Sunday, August 24, 2014

Diet Derailer: Don't Drink Your Calories!!!!!

Warning Warning!!! Don't drink your calories - I repeat...don't drink your calories!!! This can be alcohol related or not, but I learned this lesson the hard way years ago when I participated in a couple of Power Boat races in Florida.  Basically we would go from Key to Key winding up in Key West, eating and drinking our way through the day and into the night.  

It was not unusual for me to have six or seven frozen drinks (Mai Tai or Pina Colada) over the course of the day...but hey, it was hot out and it was vacation!  By the end of my trip......shameful admission.....I had gained nearly 15 pounds. To the point where I couldn't fit into any of the clothes I brought for the trip home.  Thankfully I found a maxi dress to wear that strategically covered the maxi pounds I'd gained so I could make it home (in time to cry into my pillow).

Now at the time I was thinking "how can this be!?" -  Yes, I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I did that at home - maybe I should have laid off some of the appetizers.....but that wouldn't pack on so much weight.....and okay, there wasn't a lot of exercising to be done - speeding along in a boat or tooling around in an electric car....but fifteen pounds???!!

When I got home, I really went through what I was eating.....then I started looking into what I had been drinking.....and voila!

ONE Mai Tai has 620 calories................ONE Pina Colada has 640 calories......(and every now and then we'd get the extra topper of rum....add another 80 calories to that)

So basically....and here's the gross part.....I was drinking the caloric equivalent of a Big Mac with each drink.  Actually a Big Mac has less calories at 540 a pop....

...but you don't think when you're on vacation or out celebrating someones special occasion.....but they add up..(boy do they!)

So, doing the math...that's over 4000 calories a day JUST IN DRINKS....add food to that and wow, how could I be surprised I gained so much weight!!? Considering 3500 equals a pound, I'd say we definitely solved the case of gaining the weight of two newborns over that vacation!

I have since wised up about what is in what I'm putting in my body --- much like food calories, I had to learn what the better choices are when I want to enjoy a cocktail. 

Here's what I've found (based on average serving size of 10oz unless stated otherwise):

Worst Choices:

Long Island Iced Tea -780 cal
Mud Slide - 558 cal
Daiquiri - 110 cal (PER OUNCE) - 6oz drink = 660 cal
Mai Tai - 620 cal
Pina Colada - 640
Frozen Margarita - 740 cal  
(one on the rocks still has about 400!)
White Russian - 525 cal (4oz!)
Rum & Coke - 369 (12oz)

....and those frozen drinks/slushie drinks, while refreshing, are packed full of sugar and can ask for a cocktail over crushed ice if you want the 'feel' of a slush without all the sugary syrupy stuff that comes out of the machine!

Any drink with fruit juice also can pack on pounds without you thinking about it.  Vegetable juice is usually the better choice if using as a mixer.

If those calories numbers alone didn't scare ya,  keep in mind you'd have to walk a half hour to just burn 100 calories......three hours of walking later, you can almost burn off that Mai Tai!

Really makes you want to think about what you're drinking if you're striving to live a healthier lifestyle - one crazy night can really throw your progress off!

Better Choices:

Rum & Diet Coke - 65 cal
Cosmopolitan - 150 cal
Mojito - 160 cal
Champagne or White Wine - 96 cal (that's per glass, not bottle!!)
Vodka Tonic - 160

...and I also really like the Skinnygirl line of cocktails too!

What has worked well for me, besides just being smarter about what I'm ordering, has been getting into the habit of ordering a water after any alcoholic drink - you stay hydrated and cut your alcohol consumption down by half if you do it right!

This year I went on vacation - ate a little more than I usually do of things I don't usually indulge in....and drank a bit more.....but I still ate & drank mindfully - and I came home less than two pounds heavier than when I left.  I can deal with that.

No one wants to go out and not enjoy a beverage with your friends or enjoy their vacation, (I've found depriving myself of anything only makes me want it more!), but think if you're going to be happy about what you ordered the next day (or the next week when you can't fit into anything!) - think about if you'll be derailing your hard work and ask yourself if there's a better choice you could make and still be able to raise your glass and have fun!

What's your favorite drink? Do you know how many calories your favorite drink has? Have you had to make different choices in your beverages (alcoholic or not) as part of your weight loss/health plan?



  1. savewish@yahoo.comAugust 24, 2014 at 6:48 AM

    Very true and thoughtful. It's good to indulge a little but to be aware of those indulgences and the choices you are making. Drinks have lots of calories and loaded with sugar which we often don't think about due to the the sharp test of the liquor. Thanks for the list of best choices and for telling about your experiences. Wow! A Big Mac would be a better choice...scary.

  2. I love a Long Island Iced Tea, but 780 calroies? No more for me!

  3. Yeah, the calories sneak up on you in all of those delicious drinks. Half the time I don't eat food so I get my calories with smoothies or Ensure drinks. It's interesting though to see just how many calories are in certain drinks.

  4. I mostly just drink water so I don't have to worry about calories. But when the mood hits, I LOVE Silk Chocolate Soy Milk Light or a cold glass of orange juice. Both have over 100 calories per serving.

  5. I totally drink tooooo many calories and I need to keep this in mind. Thanks for all of the great information but hey you were on vacation gotta live a little and have fun.

  6. I am so sad that my favorite drinks are all on your list. I love Pina Colada and Mai Tai. Then I was thinking, I could be good and have my 3rd favorite and, oh...look its on your list too, Rum and Coke :( You have made me sad

    1. Awww, don't be sad!! Just don't pound them like I did!! How about a Skinnygirl Pina Colada? 100 cal vs 640...rum and diet? Get a regular one & split it between 5 friends??! ;-) Or enjoy one then switch to something low cal. Life's too short!


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