By Jennifer Espinosa-Goswami
Sip or sup?
Usually when people think of counting calories, they pay attention to food. What about beverages? In the 1970s, Americans got 6-8% of their daily calories from drinks, but today, 21% of their daily calories from beverages.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the average American drinks 400 liquid calories on a daily basis. If you’re watching your weight, 400 calories could be a whole meal! The phrase “Eat, Drink and Be Merry” just took on a whole new meaning.
Perhaps it should instead say “Eat or Drink to be Merry”.
One of the biggest lifestyle changes I made when I started on my own weight loss journey was to stop drinking my calories. That means that my only beverages were water or diet soda. I allowed myself a daily glass of skim milk, just for some variety. This one change helped me shed 80 pounds in one year!
My friend once shared a factoid that I found curious. She had undergone bariatric surgery, and was sharing some of her post-surgery rules on eating. One of the rules was to avoid drinking while eating. The reason behind this is the drink washes the food out of the stomach pouch, allowing the person to eat more food. Eating too much post-surgery could result in excruciating pain as well as weight gain.
I also notice that some cultures do not drink during dinner. They might drink a glass of wine before dinner, or a cup of coffee after dinner, but the main course is the food. This is an effective measure to prevent “calorie creep” from beverages.
Where do your liquid calories come from? Here are some culprits, and my suggestions for how to wean yourself from them.
I drink a daily cup every day with cream and sugar. If you cannot function without a cuppa joe, make sure you restrict it to 8-12 ounces, and add as little extras as you can. You can also slowly decrease the amount of sugar or cream you use. One day, try one spoon less, or half a spoon less. Your taste buds will adjust.
Whether it’s dairy, soy, or almond milk, it’s easy to drink more when combined with food items. Try to drink milk in a small glass on the side of your food. Also, you do not need to drink more than one serving of milk to enjoy the benefits of its calcium and protein.
My dad calls orange juice his “nectar of the gods”. No matter what your juice choices are, they are full of calories. An easy trick is to dilute your juice with water. If you want to get really fancy, dilute the juice with sparkling water.
Soda has no nutritional value at all. But, we are so habituated to drinking soda with our meals that few of us question it. Buy a single can of soda, or allow yourself only one serving per day. If you drink soda like a fish drinks water, decrease the amount by one can/serving each day. Note: Even though diet soda does not have calories, it is a good practice to reduce consumption. Studies show diet soda might increase your appetite.
Some women refuse to go to bed without a glass of wine. One glass can quickly turn into 3 glasses! If you tend to fall into the wine bottle, then only open a bottle when you have plenty of company to share it with. Otherwise, enjoy your wine by the glass in restaurants.
If you prefer beer or hard liquor, beware of what triggers you to over-consume. Many liquor manufacturers are offering “light” versions of their products, which tricks people into drinking more of it. Keep to one glass/bottle, and avoid social situations that encourage you to go hog wild.
In the end, what you put in your mouth comes down to your personal preferences. Would you rather sip or sup?
Jennifer is dedicated to helping others lose weight and live great. As a former fat girl who maintains a total weight loss of 100 pounds, she knows first-hand how to handle the battle of the bulge. Jennifer did not join a weight loss program or a gym. Instead, she discovered a simple recipe to permanent weight loss that anyone can do in any age or stage of life.
She has been featured on Shapefit.com and in First for Women magazine. Jennifer is a resident of Edina, MN.
Owner, Professional Speaker, & Blogger at Weightless LLC