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Love Alcohol? Hate The Calories? Read This.

Here's to some guilt-free drinking.

Food & Drink

I have moments when I want to lose 5-7 pounds. Typically, when I come up with a plan to do it, I really only have to cut out one thing. What is it? Juice. I am someone who adores me some fruit juice. Thing is, juice contains quite a bit of sugar which means quite a bit of calories. Shoot, you'd be lucky to find a brand that is less than 110 calories per serving, and if you drink four glasses throughout the day, that's already 440 calories (when we as women basically only need 2,000 calories a day)! See how easily we can get a ton of extra calories into our system, simply by drinking them? Alcohol is no better, chile. Beer is around 150 calories per serving. Liquor is 80. Whiskey is 70. Vodka is 64 calories. Wine isn't bad. It's around 24.

So, what do you do if you really like having a cocktail at the end of the day or a beer while watching a movie or a game and still, you want to make sure that it doesn't show up on your waistline? That's a good question. If you're interested, I've got a few drinking hacks that can help you to enjoy your favorite drink without regretting it a week later.

1. Lay Off of the Cheap Stuff. If You Can.

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While this first point may cause you to roll your eyes, it's still a valid point. Just think about it. A burger at Mickey D's is way cheaper than one from a higher end restaurant. A part of the reason why is because the quality of meat at the restaurant is way better—and better for you—than one that you can pick up at a drive-thru.

For similar reasons, that's why cheap alcohol isn't really a good look. The more manufactured it is, the higher amounts of sugar and acids it contains. And all of that sugar only leads to more calories. Case in point—a Boone's Farm Strawberry bottle (which is roughly six bucks)? Guess how many calories are in one serving? A whopping 520 calories! Need I say more?

2. Have No More than Two Drinks at a Time

As with just about everything in life, moderation is key. When it comes to alcohol specifically, there are some health professionals who say that 1-2 drinks a day is cool. Eh, you might want to cut even that in half because alcohol can definitely throw off your metabolism and put some stress on your liver over time. And when your metabolism is totally out of wack, that can result in you putting on more weight. So, maybe a half glass a day (at the most) or, if you are a much more moderate drinker (like you only do it on the weekends), only have a couple of drinks at a time. Then make sure to follow my next tip.

3. Chase Your Drinks Down with Water

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Something else to keep in mind is alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it has the tendency to dehydrate you. And when your body needs more fluids, it can either cause you to feel hungry or mimic symptoms related to hunger like fatigue and lightheadedness. A hack that can help you to get around all of this is to drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol that you consume. Not only will the water help to flush out your system, it can cause you to feel fuller, so that you don't end up overeating.

4. Eat Before You Drink

Out of all of the suggestions in this article, if there's one thing that you've probably heard before, it's that you should eat before you drink. Back in your college days, you probably did it to avoid getting drunk faster (understood). However, it can also help to keep you from gaining weight because, with food in your body, your blood sugar levels will be more balanced and that can prevent you from craving junk food or wanting to go on some random late night eating binge.

5. Consume Protein More than Anything Else

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And what kind of foods should you eat before you consume alcohol? It's a good idea to eat protein, if you can. It's a great way to keep your blood sugar levels in check so that you're not wanting to eat everything in sight. Foods that are high in protein include eggs, almonds, poultry, Greek yogurt, pumpkin seeds, fish and lean beef. For the record, some other foods that can balance your blood sugar include broccoli (the sulforaphane in it reduces blood sugar levels), okra (it's got polysaccharides and flavonoid antioxidants that lower blood sugar levels) and raspberries (they've got fiber and antioxidants that can keep your levels in check too).

6. Do a Little “Comparison Drinking”

Sometimes we end up drinking more calories than we ever planned because we have no clue what's in our favorite drinks. Just for the record, mixers are loaded with calories. As you could see from the intro, beer bellies are a real thing because beer has a ton of calories in it as well.

Schnapps has almost 200 calories in a single shot. Cognac is clocking in at a little over 100 calories a shot. Champagne is 95 calories a glass. And, to give you a little perspective on a few other drinks, a piña colada contains the same amount of calories as a donut and a frozen margarita has the same amount of calories as a cheeseburger.

Something that I oftentimes say is "Google is your friend." So yeah, taking a little time to seek out how many calories are in your favorite drink before making it or ordering it can never hurt you in the long run.

7. Let Up on Sweet Wine

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Since I've seen enough of the comments on this site to know that our readers are big time red wine consumers, I want to stress something about sweet wines. For one thing, the caloric intake of them typically equals out to being the same thing as having a slice of cake (who knew, right?). Not only that but when you opt for a sweet wine rather than a drier one, it's got a lot more sugar in it and offers a significantly lower amount of health benefits. So yeah, push back that bottle a little more if it happens to be your thing.

8. Have One You Really Want Rather than a Few You Kinda Like

There are a few health benefits that come from drinking certain kinds of alcoholic beverages (check out "Liquors That Are Gluten-Free (& Beneficial In Other Ways)"). Still, let's be real. Most of us drink alcohol for the taste and/or how it makes us feel. That's why it really is best to order up a cocktail that you know you're gonna really enjoy instead of settling for something lighter in calories and less satisfying, only to end up having 2-3 of those, thinking that you're better off going that route when all you're doing is drinking more calories.

9. Don’t Drink Yourself to Sleep

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A glass of wine before bed may help you to feel more relaxed. However, it doesn't actually give you the kind of quality sleep that you might think that it does. For one thing, alcohol has a way of throwing your REM sleep off. And when it comes to packing on the pounds, since the alcohol tends to raise blood sugar levels in your system, it can actually cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and hit your fridge in order to balance your levels out a bit. So go with some herbal tea and honey or warm almond or oat milk instead. There will be less calories and you'll be able to sleep more soundly.

10. Exercise

There really is no way around it, sis. Eating right and exercise is the strongest combo when it comes to keeping your body tight and right—especially if you enjoy drinking alcohol on a regular basis. If your tummy area is your biggest area of concern, cardio along with some sit-ups and crunches, for 30-45 minutes, 2-3 times a week, will help to burn belly fat and strengthen your core. That way, you can have your alcohol with less weight-related concerns. Enjoy!

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