A healthy lifestyle has balance and I believe that, those who choose to do so, can enjoy alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle. The image portrayed by many health and fitness professionals and self proclaimed online gurus can be misleading. Images often depict the perfect looking person with perfect hair looking great post workout next to their perfect salad. But, is this an honest portrayal and does it give ⌗Motivation or is it quite the opposite? I maintain a healthy lifestyle through a balance of great food, structured and unstructured exercise. I prioritise rest and I enjoy a tipple as part of my healthy lifestyle. In this post I discuss the potential benefits of alcohol, how best to enjoy it and how to keep your relationship with booze a healthy one.
Alcohol has around double the calories of a gramme of fat or sugar so it can contribute to weight gain if you regularly over indulge. According to the NHS, the average wine drinker in the U.K. consumes 2000Cal from alcohol each month, that’s a whole day’s worth of extra calories.
Over indulgence in alcohol has the following effects on your body
Halts Fat Burning – your body’s fat burning pathway is interrupted, preventing your body from accessing and burning stored fat.
Promotes Fat Storage – because alcohol can lead to raised insulin which further inhibits your fat burn and makes you store fat.
Is a Diuretic – making you excrete more water leading to poor hydration levels. This is why you wake with up very thirsty and may experience a headache.
Bad Sleep – sleep quality is diminished when you drink even a little too much, leaving your body and brain tired and under rested.
Negatively Affects Sports Performance – drinking the night before reduces the training effects of your workout and significantly detriments your performance in competition.
Increases Injury Risk – inflammation, poor tissue hydration and lack of adequate rest and recovery. All seriously increase the risk of tearing a muscle, spraining ligaments and more.
Aim to enjoy alcohol as a treat in addition to a healthy balanced diet. Click on the FOOD category to discover the true meaning of a “Balanced Diet.”
I’m talking about your mental health and the reasons that you reach for a drink. This is probably the most important point of all. It is quite straight forward really; you can drink alcohol for healthy or unhealthy reasons.
When a drink is healthy
Relaxation – kick back and relax with a glass of something chilled.
Reward – reward yourself for a successful work week or an exercise milestone by toasting with your favourite tipple.
Socialise – food and drink has fuelled healthy social connections for millennia. Social people are happy people.
Love – make quality time for a loved one and share a romantic moment.
Healthy relationships and friendships make for good mental health whaich is key to your physical health.
When a drink is unhealthy
Unhealthy Coping Strategy – beware of drinking to deal with things that need addressing such as relationship problems, work problems and issues involving parenting.
Dependance – watch out for signs that you or someone you care about might be using drink to mask personal problems instead of fixing them or asking for help.
Sleep Disorder – insomniacs after turn to drink to help them sleep, this is a short term solution that can lead to alcoholism and serious health problems.
Unhealthy Pursuit of Health – this may seem contrary. Obsessing over health so much that you neglect your physical and/or mental health is unhealthy. If you enjoy the occasional drink you may indeed gain from some of the above benefits of responsible drinking. It is certainly a great deal better for you than beating yourself up over a glass or two.
Aim to have fewer drinking days than non drinking days in your week.
Splash out on nice wine, posh beer and fine spirits.
Get used to enjoying a top notch glass instead of a bottle of cheap plonk.
Avoid alcohol for at least 24hrs before competition and training.
Maintain adequate hydration before, during and after an alcoholic occasion.
Even a mild hangover can spoil any exercise plans and derail your healthy eating habits. Follow these top tips to enjoy a drink and remain healthy, sleep well and achieve personal, career and fitness goals.