothie drink made from some powder I was sold on because “drink a smoothie, and lose weight” seemed like the winning ticket!
Then Thursday night came around and it’s like every goal I had, every can of tuna I ate during the week, was a thing of the past.
In college, beer was my preferred drink. I would get a 30 pack of Keystone Light for $30 for the weekend (obviously keystone light, I’m a diet here, duh).
It all seemed fine, I was only drinking on the weekends. I continued that habit and lifestyle for the next year or so until I turned 21. Drinking was something I had been doing since I was pretty young, I didn’t really know what other life to live on the weekends if it weren’t for going out and drinking, staying in and drinking, it didn’t really matter, as long as we were drinking.
Looking back now I realize a few things:
Depending on where you grew up, It seems like this is the reality for a lot of people.
Shortly after turning 21 I was not seeing any progress in my weight loss. I had found myself a boyfriend, he was super athletic and I thought, well If I want an athletic guy, why on earth wouldn’t he want a girl that’s in shape? So I narrowed it down to what I needed to stop doing and the last thing I could possibly eliminate from my diet was alcohol.
I decided for an entire month I would stop drinking. I would be the driver for my friends and pick up more shifts at work.
At first, I was almost embarrassed to tell my friends that I wasn’t drinking. I was always down to drink, like, literally never said no. So the thought of telling them, I’m not drinking because of fitness goals made me very uncomfortable. I thought for sure I would be looked at weird and not only that but I thought I would get “the look”.
You know, the look.
The one where they tilt their heads with a drink in their hand holding it out to you and say “one drink isn’t going to hurt! come on!”
Then you feel pressure to take the drink. One drink leads to more and you’re suddenly back into the same routines. You wake up the next morning feeling bad about yourself because you’ve let yourself be pressured yet again.
Just me?! Anyone?!
It might sound weird but I always knew there was more for me than that lifestyle. More than the excessive drinking, staying up late, never spending my Sunday’s sober. I always envisioned something else for myself, I didn’t know exactly how I’d get there but I knew.
I worked at a gym in Fargo and would pick up more late night shifts or early morning to give my friends excuses as to why I wasn’t going out. It seemed to work for the most part. I would wake up on Sunday sober, I would work out in the morning, grocery shop, and I felt great while all my friends felt like death.
During April I went out maybe 2 times with everyone but I didn’t drink. Turns out being the sober one with a group of drunk people isn’t the most fun thing in the world.
When May came around I had lost 10 pounds. Clearly, some water weight but I noticed significant changes in my body. My legs were more toned and stronger, my face, chest, and arms all thinned out and I was overall feeling so much better about myself.
In that month I got to where I was really happy with myself and slowly started introducing alcohol back into my weekends but this time it was different.
It was only a month but during that month I learned a lot.
I’ll say it again.
Your “why” has to be greater than what anyone else thinks of you.
When your goals are uncomfortable, that’s when you know you have to keep trying and you have to keep going. Look where that one month of doing what I wanted to do for me, and finding that confidence without alcohol led me. It was less than a year after that when I moved to Minneapolis and met Jon. Whatever deep desire you crave in your heart, it’s there for a reason.
I know it’s scary to worry about what other people will think of you, and I know it’s scary to lose people in your life, and I know it’s scary to chase your goals feeling like you’re all alone and nobody understands your “why” – but trust me, there are people who understand. It took me years to figure out, my struggles are not unique.
I think a frustrating part of being down for anything to doing what serves you and saying “no”, is that people just think you’re not fun anymore. Like, suddenly you can’t even be invited out because “you don’t drink” anymore.
After I had lost weight from not drinking that entire month, and I was happy with where I was, I decided I would start to switch my alcohol from beer to liquor. I started to introduce vodka mixed drinks and found that I didn’t feel like an absolute whale after drinking it.
I didn’t find my confidence in alcohol anymore, so not only did I drink less because of that but it was almost like my body was rejecting it even more now. It was used to feeling good and now suddenly I’m putting poison back into it. I would go out maybe once a weekend instead and each time it just wasn’t the same.
You know, alcohol is a lot like junk food. When we want to lose weight, we have to stop eating junk but it’s not like we can never have junk food ever again. That’s just not how it works. I am mainly dairy free but I still eat pizza. I am mainly grain free, but I still eat rice and quinoa and oats. I don’t go out and binge drink anymore but I still drink wine with dinner.
