Get Strong in 2019 Challenge Day 23: How to Enjoy a Cocktail (and Coffee!) While Staying on Track

 by Rachel Grice

Healthy living doesn't mean cutting alcohol and caffeine out of your diet completely. Knowing what's in your drinks can help you decide if it's worth it.

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, and alcohol isn't doing your muscle-building efforts any favors, either.

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.

6 Tips for Drinking While Losing Weight

  1. Avoid cocktails with fruit juice, liqueurs or cream. They just add calories, carbs (from sugar) and fat.
  2. Be mindful of added sugar or sugary mixers (sour mix, simple syrup, grenadine, etc). Keep it simple with one or two ingredients.
  3. Steer clear of slushy or blended drinks. Instead, opt for a mixed drink over crushed ice.
  4. Many beers are 200 to 400 calories per serving. Try a low-calorie light beer as an option.
  5. Alternate between one alcoholic beverage and one glass of water. You'll cut down on calories and help avoided a dreadful hangover.
  6. 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.

Read more: The Benefits of Quitting Alcohol and How to Do 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.

5 Tips for Drinking Coffee While Losing Weight

  1. If you like black coffee, drink it that way. It's the lowest-calorie way to enjoy a cup of joe.
  2. Don't like it black? Add just a splash of milk (or milk alternative).
  3. Skip the sugar and sugar substitutes. They can trigger your cravings for more sweets.
  4. Steer clear of blended coffee drinks and flavored lattes. They're mostly milk and sugar, which means unnecessary calories.
  5. 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!

Read more: The Amount of Coffee Per Day That's Safe Is a Bit Surprising

More on Alcohol and Caffeine's Impact on Your Body

Alcohol and caffeine are arguably two of the most common vices. And while there's nothing inherently wrong with either, just like anything else in life, moderation is key. If you want to dig deeper into incorporating alcohol into a weight-loss plan or workout regimen, you'll want to read the following:

How to Join the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge

1. Sign Up for Daily Emails

There are two main places this challenge is taking place online — your inbox and our Facebook group (more on that in a second). So first, make sure you've entered your email to sign up for the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge. (Yep, even if you're already signed up for our regular daily newsletter.)

Every day, we'll be sending you your daily workout and a healthy recipe to try, along with fun extras like workout playlists, motivational quotes, self-care tips and other fitness and nutrition information to make 2019 your best (and healthiest) year ever!

2. Print Out Your Calendars

Isn't it so satisfying to check things off of your to-do list? Each day during the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge, you're accountable for two main things: working out and eating healthy.

To help keep you on track for the entire month, we created two calendars — one with each day's workouts listed and another with each week's nutrition goal and healthy recipes. Print them out and check off each workout and day of healthy eating as you complete it.

3. Join Our Challenge Facebook Group

For daily support, motivation and camaraderie with LIVESTRONG.COM team members, join our Facebook Group for the Get Strong in 2019 Challenge. We'll share recipes, tips, motivations, pictures and more! Plus, we'll answer all your questions.

4. Share Your Journey on Social Media

Are you on Instagram or Twitter? So are we! And we'd love to see photos and updates of your progress. When you post to social media, be sure to use the hashtag #GetStrongChallenge. That way, you can also connect with other Get Strong challengers!



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