One of the reasons why people tend to look forward to the weekend so much, besides being away from work, is the ritualistic imbibing of alcohol and consumption of rich foods which many tend to engage in. I have clients who will follow a sensible and healthy meal plan during the week, only to abandon all self-control, put on party hats and eat and drink during the entire weekend.
I will explain to you why this practice is a sure way to keep you from attaining your fitness goals. When you drink large amounts of alcohol, say 3 drinks or more, your body gets a sudden influx of alcohol which puts your body’s metabolism of nutrients to a grinding halt. Why? Because the body cannot store alcohol and must use it immediately as a fuel source. What happens with nutrients is that they are converted to fat and then stored in fat tissue for later use, so alcohol essentially prevents the body from utilizing fat. High consumption of alcohol also impairs the cerebral function (specifically the prefrontal cortex), flattening inhibitions and increasing the appetite. That is why you will often crave greasy foods when you drink, because the body turns to rich foods to replenish nutrients. The combination of increased appetite and behavioral changes are enough to get you to eat a calorie laden, fatty meal which is then stored as fat.
I enjoy the occasional cocktail and as a result will never tell people to avoid drinking altogether. However, I have several recommendations which will minimize the fat deposition which alcohol consumption triggers.
1. Always eat a meal with PROTEIN, FIBER and HEALTHY FAT before you begin drinking to offset the surge in blood sugar which occurs with alcohol consumption and to slow the absorption of alcohol once it is introduced to the gut.
2. Drink two glasses of water for every drink of alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it will dry you out. Because of this, it is important to maintain a high level of hydration to offset the diuretic effect.
3. Limit consumption to 1 or 2 drinks in an evening. This will keep calorie consumption down.