Three Months of Weight Loss Almost Over

For the last three months I’ve been doing the Transformation Challenge from and my end date is officially up in two days, April 22, 2011. I didn’t get ripped like the two people in the photo above, but I did see some great progress.

This Friday I’ll be taking my final weigh-in, “after” photos and body measurements for the program and I can’t wait. When I started this program, I put it in my head that I was going to stick with it and work harder than I ever had before.

It was hard, but I did it.

I ate the exact same thing every day during the whole program. I’m no stranger to eating the same meals over and over. I’ve been doing it for years, but I’ve always changed it up every couple of weeks. It really wasn’t that difficult. I like knowing exactly what to buy at the store without a shopping list and knowing what to cook without recipes.

I’ll go into more detail about my nutrition plan when I write my essay for the contest, which I’ll link to here on the site as well.

I think I’ve done quite well for this challenge. I’ve accomplished my goals originally set out when I started the program, so I couldn’t be happier. I’ve actually lost more weight than I wanted to, but I really wanted to stick to the program until the end so I kept going.

I’m super-excited because I plan on bulking up starting next week with a new routine. I’ll also be changing my nutrition plan, but not by much. I’ll just make a few modifications and bump up the calories.

I should have my results from the Transformation Challenge posted sometime this weekend, so check back soon.

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

Drinking More Water Can Lead to Weight Loss

It’s always been known by health experts that drinking water provides many benefits. It’s a necessity, it keeps your body cool and is refreshing on a hot day. And when you drink lots of water, you aren’t drinking sugary drinks like soda and orange Koolaid 😉 These benefits alone should be enough to convince you to start drinking more water daily, but according to research performed by a team led by Brenda Davy of Virginia Tech, water has been proven to to accelerate weight loss.

The research consisted of 48 inactive Americans between the ages of 55 to 75 who were split into two groups. One group was told to drink half a litre of water before each of their three daily meals. The other participants were not told what to drink. All test subjects had been consuming between 1,800 and 2,200 calories per day and for the test, the woman were allowed only 1,200 calories while the men were allowed 1,500.

The test went on this way for three months and it was found that the group that were not given instructions had lost about 11 lbs., while the group who drank water lost an average of 15 1/2 lbs.

Two key things to note about the study:

  • Both groups lost weight because their calorie intakes were reduced, but the group who drank water lost more.
  • The group who had not been told to drink water, may have consumed soda or sweet drinks, which did count into their daily calorie intake, so it doesn’t reason that they consumed more calories per day because of it.

Davy had mentioned that water may have helped satiate their appetites causing them to consume less calories. This may be true. Without seeing the complete results of the study, it’s hard to know whether or not the water drinkers finished their meals. 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day is quite low so I would guess that many participants did finish their meals.

While the study is fairly small at only 48 subjects, it still suggests that drinking more water can lead to greater weight loss. Do you really need a study to tell you that you should be drinking more water anyway? Drink up!