When we look for ways to shrink our waistlines before the big wedding or an upcoming class reunion, an oft-overlooked way to lose weight quick goes unaddressed: drinking. Weight-loss cookbooks, diets and exercise plans rarely tell us, but the truth is that a consistent diet of happy-hour cocktails and beers will sidetrack even the best attempts to shed pounds.
While alcohol and socializing typically go hand-in-hand, being able to network with associates and spend time with friends, while minimizing the liquid carbohydrates, will allow you to show up to your big event in a strapless dress or sheik, slimming suit with far more confidence than you can muster from a free-flowing open bar. We all know it's as easy as not drinking, but who wants to go to a happy hour and order a soda water with lime? In addition, many bars and restaurants require a minimum drink order.
So, the question is how to shed the pounds while keeping your after-work socializing intact. Implement these three important steps, and you'll be well on your way. First, don't remove drinks entirely. Pick a night or two that works for your schedule and your friends, and plan your fun in advance. While out, try to stick to two or three low-calorie options. Try a light beer, or swap soda water for the tonic. If you find yourself engaged in conversation, or wanting to stick around because the cute analyst from the operations department just showed up, sneak in a glass of water between orders. You can literally double your time socializing without doubling your calorie intake.
Be sure to let your friends in on your goals, and why you're less present in the evenings or the newly frequent designated driver. A support network is always key when attempting to make life changes, and good friends and coworkers will respect your drive to be a better, lighter person. If you and your friends don't want to impact your time together, try suggesting an alternative to happy hour, such as volunteering or an adult group sport league.
Lastly, and most importantly, be open to the change you want to make. Keep a positive attitude about minimizing your alcohol consumption. We all need to burn off a little steam at the end of the day, and if you're used to doing that with a Budweiser or Margarita, the change can be difficult. Keep in mind that this change, while possibly difficult, is also positive. Swapping a 12 ounce glass of water for a Budweiser will save you almost 150 calories. Do this once per week, and you've just "burned" 1,050 calories!
Consider how long it takes to burn the same number of calories on a treadmill or stair climber, and the water suddenly looks like a fantastic way to lose weight quick. In addition to the fact that you're limiting calorie intake, you're also sidelining negative effects on your liver, brain, metabolism and overall health. If you're lugging extra pounds, diet and exercise are critical, but if you find yourself doing both, and yet complaining about your lack of weight loss while sipping a cosmo with your girlfriends, it might be time to reconsider the whether the temporary drink is worth the lasting pounds.