Booze Choose: Optimizing Your Alcohol Intake

Do This, Not That, When You’re Thirsty for a Beverage!

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With countless holiday parties friends, co-workers and loved ones, combined with peer pressure, daylight savings and less outdoor activity, your goals fly away on Santa’s sled.

Alcohol is a fun way to break the ice with people you don’t know or would rather not be around (hello family). It’s okay to drink and have a good time, but what’s the cost? Can you still party like it’s 1999 and drop some lb’s?

What does eggnog, coquito, apple cider, Irish coffee and a hot buttered rum all have in common?

They’re all delicious belly warming drinks to sip in colder months. Unfortunately they’re high in calories. Dessert-type libations tend to have a good amount of fat in them. Sadly, fat has about nine calories per gram, compared to carbohydrates and protein that have approximately four calories per gram. So you can see how the alcohol choices you make are important if you’re trying to manage the calories you ingest.

If you want to party, be smart about it…

Don’t Let Your Goals Get Wasted

1) What’s Wrong with Tea?

If you’re feeling cold, you actually have some healthy options to drink. Tea, black coffee and even a hot toddy can hit the spot. Try adding warming spices to your food and beverages. Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne and cardamom are all good choices to keep the chilliness away.

2) Good Alcohol, Bad Alcohol

Many alcohols contain the infamous gluten (cue horror movie scream). If you want to keep your body’s inflammatory response to a minimum, try vodka which is made from potatoes or tequila that comes from the agave plant.

Alcohols like whiskey, scotch, rum and wine may not always have gluten but they’re higher in sugar.

3) Mind the Dessert Table

It’s quite alright if you’re indulging in a few spirits over the holidays, but watch doubling up on other empty calories. Foods that don’t have much nutritional value aren’t the best choice to eat while you’re drinking. Processed food and sugary desserts are the main culprits to watch out for.

The holiday season is a time for joy and celebration. It can be difficult sometimes to have fitness goals AND have a life. Luckily, you don’t have to choose. Make one good choice after another and they’ll stack up. If all else fails, throw back several shots and pray you still look good in the morning!

Are You Making These Fitness Mistakes?

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Four Ratios of Food and Fitness

Use These Four Ideas to Balance Exercise and Calories

Not exercising and eating a lot means the scale goes up. But did you know that it’s also unhealthy to workout more and eat less?

Say whaaaaaaat!?

Finding time for fitness is hard enough. Then add traditions like counting calories and meal prepping and you’re ready to pull your hair out. It seems impossible to keep your head above the water.

Relax, take a deep breath! There is a way to keep it simple!

Keep reading to learn about the four ratios to fitness…

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The Math, Simplified

  1. Eat More, Train Less - Bad

2. Eat Less, Train More - Bad

3. Eat More, Train More - Good

4. Eat Less, Train Less - Good

Depending on how often you exercise and how strenuous those workouts are, you will need to eat accordingly.

Ratio #1: Eat More, Train Less

This is the classic example of an unhealthy lifestyle. The person who eats more calories and barely exercises, if they do at all. This combination means you will add unwanted body fat.

If a person doesn’t exercise very much and has a sedentary job, they don’t need to eat very much to maintain energy during their daily activities. This can even go for the avid exerciser as well. If there are days where you don’t plan on training, you don’t have to eat as much food. It’s ok.

Ratio #2: Eat Less, Train More

You may be thinking: “Wait a second, isn’t this how I lose weight!?” Yes and no. More exercise, less calories is effective to a certain extent, but keep in mind that healthy weight loss is slow and steady.

To lose weight you do have to be in a caloric deficit but that only works in short stints. We’ve had members follow restrictive meal plans for months at a time. They were effective in the beginning and the person is happy! Then 6 months later they’re upset that the diet isn’t working any more.

Your body needs calories for repair and daily activity. If you’re working your butt off to lose some of your unwanted butt, you have to plan to eat a little more on those days to keep the process sustainable.

Choose 4-8 week blocks that may be more calorie restrictive, then back off for 8 to 12 weeks.

