30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge Day 23: How to Enjoy a Cocktail (and Coffee!) While Staying on Track

Katie using a cocktail shaker to make an alcoholic beverage
You're almost to your goal! Don't blow it on a sugar-filled cocktail. (Image: Kristen Schellenberg / LIVESTRONG.COM)

Does living healthy have to mean giving up alcohol and/or caffeine? Well, it depends on your individual goals. Excessive intake of either isn't beneficial, especially if you're focused on losing weight.

But if you just can't live without your morning cup of coffee or nightly glass of red wine, there are strategies that can help you balance your alcohol and caffeine intake with your weight-loss goal.

The Skinny on Alcohol

Alcohol is empty calories, plain and simple. Because of that, many people abstain from drinking alcohol during the early part of their fitness journey, while some just cut back.

If you do decide to imbibe during your weight-loss journey, tracking your alcohol intake will help you practice moderation and understand how booze affects your caloric intake and daily nutrition. (Spoiler alert: Portion size plays a major role.) Everybody is different, so you know best what works for you.

But drinking is often a social activity, and we don't want you to miss out on good times with friends, family and colleagues. So the key is to make smarter choices that'll fit into your nutrition plan. Knowing what's really in those cocktails can help you decide if it's worth it.

Should You Cut Out Coffee?

While coffee is very low in calories, it's what you put in your java that can really add up. Creamers, sugar and flavoring agents equal empty calories. Try using milk (or a milk substitute) and cutting out the sugar completely.

For safe and moderate intake, don't exceed 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine a day. Try to cut back or eliminate sodas and energy drinks as sources for your buzz (yes, even diet sodas). The added sugar and empty calories will not help your weight loss.

How to Join the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge

using a smartphone to track calories eaten on the MyPlate app
Tracking is easy with MyPlate. (Image: LIVESTRONG.COM)
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