Is alcohol impeding your weight loss goal?

weight loss goal

So, you eat well, exercise regularly, can’t get rid of those stubborn pounds and reach your weight loss goal.  Have you considered how much alcohol you drink?

I’m not here to lecture you about how much you drink, but just want you to consider how calories from alcohol may impact your weight loss goal. You may be surprised how much a slight increase in your daily calories results in long term weight gain. 

So, how many calories are found in typical drinks? Table 1 gives you an understanding of the various amounts of calories found in an ounce of your favorite adult beverage as well as a general serving size. Remember, the higher the alcohol percent the more calories per ounce, as the following table demonstrates.

BeverageCalories per ounceTypical Serving SizeTotal Calories
Wine25 calories5 to 9 ounces125 to 225 calories
Beer at 5% ABV13 calories12 to 16 ounces156 to 208 calories
Craft Beer at 9% ABV23 calories12 to 16 ounces276 to 368 calories
Distilled spirits (80 proof)65 to 75 calories2 to 4 ounces140 to 280 calories
Sweet liqueurs80 to 100 calories2 to 4 ounces180 to 360 calories

Table 1: Calories in alcohol 

Now that we have a better understanding of how many calories are in your favorite beverage (distilled spirits typically have even more depending on the mixer), let’s consider what the Dietary Guidelines for Americans state. For women, it is 1 drink per day. For men, it is 2 drinks per day. With that in mind, you could be adding, at a minimum of, 125 calories per day for women, doubling that for men. 

alcohol your weight loss goal

However, in America, recent trends suggest we are moving more towards binge drinking episodes and away from the more chronic nightly use associated with previous generations. A binge drinking episode is when a man drinks 5 or more drinks during an event or a woman drinks 4 or more drinks per event. Whether you are chronic in your drinking patterns or tend to indulge more over the weekends, it is important to consider the caloric consequences.

Now, let’s move this discussion into the practical implications of drinking and the effect it has on your weight loss goal. Say you are a 50 year old woman who is 5’6” and weighs 150 lbs. You exercise three times a week. With these calculations you would be consuming roughly 1400 calories per day to maintain your weight around 150 lbs. However, now let’s add in the fact that you have 2 glasses of wine 4 nights per week. Your weight eventually increases to 185 lbs.! It won’t happen overnight, but those 8 glasses of wine per week will add those extra calories which turn into additional pounds. 

So what can you do? Does this mean you have to quit drinking? This will be up to you. Typically, the answer lies in how much and how often. Cutting alcohol completely isn’t necessarily the answer. Scaling back and substituting the alcohol of your choice might decrease your total caloric consumption. At LightenUp® Lifestyle, our coaches personalize one-on-one programs to incorporate small, sustainable changes, while making room for those few extra calories.  If you have a weight loss goal in mind contact LightenUp Lifestyle today for a free lifestyle assessment. 

We can help you start living the lifestyle you want to weigh today!

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