Ratio #3: Eat More, Train More

If you’re someone who is working out A LOT, you’ll need more calories than someone who doesn’t. Eating more will ensure that your energy levels stay up, you can keep up with your training schedule without burning out and you’re fueling your muscles.

This feels like the toughest pill to swallow for most members because they’re so used to Ratio #2. Eating more got them to this place in the first place, so why would it work now? We get it but we still need you to try eating a little more. A little more protein. A little more vegetables. Even a little more carbs. How’s that sound?

Ratio #4: Eat Less, Train Less

Say you’re someone who usually exercises frequently but is coming off of an injury, pregnancy, surgery or simply has a bad week and you have no time to workout. In this scenario, you’re moving less and therefore don’t need to eat as much.

Awareness is the key here. Be cognizant of lulls in your training routine. Maybe there are weeks you lift less on purpose or you run a few extra miles. Eat accordingly. When we get in the mindset that eating is important to sustain our exercise frequency we get blinded by our ambition and we end up over eating. One week of over eating isn’t the worst thing in the world, but you’ll have to pivot if it’s a prolonged period of less activity.

If this whole equation seems abstract and too complex, that’s okay! Like we said, this is a simplified version of these ideas. Of course a lot depends on your own body and how it works. Make sure to talk to a coach or find someone you trust with your fitness and nutrition goals. To simplify the process even further, get a good amount of sleep, eat nutritious foods, move your body often and find a way to de-stress daily.



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The Dessert Table: RD’s Guide to Navigating Social Events

… Because you don’t want to be locked in a closet until after New Years!

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You walk into your in-laws house. Anxious, you accept that first cocktail or beer. Feeling slightly better, you start to have appetizers and another drink. Ah, dinner is served. Carb Heaven. You can’t say no to two scoops of stuffing some mashed potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy and a few more spirits.

You’re full and feeling guilty.

Dessert comes out!

Now you go back and forth; “Should I eat that piece of pie or should I refuse?”

No matter who you are and how you celebrate the holidays, if you have fitness and nutrition goals, the chances of feeling some sort of discomfort toward food during a celebration has or will happen to you.

So here are some rules of the road to navigate social gatherings during the holidays!

What to Do:

1… Set Boundaries

At some point you have to say enough is enough. One day of indulging is reasonable, but the continuous get togethers and social gatherings add up.

So, put your foot down and say no. Change is scary and uncomfortable. You may have to speak to your loved ones and let them know your goals.

2… Pre-Eat

To avoid overeating and feeling like a real Santa Claus, eat something healthy before you get to the party. If you’re already a little full or even satisfied, you’re less likely to overindulge in foods you’d rather not eat.

3… Plan Ahead

Ask the chef what they’re whippin’ up! If you know there will be sweet potatoes, turkey or other lean meats and a good amount of veggies, you’ll be more prepared to have a good meal and stay within your normal eating habits.

On the flip side, if they’re not making food that jives with your goals, volunteer to bring a side dish, even if you’re the only one who eats it.

4… Treat Yo’Self

Let’s call it a treat meal instead of cheat meal. “Cheating” implies guilt. Foods aren’t “good” or “bad”. Sure, there are healthier options than others but you should allow yourself to have a good time. If eating a piece of cheesecake once a year has you in a tizzy then you need to look at why that is.

Denying yourself simple pleasures, especially during the holiday season can lead to binging and feeling even more pain and guilt. It’s okay to live a little, we promise.

5… Don’t Double Up

If you want a few beers, starchy carbs or dessert, go for it, but don’t have ALL of them together. It’s one thing to enjoy yourself (see number four again!), and it’s another to gorge yourself on all of the foods you’d normally avoid.

Make this decision BEFORE you go. Do you want alcohol, starch or dessert. Going into the meal having made your decision, you’ve decided to do what’s satisfying instead of feeling like you should have had another indulgence.

Repeat after us: “I will have a good holiday season. I can savor the meals I share with the ones I love and know I’m still on track.” If all else fails, ditch your family and eat plain chicken and broccoli alone in your apartment.


Are There Good Carbs and Bad Carbs?

Find out Below!

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