How can I drink and still be healthy?

My amazing friend Elizabeth sent me this question:

As a young person who really likes drinking (I’d say I drink three night a week at about 4 beers/g&ts a night), what should I do so that I don’t have to stop drinking?

You people that won’t cut back on drinking just want to have your cake and eat it, too! It’s really, really hard to lose weight when you’re drinking more than 2-3 drinks per week. Alcohol contains about 100-150 calories per drink (five ounces of wine, twelve ounces of beer, one and a half ounces of hard liquor). Drinking four beers or gin and tonics a night is like eating an extra 500 calorie meal, which I bet you wouldn’t do.

In the shorter term, I’d recommend cutting back on alcohol gradually, so your body doesn’t need as much of it to get the same feeling you’re now getting from 3-4 drinks per night. In the very long term, I’d suggest aiming for just 2-3 drinks PER WEEK. While you’re cutting back, here are five tips to curb alcohol calories from WebMD:

1. Alternate alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks to save calories. The savvy dieter finishes one cocktail, glass of wine or beer, then has a “mocktail” — a nonalcoholic, preferably zero-calorie beverage (like sparkling water with a lime) that looks like the real thing. This strategy not only reduces the risk of over-consuming calories and alcohol, but it also helps you stay hydrated so your head will thank you in the morning!

2. Choose wine, light beer, or simple cocktails made with low-calorie mixers. Just as you might order your salad with dressing on the side, don’t be shy about asking for your cocktail your way.

3. Skip the mixer altogether. Try ordering your favorite spirit or one of the new flavored liquors on the rocks.

4. Dilute your drink. Another option is diluting your drink with club soda or sparkling water. Wine spritzers are a low-calorie standby. And if you usually drink vodka and cranberry, for example, try it with club soda, just a splash of cranberry juice, and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with a wedge of citrus or pineapple to add flavor and few calories.

5. Have a game plan. Before heading out to the cocktail party or happy hour, make sure you have a game plan. Decide in advance the number of cocktails you are going to drink and cut back on calories during the day in anticipation. But eat a light snack before you go so you won’t get tipsy with the first drink and it will be less tempted to dive into the food. Always be aware of your own personal limits. Don’t drink too much, and, of course, don’t drink and drive.

This is something I’m still working on myself, so I am reblogging this from Nutritionista! I’ve been trying to strike a balance between being both healthy and social! I always much prefer wine over beer, beer over vodka, so I’ve been drinking vodka sodas when I go out. For me, they don’t go down as easily, so it’s easier for me to nurse them. Nutritionista’s right, a plan does help.

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