Alcohol and Weight Loss: You Don’t Have to Give Up Alcohol To Lose Weight

To be completely honest, I put this article together based on my own research for myself, because one my New Year’s resolutions is to start taking my nutrition more seriously. I hang out with friends almost every weekend and this usually entails going to a restaurant and having beers. I don’t drink all that much anyway, but when I do, I want to make healthier choices.


Probably the most common alcoholic beverage around, beer actually has quite a few healthy benefits, despite what many people think. Beer contains many healthy vitamins, fiber, and readily absorbed antioxidants and minerals, according to studies. And it doesn’t have any fat, salt or cholesterol and has much less sugar as compared to other beverages. The problem is that beer contains lots of empty calories and many people don’t drink just one beer.

Light beers contain anywhere from 50-100 calories per 12 oz. while other beers range anywhere from 150 calories to upwards of 300. That’s a lot of useless calories to put into your body. If you choose to drink beer, go for the ultra-light variety. It won’t get you buzzed as fast, but at least you can still drink with friends. If you’re wondering how many calories are in your favorite beer, check out this handy beer calorie chart.

Wine and Champagne

Most people have already heard that one glass of red wine a day can be healthy for the heart. This is because it contains the resveratrol, which is an antioxidant that studies have shown can reduce cholesterol and prevent blood clots in the arteries. Studies have also shown that red wine can protect the brain from damage after a stroke. Those are great benefits, but just like with beer, it needs to be taken in moderation. One glass of red wine typically has about 80 calories.

Another option when drinking wine is to turn it into a spritzer. Whatever wine you have handy – white wine, red wine, zinfandels – cut them in half with club soda and you’ll reduce the calories by quite a bit. One word of advice; avoid wine coolers. They are processed and usually contain lots of calories. Something you might not have expected though is that the very popular boxed wine, Franzia white wine, only has 90 calories.

For special occasions, such as New Years Eve, weddings and wild trips to Vegas, you might also find yourself drinking champagne. Champagne is actually very similar to wine in terms of calories, one glass (or about 5 oz.) contains around 100 calories.

Hard Cider

If you’re simply looking for a low-calorie alcoholic beverage, you might consider picking up some hard cider. Hard cider often has lower calories than even the lightest of beers. And you can even find many hard ciders with higher alcohol content than beer too.

Hard Alcohol

Many people think the healthiest choices are straight up shots. This isn’t always true because many hard liquors contains lots of sugar, fat and calories. This depends on the type of alcohol of course. “Spirits” such as vodka, whiskey and rum contain about 100 calories per shot and are the best choices if you’re looking to do shots.

Generally, you can stick to these guidelines:

  • 80 proof liquor has 100 calories in a 1.5 oz. shot
  • 100 proof liquor has 124 calories in a 1.5 oz. shot

Mixed Drinks

Mixed drinks are usually the worst choices because they are often made using lots of sweeteners such as grenadine (20 cals. x 1 tsp.) or other sugary liqueurs such as Kahlua (91 cals. x 1 oz.) and midori (80 cals. x 1 oz.). If you choose to go with a mixed drink, choose drinks that are simple – two or three ingredients only and when mixing with soda’s, use diet versions.

Here are several mixed drinks that won’t wreak havoc on your diet:

  • Rum and Diet Coke
  • Bacardi Limon and diet 7-up
  • Bloody Mary (lots of vitamins but also kinda high in sodium)
  • Vodka (or Gin) and Diet Tonic
  • Vodka Cranberry
  • Sugar Free Red Bull & Vodka
  • Mimosa – Minute Maid Light Orange Juice and Champagne (3 oz.)

Drinks to Avoid

During the holidays, many of us like to drink festive beverages, but these are often the worst. A spiked eggnog has approximately 391 calories, while drinks such as Irish cream liqueur can have around 407 calories in only 4 oz. That’s as many calories as one full meal in just one drink.

Here are a few more examples of some drinks you should avoid.

  • Martinis – 400-500 calories
  • Margaritas – 200-800 calories
  • Smirnoff Ice (12 oz.) – 241 calories
  • Mike’s Hard Lemonade (12 oz.) – 220 calories
  • Bartles & Jaymes (12 oz.) – 190 calories
  • Long Island Ice Tea – Up to 780 calories

I think the real key takeaway here is that to drink alcohol and still maintain a healthy diet, is moderation. Drinking any alcohol in excess, no matter what your drink of choice is, can eventually lead to weight gain, heart problems, liver problems, high blood pressure and other serious health issues.


“Beer sampler” image courtesy of J. Rosenfeld
“Pour me some wine please” image courtesy of Sonja Pieper
“@Lady’s Well” image courtesy of CresySusy
“Rum and Coke” image courtesy of RyAwesome
“Pretty Margarita” image courtesy of Bonita Suraputra

ExRx is One of My Favorite Bodybuilding Websites

I just wanted put up a quick post about one of my favorite exercise/fitness websites because I find myself coming back to it all the time and thought it would be helpful to others. The site is or “Exercise Prescription.”

ExRx has lots of useful information about all areas of bodybuilding and fitness, but I use it solely for one reason – to quickly look up any exercise for proper form and execution.

I have a very hard time sticking with one routine for longer than a couple months, so I often use routines from Muscle and Fitness, Mens Fitness, Flex or I put one of my routines together. There are just so many exercises available that sometimes I don’t remember exactly what the move is or what the proper form is, and this is where ExRx excels.

You can look up just about any exercise you can possibly think of and the great thing about it is that for every move, they have a small GIF video showing how to do it. One of the things I hate most when I’m trying to figure out how to do a specific move is going to YouTube and watching a 5 minute video of how to do a simple exercise that should only take 20 seconds to explain.

They also list instructions such as preparation, execution and any additional comments on performing the move correctly.

You can search their directory for exercises that target very specific muscles so you can even put together a highly targeted workout routine.

There is one thing I don’t like about the site though and that’s they don’t have an easily accessible search feature. On some of the pages, they list a search link in the footer of the page, but not on all and if you want to search only the exercise directory, you have to use their Search Exercise page. I just wish the search feature was built into the site in a more easily accessible place.

ExRx is not a beautiful site by any means, but I think the simpleness of the design makes it easy to use and more importantly, fast. It’s for all the reasons in this post that I suggest you add to your bookmarks.

Yoga Is a Great Way to Start the Morning

I’m still a beginner in Yoga, even though I’ve been doing it for a couple years. I call myself a beginner because I don’t practice often. When I was doing the P90X program I did it once a week, but I haven’t been incorporating it into my routines lately. In the last few weeks I’ve decided to change that so I’ve been using a DVD called A.M. Yoga for Your Week with Rodney Yee.

This DVD covers just about everything the yoga beginner can think of. It’s certainly not advanced, but it’s the perfect way to start the day and I’ve really found it to be a great way to end a weight lifting routine. A.M. Yoga For Your Week with Rodney Yee contains five 20 minute workouts that are designed to do five days a week. I guess I’m required to take the weekend off? 😉

Each of the workouts are easy to follow and provide a nice variety in my yoga routine. The five workouts are Standing Poses, Twists, Backbends, Forward Bends, and Hip Openers. I like all of them, but the Twists routine feels great, especially since I have back issues. I’ve really been enjoying doing these yoga routines every morning before work and although they’re simple I feel full of energy when I leave for my commute.

I’ve recorded a few poses from each routine and created a video so you can see an example of what’s included every day. I apologize for the cluttered basement and poor lighting.