I don’t view alcohol as the bad guy. It was me who didn’t know how to handle it. It was me who only drank to get drunk. It was my fault that I gave alcohol a bad rap.
If you do it right, you shouldn’t be afraid to enjoy your favorite drinks in moderation. Once you reach your goals and can maintain them, you can start incorporating all your favorite foods and drinks back into your diet without losing progress. This is a lifestyle and a healthy one at that and drinking or eating pizza once in a while will not set you back. It only sets you back if you allow it too.
You are in control.
I asked you all on Instagram to ask me some questions pertaining to alcohol. Thank you to those who asked. Most of these questions were worded differently but asking the same thing. I’m going to combine a lot of them!
Q: Do you allow any alcohol in your diet? If so, how often and how much? || How often do you drink a few drinks in the same night? || How much do you drink a week?
A: Yes, of course! I would say I drink twice a month if that. It depends on what season it is and if there are multiple occasions such as weddings or bachelorette parties. Some months I go without drinking at all, and sometimes it’s just a glass of wine here and there. When I do go out and drink, I usually only have 1-3 drinks max for the entire night.
A year ago, I still wouldn’t drink that often but I would have 4-5. I finally realized, this is not worth feeling so crappy so the past 2 bachelorette parties I had this summer I only drank 2-3 drinks the entire weekend and still had fun! I can go home on Sunday and get back into my routine much easier. If I stay at home or dinner parties, it’s almost always wine and maybe 1-2 glasses.
Q: What’s your go-to drink? || Healthiest/ low-calorie options? || What type of alcohol do you gravitate to and what do you try to avoid? || What to order out-to-eat?
A: It all depends on the occasion. Dinner parties is almost always a red wine blend, homemade mojito, or Rose. If I am at a bar, I’ll do a Vodka drink or White Rum. I stay away from juices such as orange juice, cranberry juice or lemonade. These are loaded with sugar. I also stay away from dark liquor. Of course, we all have our preference but Vodka is less sugar and calories. I know everyone says vodka soda, but you can make that a little more tasty by adding lemon, limes, orange or even a doing a flavored vodka changes it a lot. Lately, I have been drinking White Claw’s, this to me is the best drink I could have going out because I don’t feel sick on these, they are light and refreshing. Truly Sparkling Drinks also work, I personally don’t find those to be as good as White Claw’s but another great option to try with many flavors!
I’m not one to ask for beer options, because I don’t drink beer at all anymore. Here are a few other healthier/low-calorie options to order when out, or make at home (all my spiked seltzer options will be listed in a later question)
There are so many sparkling waters that are flavorful and would be perfect with fresh fruit and Vodka. Here are my favorites:
Q: Did you drink in college? If not, how do you avoid doing it when a majority of people do? || College party advice?
A: Yes I did. I was a huge binge drinker, I’ve been drinking since a young age. It’s just what we did in our small town. The thing about drinking with others is, who cares what you do? From experience, I know that if I can’t have a conversation or hang out with a friend without drinking, then they really aren’t my friend. Wherever you go, bring your favorite drinks. Bring flavored sparkling water in a cute cup with a straw and just enjoy others company. Not every occasion has to be about drinking! Surround yourself with people who encourage you, support you, love you for whatever the heck you do. You are who you surround yourself with and if you don’t want to binge drink or drink in general, then don’t put yourself in situations where you might.
Enjoy college! I don’t for a second regret anything I did in college. I went to college because I thought it was what I had to do. My parents encouraged me to do whatever I wanted, but I thought others would look at me differently if I hadn’t gone. I went to college to party and to be social. I had a great time and if you’re going to parties, go because you enjoy it and want to go. Don’t go because you think it’s what you have to do. If you aren’t a drinker or even that social, that’s okay! I know it sounds cliche but just be you! If you want to go to parties but not drink, that’s great, too! Bring your favorite thing to sip on and have fun. 🙂
Q: What do you suggest for drinking when losing weight? Other than Vodka soda? || Can you enjoy alcohol but still focus on growing muscle, losing weight?
