Today's task: Replacing alcohol. For those of you who don't drink, today's an easy one for you! For those that do, there are a few things to consider: what it is you're drinking, how much you're consuming, and how often. We're going to look at this strictly from a nutritional standpoint...I'm not suggesting anyone needs AA here.
Why: A small amount of alcohol, usually dark beer and red wine, has been scientifically proven in several studies to be healthy for you. Beyond that, alcohol does more to your health than give you a hangover after making bad decisions for a night. If your liver is busy trying to filter all the alcohol you're drinking, it won't properly break down what you're eating - leading to weight gain.
Look at your current alcohol consumption (write it down if you need to).
What are you drinking: Beer contains anywhere from 100-200+ calories and 0-20+ grams of carbs per bottle/can. Wine averages in the 100s on calories and 5-10 carbs per glass. While liquor (unflavored gin, whisky, tequila, rum, vodka) provides no carbs, it can have 50-100 calories - those calories are called "empty calories" because they don't provide your body with any beneficial nutrients, but they can still pack on the pounds. Also, if you're mixing liquor with juice, soda, or sugar, that's extra carbs to consider as well.
How much are you drinking: Moderation is key, here. It's difficult to pass up your usual nightcap or to go out with friends and not have one beer. But one or two drinks is preferable to a night of partying.
How often are you drinking: Alcohol is a luxury item, here, not a necessity. It shouldn't be a staple in your diet, especially if you are trying to lose weight or have serious athletic goals.
To make this a permanent solution: Cut out or replace as much alcohol as you can. If you have a glass of wine every night, start measuring your pours and leave out one ounce to cut back. If you like the refreshing bubbles of beer, try replacing a few of your beers with flavored club soda. If mixed drinks are your choice, pick the least sugary ones or try liquor neat or on the rocks.