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Dial It Down

Happy New Year friends!  It’s that time of year when most of us look in the mirror and say, “I really need to get my shit together this year.”  My problem is when I tell myself that I am NOT going to do something, I end up doubling down and doing it more.  If I put myself on a budget suddenly I have the urge to spend money on the most nonsensical crap.  Yes, I do need tap shoes even though I am not taking a dance class and I don’t know how to tap dance.  If I announce that I am going to eat clean for a month the Domino’s Pizza delivery driver will soon tell me about his new girlfriend due to our three a week front porch chats.  The very worst is when I said I was going to participate in “Dry January.” I am setting myself up for failure, I work in liquor stores. I ended up going on a wheat beer kick and gained 10 pounds.  If you can make it through Dry January, congrats!  Here are some tips for the rest of us who have no interest in giving up booze, but want to dial it back a bit due to the holiday bender we enjoyed. 



I love beer.  I drink beer.  I will never ever not drink beer.  I read the book Skinny Bitch, and when I got to the part where the authors shun beer I chucked the book in the trash.  Most diets give beer the boot because of the calories and carbs.  If you trade in your Budweiser for Bud Select 55 you carve off 90 calories and 8.7 carbs per serving, but you also sacrifice ABV (Alcohol % By Volume). Budweiser is 5% ABV and Select 55 is 2.5%.  In non-scientific terms…you gotta drink more Select 55 to get to your happy place.  I decided over the summer I was going to turn in my Miller Lite for Miller 64.  It was nice idea in theory, but I usually ended up drinking way more beer and didn’t save on the calories or carbs.  Needless to say I switched back. 

If you are a finicky drinker and turn your nose up at the thought of consuming Bud or Miller beers there are choices for you too.  Leinenkugel, Sam Adams, Heineken, and Modelo all have light versions of their original brews.  If you are still shaking your head at light beer, but need to curb the calories get a game plan. When I need to lose a pound or two I have rules I stick with when drinking my beloved beer. 

Rule #1: 
No day drinking.  Yep it sucks, but I can’t have one beer and if I start at noon I will just keep drinking until I feel like a bloated mess. 

Rule #2: 
Dinner, drinks, and your done.  Drinking on an empty stomach is a rookie move so don’t do it my friends. Eat dinner, have a few beers, and that’s it. No late night snacking or asking the cab driver to roll through Taco Bell for 4th Meal.

Rule #3:
No activity, no beer.  If I am stuck behind my desk all day then I don’t get to pop the top on frosty brewski. If I take my dog for a walk, drag my ass to spin class, or clean my house I reward myself with beer. Yeah me!

If you just want a beer buzz and as much bang for your calorie buck the folks at Anheuser-Busch have your back.  Natural Ice is the lowest calorie beer with the most alcohol (5.9% ABV, 130 calories, 4 carbs per serving). 



If you are a hard liquor drinker the calorie and carb content of your brand is not derailing your diet, the mixers are probably the culprit.  Orange Juice, Cranberry Cocktail, Coke, and Red Bull are all tasty additions to your favorite spirit.  They also add over 100 calories to your glass of booze.  Foo-Foo drinks like daiquiris, Mai-Tais, and chocolate martinis mask the taste of alcohol with sugar.  If you like Pina Coladas you better like to walk in the rain to burn off the 650 calories you just sucked down. 

Don Julio Blanco Tequila at 40% ABV is 96 calories per 1.5oz and zero carbs.  It’s smooth enough to drink on the rocks with salt and a twist of lime, but if you must have a mixer go with a no calorie diet tonic or Diet Sprite.  

Captain Morgan watched his weight. 1.5oz of the spiced rum is 86 calories at 35% ABV, a Cap & Diet is a good guilt free cocktail.

Smirnoff Sorbet and Skinny Girl were light vodkas that got discontinued.  Like super light / diet beers, these brands were just lowering the percentage of alcohol per serving.  Maggie, our liquor and wine buyer, said both brands used artificial sweeteners which tasted like “sadness and armpit” and you only saved a whopping 17 calories depending on the flavor.  If you have a favorite flavored vodka stick with it.  If you are wanting to dial back on calories mix your vodka with no calorie sodas or flavored water (Voss Lemon Cucumber sparkling water is AH-MAZING). 

Scotches and bourbon range between 150 to 96 calories depending on the proof.  Higher the proof, higher the calorie.  I guarantee my attorney skips the 400 calorie large latte in the morning so he can enjoy three fingers of Johnny Black on the rocks at the end of the day.  He deals with me so he deserves a drink.



When it comes to wine and calories some varietals are better than others.  There are low-cal wines are the market now, and I honestly don’t recommend any of them.  I have not tried all of them so if you found one that you love let me know so I can check it out. Merlot, Cabernet, and Chardonnay are, give or take, 150 calories per 5oz. glass with around 13% ABV. Box wines are not only awesome due to their portable packaging and handy pour spout, but they are lower in calories!  A 5oz glass of Franzia Cabernet is 105 calories, but still has an ABV of 12%.  Champagne is the official drink of runway models for a reason.  Most bubbly is around 110 calories and 13% ABV a glass. If you are hardcore calorie counting you need to steer clear of wine coolers. They are comparable in calories to most wines, but at 3% ABV what is the point?  I don’t understand decaf coffee either though.   

A kale eating yogi marathon runner out there is preaching not to drink when dieting.  I agree with that nut, but I am not hanging out with them. I sell beer for a living so, for the love all that’s holy, don’t take dietary advice from me.  Many of us struggle with staying in shape while working and taking care of our families.  Moderation with everything, whether it be ice cream or beer, is the way to go.  If you are like me you unfortunately go to extremes, good or bad.  I have found that dialing it down or up depending on my goal is way healthier for my personality.  So I plan on dialing back the pizza and dialing up the dog walking, rather than lettuce only dinners and nightly CrossFit.  Whatever your goals are for 2018 I hope you achieve them, but don’t forget to be nice to yourself.