A: I think my story speaks for itself! I really believe that if you want to lose weight, you should stop drinking for a little bit and then you can incorporate drinking back into your lifestyle once those goals are maintainable. That’s from personal experience and from hundreds of clients at our gym that I have seen transform when they stopped drinking. There is always going to be an event or something that you would normally drink at, but I encourage you to stop for one month and see how you feel and the changes in your body that will occur, especially your mid-section, complexion and overall health and happiness – mentally and physically. If you do choose to drink, I would refer to the drinks I listed in question 2.
Q: How to maintain a healthy lifestyle while enjoying time out with friends or your hubby?
A: Be smart and make good choices! Sip on the same drink and limit to only one. You should find your balance as far as being able to go out and wake up the next morning and get things done. If you’re going out and drinking and the next day you can’t find motivation and your cravings are really bad, you have to take a step back and do less the next time. Find your balance! It took me years to find mine. I also drink probably 8 glasses of water alone every single time I drink. I will sip on water as I have my drink, and drink a full glass of water after each drink. I also stop drinking after a certain point in the night. For example, If I know I’m going to be in bed by midnight, I’ll stop drinking by 10. That way I can enjoy myself but by midnight I’ve already had so much water mixed in, I’m sober and wake up feeling great.
Q: Post alcohol digestive recovery + mental recovery?
A: Speaking on mental recovery first, it gets harder to recover the older you get. As our bodies change the older we are, the harder it is to get rid of that toxic waste in our system. I’m to the point now where I try and stay away from ever being hungover. I do that by obviously drinking less but also drinking way more water. It’s much easier for me to do this because I don’t turn to alcohol anymore after everything good or bad. If you are feeling depressed, anxious, really negative thoughts about yourself, moody or just not yourself after a night of drinking, I would encourage you to not drink and ask yourself why you’re drinking.
What goes on in your body after drinking is too much for me to even understand or try to explain. Alcohol is poison at the end of the day. Our bodies don’t want alcohol, and we will start to reject it. Your body will be trying to flush out those toxins however it can, as soon as it can. Some people may experience loose bowel movements and others will experience constipation. The best advice I can give it to take preventative measures instead of trying to recover. Eat before you drink, have TONS of water, limit your intake of alcohol.
Q: The best Spiked Seltzer? Go for one with least sugar or ingredients?
A: I think White Claw’s are my favorite. I personally go for fewer ingredients and no added sugar, only real sugar. I know White Claw’s have natural fruit juice in them which I would rather have. Here are some others:
Q: Do you limit yourself to a drink an hour or a certain amount per night? Do you ever binge drink? How do you handle drinking around binge drinkers if you don’t?
A: I don’t necessarily limit per hour but I drink so much water during the nights I’m drinking alcohol that I never actually get drunk anymore. If I start to feel tipsy, I just stop drinking for a little bit, and will just sip on my drink. That has just come with experience, I don’t feel the need to binge drink because my goal isn’t to get drunk. I used to drink to get drunk, and that was the only goal. I’m so much more confident in myself now that being drunk is never on my mind. Also, I don’t put myself in situations where there’s going to be people binge drinking. If they are, that’s not my concern and I just worry about myself.
I really hope this post helped you. I started drinking when I was 14 years old, and I genuinely believed that to have a good time or “fit in” you had to drink and you had to drink to get drunk. You truly don’t, and if you’re not a drinker but you still read this post, it’s okay that you don’t drink! I only drink now because I enjoy what I’m drinking, not for anyone else, and to never feel something. For so long alcohol was a way for me to feel and be completely stress-free but it truly does the opposite. It brought me sadness and anxiety and it’s not worth it to me anymore because I have filled the places in my life that needed filling. With love, Jesus, healthy living, good people, and genuine JOY.
Thanks for reading.
all my love,
I just wanted to leave a comment here and tell you THANK YOU for posting this. It spoke so much into my life. I am on an 11 month mission trip and stressing about life once get home. I am fresh out of college and much of my 4 years was also drinking. A lot. And my friends back home still do that quite often and being gone I have barely drank and I love it. But worried I’ll fall back into poor habits once I’m home. Thanks for the encouragement and reminder to focus on ME.
Hi Adriana! 11 months!? That’s incredible – I can imagine some anxious thoughts coming home, I’m sure a lot of your heart has changed in many ways! Don’t feel pressured to be the same person, most likely you aren’t! The friends that matter most will just be excited to have you back. 🙂 Thanks for reading and sharing!
2 Comments on Can You Drink Alcohol + Lose Weight? My Experiences // Q+A