A couple of weeks ago I posted about drinking alcohol while on a diet, but another factor that doesn’t bode well for my diet is the food that I consume while under the influence. Unfortunately for me, a weekend of bar hopping and drink mixing usually means a late night drunken feast. Most of the time my drunken snacking doesn’t even include foods that I would normally eat. I once bought a doughnut, ate half and then realized that I don’t even like doughnuts! Who does that? Me, apparently. And it usually doesn’t stop there. The next morning, if I wake up with a hangover, I always want a large amount of fatty foods. I almost always want a burrito, a heaping plate of greasy hash browns, or ice cream. Just like drinking on a diet, I have been able to find some healthy loopholes to drunk eating but, by no means do I believe that alcohol is a healthy substance.
So here are some tips that I currently use and so far have proven to be effective to help with drunk eating and hungover binging:
1) Budget your points/calories on preplanned drinking days. On days when I am planning to go out for a happy hour or night filled with drinks, I will try to budget my Weight Watcher points accordingly. With WW a typical cocktail or beer is an average of 5 points. So knowing that I am not going to just have 1 beer and that I will probably be eating when I get home, I will try to eat meals throughout the day that have a low point value, leaving more points for me to consume later in the day. Now does this mean that I am starving myself throughout the day? No, starving myself before going out drinking would typically make me a light weight and would result in me hugging the toilet at the end of the night. Although throwing up might not be all bad, I would rid myself of all the crap that I consumed.
2) Plan snacks ahead of time. I have started putting out snacks before I head out to the bar. I will chose things like an apple, pretzels, strawberries or carrots and peanut butter. This way when I get home from the bar, I will tend to eat the snacks that are already on the counter, rather than digging through the pantry for tortillas and cheese to make a quesadilla. And lowered inhibitions coupled with a hot stove is probably not the brightest idea anyway.
3) Substitute health food for junk food. As I mentioned, if I wake up with a hangover, 9 times out of 10, I will want a burrito from Chipotle. And eating Chipotle is an idea that I have started to embrace and actually don’t feel guilty about eating. This could be due to the fact that I have managed to make my burrito bowl much lower in points. 6 months ago when I went to Chipotle, I was ordering a burrito that was a whopping 27 points (I am only allowed 34 for the day) but now I have managed to get my burrito bowl down to 12 points by cutting out the tortilla, rice, cheese and only getting a small drizzle of sour cream. This may sound like a boring burrito bowl but you just have to suck it up, no one said dieting was easy. You have to learn to love the healthier options.
Another health food swap that I have started doing is making hash browns at home. I used to suggest going out for breakfast and I would get a heaping pile of greasy hash browns. But now when I am craving hash browns, I use non fat cooking spray, and add a ton of vegetables to bulk up my plate. And on those mornings that I am craving ice cream I try to opt for frozen blended bananas or frozen yogurt. Yum! I have a new found addiction with frozen yogurt.
4) Alter your cravings. Since adopting a healthier lifestyle, I have started to enjoy and crave vegetables. This could be because with WW, vegetables are zero points, so when I was hungry I forced myself to eat them and now I have tricked myself into thinking that I like them. And when you eat something enough, you oddly start to crave it. Or at least I do. This happened with kale. I tend to crave savory over sweet, so making kale chips is a good way to satisfy my cravings. Because I eat kale so frequently I have now begun to crave kale when I am hungover. I never thought that I would be putting the words ‘kale’ and ‘crave’ into a sentence, man how times have changed.
5) Make a smart decision before you go out. Now I am well aware that once you start drinking it’s not always easy to make smart choices. Been there, done that. However, I find that before I go out, if I remind myself that I don’t want to drink a lot, I find that I am less likely to go over board and consume 10 cocktails. . . in an hour. Don’t worry mom, this has never actually happened. Or at least not that I remember. Same goes for drunk eating, if I tell myself prior to going out that I do not want to make a drunken stop at Super America, chances are I will be strong and say no to the peer pressure of buying chips and an egg salad sandwich at the gas station. Yes, these are actual purchases that I have made while under the influence. I am a model of health, I tell ya.
So now that I have written all about drunk eating while on a diet, excuse me while I head off to a happy hour with co-workers! Wish me luck!