Have you heard the adage don’t drink your calories? Good advice actually. If you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight looking at what you drink is a good starting point. Maintaining a healthy weight for most people is really just tweaking a few things in their diet, and eliminating a drink here or there will be hardly noticeable after a few weeks of practice.
Let’s look at some examples of drinks and their calorie contributions over a year:
Do you enjoy a 6 pack over the week? 135 calories (avg) X 6 X 52 weeks = 42,120 calories or 12 lbs per year.
Do you savor an 8 ounce class of wine 5 days per week? 200 calories X 5 days X 52 Weeks or 52,000 calories or 14.85 lbs per year.
1 can per day? 140 calories X 365 days = 51,110 calories or 14.6 lbs per year
Pour an 8 ounce glass of unsweetened O.J. every morning? 105 calories X 365 days = 38,325 calories or 10.95 lbs per year
Are you like all those other bleary eyed customers waiting in line for your daily morning Tim Horton’s medium double/double Coffee fix? 210 calories X 365 days = 76,650 calories or 21.9 lbs. Much better off having a can of Soda at 6:30 am at least you only gained 14 lbs.
Now, do you get why looking at what you drink can make all the difference in the world to whether or not you are successful in weight maintenance! It really is that simple. People suffer by going on these crazy starvation diets. They lose the weight but eventually find themselves back at the same weight and not wanting to go back to the drudgery and pain of the diet again. Who would? If it’s as easy as cutting out one drink per day why wouldn’t you consider it? Let’s say you have been putting on 8 lbs per year for the last 5 years and have gained 40 lbs.
This might seem like you have become the biggest glutton in the world right? Not really. It means you consumed only an extra 77 calories over your daily limit per day. A half a beer, 3 ounces of wine, a half can of soda per day. Not much. Take the can of soda as an example. If you are putting on 8 lbs per year and you now eliminate that can of soda per day you will lose 6.6 lbs in one year by doing nothing else but that. Yes it sounds simplistic I know, but you can’t really argue with the math.
As a trainer I see how not drinking your calories works all the time. We had a 12 week weight loss contest at our studio a couple of years ago. We would publish the results each week as to the percentage weight loss. Four weeks into the contest one of our clients was lagging at the bottom of contest. She really hadn’t bought into our pep talk about weight loss strategies but she decided to do just one thing; stop drinking beer for the duration of the contest. At the end of the 12 weeks she had gone from second last out of 25 participants to a 2nd place finish leapfrogging 22 people! Most people that I train who drink alcohol have amazing weight loss results if they can cut it out for a specific period or at least cut back over the long term.
Let’s switch gears and get onto diet soda. If you are a soda drinker and don’t mind the taste of diet soda you are probably thinking I will just make the switch. But here’s where it starts to get complicated. Most of us are aware that sugar substitutes aren’t too healthy. After all didn’t they prove that if a mouse drinks the equivalent of 100 diet pops a day they will develop cancer in 40 years or something absurd like that? I used to tell my clients if they wanted something sweet after dinner to eat those 5 calorie Jellos sweetened with sucralose. I would eat them too.
If one wasn’t enough to satisfy my sweet tooth, I would eat a second or a third one. Why not, it would only be 15 calories. Probably more calories burned getting up to go the fridge right! After a while I stopped eating them though, because after two or three I would start to get dizzy. I didn’t know why but that was enough to tell me maybe eating something that made me dizzy wasn’t such a great idea. As you will see later in the article there was a lot happening in my body after consuming those little jello packs