This is a guest post from Alex Shaw, a personal trainer and owner of Whiskey Weight Loss. A weight-loss coaching service that helps whiskey drinkers lose weight without giving up their barrel-aged beverages. Alex uses his background as a published scientist to implement the latest research in his coaching methods. You can connect with Alex here.
Whiskey and weight loss are not two things you often see in the same sentence.
When I introduce myself as the owner of Whiskey Weight Loss, I’m met with a confused look, sometimes followed by: “Do you drink whiskey and then work out?”
(we don’t, by the way)
Not About Taking Things Away
Weight loss marketing tells us that we can’t keep the things we enjoy and still lose weight. Diets like Keto, Paleo, and Whole30 are all about restriction; taking things away.
You can’t eat carbs or anything processed. There is always an ironclad rule you can’t break. It sounds like a tough way to live.
I’ve seen people lose 20, 30, and sometimes 50lbs on these diets, but unfortunately the weight rarely stays off. Give it a year and they are back where they started.
It’s not surprising if you think about it logically. They lost weight because they cut something out (like carbs). And as soon as that thing is reintroduced, the weight comes back on.
That’s because the weight you lose on a diet will only stay off as long as you continue that diet for the rest of your life. That’s a really long time!
Where Does Whiskey Fit In?
The trick to sustainable weight loss is not restriction, it’s optimization and flexibility.
You and I both know that whiskey is not exactly a health food. But it can have a place as long as it’s in moderation.
I believe in the philosophy that by optimizing 90% of our nutrition, we can be flexible with the other 10%. This means we avoid the type of restriction that makes dieting so hard to sustain.
That 10% can be “spent” on whiskey – that’s what my clients and I do – or it could be chocolate, wine, or any of the other indulgences.
What About the Other 90%
It sounds so simple on paper… just improve 90% of your diet.
But it’s not easy, and I won’t try and convince you otherwise.
Life makes eating better difficult. Client meetings, kids, happy hours, and even family events. Not to mention that sweet tooth, those late-night cravings, and the fact that pizza tastes so damn good.
But there are some things you can do to optimize your 90%:
- Eat protein at every meal
Protein is the weight loss wonder drug. Meals high in protein keep you more full compared to more carb- and fat-heavy meals. And because of something called the Thermic-effect-of-food, you absorb fewer Calories from protein.
- Understand calorie-density
This is best explained through an example. There are 810 Calories in a stick of butter. You can eat 7 boneless skinless chicken thighs for the same number of Calories. You can guess which one is going to keep you more full. By choosing foods that are lower in calorie-density you will feel satisfied more often.
- Establish a routine and plan ahead
If you don’t have a routine or plan you will always be reacting when it comes to food. And it’s much harder to make good choices if you’re reactively eating. Instead, a planned routine will allow you to be proactive in your approach. Running a business is a great analogy. When you have good systems in place it’s much easier to move the business forward. Without such systems, it can feel like you’re always putting out fires and struggling to just maintain.
Sustainable Weight Loss Is Actually Pretty Simple
To lose weight, and keep it off, use lifestyle changes over restriction-based diets. Have a routine and structure in place. And use Calorie-density and protein to guide 90% of your nutrition decisions. Then you can have fun with the 10%.
Implementing is a little more challenging. But with some time, a little trial-and-error, and some guidance it’s doable. And when you lose weight using these methods you can be sure that the weight will stay off for good.