How To Drink Beer and Lose Weight
If you are a woman who loves her craft beer like I do, then you have probably asked yourself on more than one occasion, “how to drink beer and lose weight?” Well, let me be upfront; This is no easy task. However, it is not as impossible as you may believe as I am living proof that you can drink beer and lose weight without starving yourself.
**Before we go any further, please note that this is not intended to be medical advice. This article is based solely on my personal experience. It is recommended that you seek medical advice from a professional prior to making any major changes to your overall health and fitness.
My beer journey actually didn’t begin until I was almost thirty and my metabolism was still pretty high. Unlike my other friends who started their beer path with domestic beers like Budlight, I went straight to the deep end with craft brews from local microbreweries.
Shortly after my beer journey began I moved to Ireland for about 5 months. There I became best-friends with Guinness stout, Carlsberg pilsner, and all the “Carvey” (a Thanksgiving type of buffet) I could eat. With nothing else to do, I would waste countless hours at the many hole-in-the-wall Irish pubs.
About two months in, my girlfriend back home commented on a picture I took while In Ireland. She said “congratulations, how far along are you!?” OUCH! I wasn’t pregnant! My new “beer belly” was in direct contrast to the “flat tummy” I had when my friends last saw me back home.
It was right then that I decided I needed to lose weight, but minimally reduced my drinking habits and therefore nothing changed. That was TWELVE years ago! After many failed dieting attempts and changes in eating patterns, I finally broke the code. I have figured out “how to drink beer and lose weight” and now I get to enlighten all my fellow beer lovers looking to shed a few pounds.
In this article I will go over the steps I still use to help me lose weight while enjoying beers of all types.
Step 1 – Understanding your body’s weight fluctuation
Step 2 – Why Carbs Matter
Step 3 – The Truth behind Exercise
Step 4 – Choosing Beers to match your goals
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Step 1 – Understanding your body’s weight fluctuation
This first step to drinking beer and losing weight may be a no-brainer for some but for me, this was the eye-opener I needed to see. For a long time, I didn’t understand why in my late twenties I could eat In-N-Out daily, not work out, and not gain a lick of weight. Then in my early thirties, it seemed I would just look at a burger, workout like I was training for a marathon, and still gain weight!
That is when I learned more about my own metabolism and what role it had in my weight gain and loss. At face value, metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. Generally speaking, as you age your metabolism slows down which means the rate at which your body converts food/drink to energy slows down. HOWEVER, your metabolism alone is not the culprit to weight gain or loss.
Our weight gain and/or loss is a very complicated process and is more than calories and calories out. It is a combination of our genetic makeup, underlying diseases, stress level, physical activity, sleep, and the impact of the environment we live in.
Let’s look at genetic makeup and its correlation to weight gain. Harvard Medical school says “research suggests that for some people, genes account for just 25% of the predisposition to be overweight, while for others the genetic influence is as high as 70% to 80% ( Harvard Medical School ).” If your genetic influence is of a higher amount, then it would likely be more difficult for you to lose weight. Learning about your own genetic influence is key to your weight management if you are trying to lose weight.
Likewise, stress, disease, physical activity, and sleep also play a major role in one’s weight loss or gain. Speaking for myself, when I do not get enough sleep I’m Hangry and I usually make a lot of bad eating and drinking decisions. In regards to diseases, I know first-hand about its impact on weight management, which oftentimes can be the only thing preventing one from reaching their fitness goals.
The point is before you start wearing out your knees with unnecessary squats or runs around the track just so you can pop a cold brewski, you need to learn your body. Weight loss is an individual journey and before you start on that journey you need to find the right path and carry the right tools.
Step 2- Carbs Do Matter
The second step toward your path to drinking beer and losing weight is getting a basic understanding of how carbohydrates help you lose or gain weight in combination with physical activity. Admittingly, I knew nothing about carbs and its impact on weight gain prior to 2019. I, like many others, believed that if I eat less, I would lose weight. Obviously, that is not the case for reasons I just discussed earlier.
There are many people out there that do not believe reducing one’s carbs has any impact on weight loss, but there is more evidence-based research that proves otherwise. Again, this depends on YOUR own genetic makeup but for me, keeping track of my carb intake made all the difference.
