I felt this was timely coming towards the weekend.
One of the many benefits of ‘flexible dieting’ is being able to still have a social life while achieving your body composition goals. Keeping this social interaction is hugely beneficial in a psychological sense when dieting! Often this can include a night out with friends, and there isn’t much worse than being the sober sally while your friends are sinking a few, loving life and dancing up a storm.
Now while I don’t advocate heavy drinking every weekend, especially if you have a goal physique aspiration, I don’t expect you to avoid these situations for the rest of your life. Like the majority of awesome things in life, alcohol can be enjoyed when considering frequency and moderation.
Unfortunately having a big night out can cause moderate setbacks to one’s fat loss efforts. However there are ways to limit and mitigate these though.
Below are some basic guidelines on how to drink while limiting fat gain:
1) Create a caloric buffer before the event/night/day you plan on drinking. This can be achieved in numerous ways. Whether it’s through a small decrease in calories for a few days leading up to, keeping calories low during the day, intermittent fasting etc. Whichever way works for you. The bigger the night planned, the bigger buffer I’d go with.
2) Keep your fat intake low on the day your planning on drinking. Emphasize proteins and if possible have your last meal a few hours prior to the onset of drinking. Here is a quote from a Menno Henselmens that explains the reasoning
"When you drink alcohol, it is absorbed from your stomach and intestines. It then passes through your liver on its way to the blood. When it’s in your circulation, it keeps passing through your liver and during every passing your liver breaks down some of the alcohol into acetate.
Acetate is what makes alcohol toxic. When acetate enters your blood, it inhibits fat burning throughout the body, not just in your liver . As a result, most of the fatty acids in your blood are stored. This is why alcohol has such a high potential to make you fat.”
Therefor if we reduce the circulating fatty acids we can avoid much of the fat storing effect of alcohol.
3)Keep drinks to spirits with non-caloric mixers or shots. I’m a sucker for Captain Morgans Rum with coke zero.
4)DO NOT EAT HIGH CALORIE, FAT LADEN FOODS WHILE DRUNK OR WHEN YOU GET HOME RAVENOUS. Drink water and go to bed!
5) Resist greasy food, at least in the early part of the following day. This is more important if you had a really big night or drank early into the morning. If you manage to stick to the guidlines and feel like you haven’t caused yourself much of a setback, then you can return to hitting your normal macros. If on the other hand you feel you may have gone overboard, then a day or two of lower calories (150-250 decrease) can help.
6) I’d also just note that I don’t advise training the next day if your not feeling at least 90%. This is just my opinion but lifting the day after may increase the risk of injury due to fatigue (you don’t sleep well while drunk) and possible de-hydration.
Also please remember that your weight is likely to fluctuate in the day/s after a big night out. This can be due to de-hydration, mineral and electrolyte imbalances, the body holding water and looking bloated etc. Give your body time to stabilise before stressing out and doing anything drastic.
Finally, unless you have an event of specific time frame where you have to be looking your best, there is no reason to freak out about anything. One night out every now and again is not going to ruin your physique goals. Stressing out will not help in any way. Accept it and move on. This is life, and some of the best stories and moments with friends can be had after a couple of drinks. Keep being social and working towards your goals.
If you want more info check out this article.