How to Fit Carbs and Alcohol into Your Weight Loss Plan

Say it louder for the people in the back: you don’t have to give up your favorite foods to lose weight and keep it off! 

In fact, it’s pretty important that you include your favorite foods in your weight loss plan because how you lose weight IS how you will keep it off! So, how do you fit carbs and alcohol into your weight loss plan and ACTUALLY see results? Let’s discuss!

First of all, you CAN have carbs and alcohol while maintaining your health and losing weight

I get it: you’ve been told over and over again to cut your carb intake way down for weight loss. You’ve followed diets that eliminated alcohol immediately, among other “off-limits” foods. Maybe you’ve even downloaded an app or followed a meal plan that categorized foods according to stoplight colors. YIKES. The good news is that restricting your favorite things can be a thing of the past! 

Carbohydrates and alcohol often get a bad reputation when, in reality, they can still be incorporated into your weight loss plan to provide fun and energy. Just like your favorite Starbucks drink or type of chocolate, the last thing weight loss should be is something you dread! By restricting or eliminating carbs and alcohol from your lifestyle, you may find yourself craving them or even miss out on participating in spur of the moment memories with your friends and family. This is why I’m a firm advocate that all foods can fit into your lifestyle, but moderation and understanding how to structure your daily life to include these foods rather than to exclude foods is the way to go! 

You may be thinking: how can I include these foods when I need to restrict foods for weight loss? 

Great question! With my nutrition coaching, we focus on implementing nutrient-rich foods into your daily lifestyle so that you feel satisfied and energized. This helps eliminate the cravings and leaves you feeling more motivated than ever! By focusing on nutrient-rich foods and your hunger/fullness cues, you can easily fit in carbohydrates and/or alcohol into your day without having to worry about the extra calories or restriction from other meals. Long gone are the days of “saving up” calories just to enjoy drinks later! Together we can learn how to fuel your body according to your needs while still leaving room for FUN.

Total calorie intake is the most important part of weight loss

If you’re eating less calories than you need to maintain your current weight, you’re going to lose weight. It’s that simple! 

Keeping in mind that all foods can fit into your lifestyle means that alcohol and carbs can too! Carbohydrates consist of 4 calories per gram whereas alcohol is 7 calories per gram. The great thing about this is that you can plan ahead or even adapt in the moment to how you can include your favorite things (which may be carbohydrates and/or alcohol!) into your total calorie needs for the day without feeling like you’ve fallen off the wagon. 

Like I mentioned above, nutrient-rich foods should come first! By focusing on what we can include in our daily food choices, we tend to naturally exclude foods that aren’t as nutrient rich for our bodies! Words such as exclusion and restriction may seem negative and daunting, but when you prioritize foods that help you stay full, energized, and motivated, you tend to naturally consume less of the others that you may label as “bad” or “treats”! 

Now don’t get me wrong… I love my chocolate and red wine, but when you are in tune with your body you learn that long-term consistency with total calorie intake makes much more of an impact than having to deal with eliminating carbohydrates and alcohol from your life forever!

Prioritize your true favorites and discard others for weight loss

I like to say to my clients “make room for what you LOVE and let go of what you only kind of like”. This can help you to prioritize your weight loss goals in your daily life while also staying realistic in how to achieve them. Though I am a firm advocate that ALL foods fit, this doesn’t mean that ALL foods fit ALL the time! 

Remember, total calorie intake is the most important part of weight loss. As a result, your focus should be on the overall quality of your diet rather than just what foods will count up towards your total daily calorie goal.

Though total calorie intake is the most important part of weight loss, eating less calories doesn’t have to feel like your soul is being sucked out either! When you prioritize your true favorites (or what I like to call “non-negotiables”), you recognize the added extras that you may not need or truly enjoy. 

By sticking with your favorites, it becomes easier for the items that you just “like” to be substituted for an alternative. An alternative does not have to be a different food altogether, but could be a smaller portion size, a lower calorie or carbohydrate option, or even the difference in the way the food or drink is prepared! 

Keeping this in mind, discarding your non-favorites may now seem less discouraging and you may be even find yourself being more open to finding new ways to stay on track with the actions necessary to achieve your goals. 

Okay, but aren't carbs and alcohol bad for me?

Back it up sis! 

Labeling foods as “bad” can lead us to a mind trap. All foods are made up of different macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) as well as a variety of vitamins, minerals, and more. When we label foods as “bad” we take away its potential to fuel our bodies and help us enjoy life! By labeling foods as “bad” just because they may have carbohydrates or alcohol in them, we tend to start excluding the opportunity for foods to fuel our bodies or make memories with other people. 

Carbohydrates are a natural part of this earth and helps us to stay alive. Made from chemical structures that are grown from the earth, carbohydrates and alcohol can have great benefits for us! Believe it or not, carbohydrates help our body make it through the day and remain clear minded and focused in our jobs, workouts, and school. 

Alcohol has even been shown to result in some beneficial effects in items like red wine, tequila, and rum. Now… moderation is key of course, otherwise we can certainly run into some harmful effects! But overall, carbohydrates and alcohol can be part of a healthy lifestyle and most importantly: your weight loss journey. 

So let’s reframe your question from: aren’t carbs and alcohol bad for me? 

TO

should I include carbs and alcohol into my lifestyle?

The final word...

The answer to that question is: Yes! Now obviously that is a general statement as I don’t know your personalized needs and lifestyle… but the answer to THAT question can easily be resolved as well! 

And in the end, regardless of whether or not you choose to include carbs and alcohol into your lifestyle, you CAN still lose weight! 

If you are ready to learn how to lose weight and keep it off, I’ll be here for you. But if you are ready to lose weight while having FUN and KEEPING it off, then we’re SO on the same page!

About Laura
Laura Gaston, RD

Welcome to my website! I’m Laura Gaston, a registered and licensed dietitian. 

First of all, I’m honored you’re spending your valuable time reading my posts or looking into my services. The mission of Busy Gal Nutrition is to make sustainable nutrition for weight loss and general health accessible to the girl on the go. Nutrition doesn’t have to be time-consuming or restrictive, but it does have to be science-backed. I also think it helps if it’s a little fun, too. 

I provide nutrition coaching that includes all of that tailored to your schedule and needs. This is YOUR lifestyle, after all! Continue reading…

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