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.
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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.
6 Tips for Drinking While Losing Weight
- Avoid cocktails with fruit juice, liqueurs or cream. They just add calories, carbs (from sugar) and fat.
- Be mindful of added sugar or sugary mixers (sour mix, simple syrup, grenadine, etc). Keep it simple with one or two ingredients.
- Steer clear of slushy or blended drinks. Instead, opt for a mixed drink over crushed ice.
- Many beers are 200 to 400 calories per serving. Try a low-calorie light beer as an option.
- Alternate between one alcoholic beverage and one glass of water. You'll cut down on calories and help avoided a dreadful hangover.
- Choose your drinks wisely. If you have a packed social calendar where you know drinks are involved, choose which times you'll imbibe and which you won't. Saving drinks for truly special occasions and having a plan in place ahead of time will keep you on track.
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.
5 Tips for Drinking Coffee While Losing Weight
- If you like black coffee, drink it that way. It's the lowest-calorie way to enjoy a cup of joe.
- Don't like it black? Add just a splash of milk (or milk alternative).
- Skip the sugar and sugar substitutes. They can trigger your cravings for more sweets.
- Steer clear of blended coffee drinks and flavored lattes. They're mostly milk and sugar, which means unnecessary calories.
- Try one of these healthy coffee upgrades to shake up your morning or mid-afternoon routine.
If you're going to include alcohol and caffeine, be smart and steer clear of drinks bound to sabotage your progress. Drink smart and stay on track!
How to Join the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge
1. Download the MyPlate App
Documenting your food and activity might seem like overkill, but it’s not. People who track their calories and physical activities enjoy greater success losing weight and keeping it off for good!
Tracking everything honestly is essential to making the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge work for you. Sometimes you’re not even aware of everything you consume, but once you start tracking it, you’ll think twice before you make poor choices. And that’s a good thing.
- Daily meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and snacks
- Exercise and activity
- BMI (Body Mass Index)
2. Print Out Your Daily Calendar
Isn't it so satisfying to check things off of your to-do list? Each day during the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge, you're accountable for five key steps: tracking breakfast, lunch and dinner; tracking your water intake; and either walking or running.
We created a helpful calendar to keep you on task for all 30 days. Print it out and check off each activity as soon as you complete it.
3. Stay Connected on Facebook
For daily support, motivation and camaraderie with LIVESTRONG.COM team members, join our Facebook Group for the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge. We'll share recipes, tips, motivations, pictures and more! Plus, we'll answer all your questions.
4. More on Alcohol and Caffeine's Impact on Your Body
- How to Drink, Have Fun AND Lose Weight
- The 12 Worst Coffee Drinks You Can Order
- What Just One Glass of Wine Does to Your Brain
- 14 Legit Ways Coffee Can Boost Your Health
Readers — Are you joining us in the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge? If so, what's your weight-loss goal? Have you ever done a weight-loss challenge group before? How did it go for you? Have you joined our LIVESTRONG.COM Challenge Group on Facebook? Leave a comment below and let us know.