I’d like to say that all you have to do is look at the nutritional label of what you’d like to consume and determine if the grams of carbohydrates fits into your carb budget, but it’s not that simple. It’s really the net carbs that you have to keep track of.
I would highly recommend you do your research on carbohydrates so you can get a full understanding of simple carbs and complex carbs as not all carbs are created equal.
The cliff notes version for this article is as follows; stay away from high starchy and sugary carbs. I was blown away that my strawberry smoothie a day was breaking my carb budget. Granted my carb budget is pretty low, only allowing 60g of carbs per day including beer (yikes)!
When determining your carb budget, you have to determine what works best for your body needs and fitness goals. Healthine.com has loads of medically reviewed articles on low carb diets and how carbohydrates work in the body.
As far as keeping track, I would recommend using one of the many fitness apps like My Fitness Pal or Carb Manager. Personally, I use the pro version of Carb Manager because it meets my specific needs for a more keto-based diet and it is less expensive than the pro version of My Fitness Pal. Currently, My Fitness Pal does not have the ability to track net carbs and that was my main reason for choosing Carb Manager. Regardless if you choose one of those apps or use an excel spreadsheet, you will reach your goals faster if you keep track of your net carbs
Step 3 – Get To Walking
You will also reach your goals faster if you combine exercise and eating more carb conscientious. There are a ton of ways to burn calories and utilize your carbs for energy to burn more stored fat but, one of the best exercises you can do is WALKING. Who’d a thunk that putting step to the pavement or a treadmill track would be one of the most beneficial ways to lose weight. Medical experts say that regular walking will help reduce belly fat because it improves our body’s response to insulin.
Additionally, the CDC recommends that you workout out at least 150 minutes per week for disease prevention and improve your overall health. This is where you get the 10,000 steps a day and why many fitness experts claim that 10,000 steps a day can lead you to a loss of 1lb a week.
Personally, I have found that I lose around 2.5lbs each week when I walk 10,000 steps a day 7 days a week and keep my daily net carb intake between 60-80g. However, I don’t do that every week so it ends up that I have lost about 7lbs each month for the past two months instead of my 10lb a month loss goal because I eat pizza and pasta, hahaha.
The point is, walking is good for your mental and physical health. If you are looking to keep track of your steps with an accurate count of how many calories you burn, then might recommend the Polar heart monitor.
Hands down it has been the most beneficial tool for me that has the most accurate count of my calorie burn and steps than any other tracking tool I have used. You can get yours on Amazon.com or at most fitness stores but honestly, Amazon is probably the least expensive option.
If you don’t usually walk for exercise, I would recommend that you start off with a lower goal than 10,000 steps or hiking a tough hill. I like starting off with small goals so that I don’t set myself up for failure by making an unrealistic goal.
Step 4 – The Beer Compromise
Now, you can have your beer and drink it too. HOWEVER, the kind of beer you drink and when you drink solely depends on your fitness goals. For example, my fitness goal was to lose 20 pounds in the least amount of time, ideally in 3 months. In order for me to reach that goal and not starve myself or deprive myself of adult libations, I had to be selective on when I could have craft beer as opposed to my usual drink in hand which is Michelob Ultra.
Thankfully, there are many other Low Carb beers out there that are very yummy. If you do a google search of “low carb craft beers,” you will find an abundant amount of beers for you to expand your beer buds with.
Lately, my favorite has been “Slighty Mighty, Lo-Cal IPA” by Dogfish Head Brewery. This refreshing beverage only has 3.6g of carbs, 95 calories, and still has the delicious IPA flavor for you IPA lovers without being too hoppy. I would highly recommend it!
Not all beers are created equal but there are more and more flavorful hops coming out for us carb conscientious folks.
Well, there you have it, a four-step process on how to have the beer you love and still lose weight or at least not gain any more weight. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the right balance that works for you. Just know that if there are no other genetic influences or diseases that are keeping you from losing weight, you can still throw a few sudsy bevies back and shed some pounds if you are willing to put in some effort.
Now drink up Buttercup (low carb, geez, as if you didn’t read this!)