glass of bourbon on the rocks in a highball glass with pig shaped salt and pepper shakers

You want to lose weight, live a healthy life, and survive long enough to see your 90th birthday, but you also want to get brown-out-level mangled on some small-batch bourbon once in a while.

You may think of these outcomes as mutually exclusive, but I assure you that they can coexist peacefully, if you’re willing to plan out your caloric intake by consuming and imbibing only in moderation.

How Many Calories Are We Talking?

A 1.5 ounce shot of bourbon has around 100 Calories. There are so many foods and beverages out in the world that are far less satisfying that have double or triple that amount of calories, so fret not.

A can of Coca-Cola has 150 calories and 39 grams of sugar. Sure, it may taste pretty good, but it quickly spikes your blood sugar and then leaves you feeling extremely sluggish on the comedown.

I’d rather spend those 150 calories on a shot and a half of some fine Four Roses or Basil Hayden’s, dump them in a fancy, Ninja Turtle-themed highball glass with a few ice cubes and sip on it in a big comfy chair. The choice is yours.

Fitting Bourbon into Your Daily Calories

Let’s assume that your diet consists of an average adult caloric intake of 2,000 calories. Divided evenly, that’s around 667 calories per meal. 667 calories can go a long way to making you feel satisfied, especially if you stick to nutrient-rich foods with low calories and carbs per volume.

Say you’d like to have 5 shots of bourbon at the end of a hard day. That’s 500 calories that you need to shave off from your daily food intake. This works out to about 167 calories that you’d need to subtract from each meal or burn through exercise. This is not difficult to accomplish.

Leave the cheese off of your burger and nix the ketchup and mayo for mustard only and you’ve saved more than 167 calories right there. Add a single tablespoon of butter instead of 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of sour cream to your baked potato and you’ve saved nearly 167 calories right there. Sacrifice a small portion of each meal and you’re well on your way to planning for a night out.

Now, if you’re trying to lose weight, the formula will be a bit different. A pound of fat is the equivalent of 3,500 calories. If you’re looking to lose the recommended average of 1-2 pounds a week, you’ll want to cut out 500-1,000 calories per day in order to achieve that goal.

Again, splitting the cuts across all 3 meals and snacks is the safest route to go because it will leave you feeling less deprived.

Also, the easiest sacrifice to make is to completely eliminate all other calorie-containing beverages from your diet that are not alcohol. Drink your coffee black or with artificial sweeteners. Cut out all non-diet soda entirely. Trade in your glass of juice for an actual piece of fruit.

Make an honest effort to give up little things and reap the rewards of a varied diet.

For All of You Low Carb People

Going from 400-250 pounds took a lot of work, but the easiest diet for me to stick to was definitely a ketogenic one. It taught me many things and changed my perceptions on certain aspects of my everyday diet.

For those of you unfamiliar, the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, medium-protein, extremely low carbohydrate diet and it’s perfect for weight loss. Instead of metabolizing carbohydrates, your body goes through a process called ketogenesis where it converts fat into energy.

Sticking to this diet made me realize how wrong I was all of these years. Fat is not the enemy. It never was. It’s carbohydrates that pack on the pounds, contribute to type 2 diabetes, and raise your triglycerides. Fat satiates you and keeps you feeling full. Protein maintains your muscles. It’s the healthiest diet out there, in my opinion.

Now, while I don’t practice the ketogenic diet as part of my life anymore, I still utilize many of its strategies and benefits. I tend to stick to a lower-carbohydrate diet (less than 150 grams a day) and I don’t shy away from fatty protein sources or oils. I couldn’t live the rest of my life without bread and crackers and things of that nature, so instead I just consume them in a very limited capacity.

One of the many great things about bourbon is that it contains 0 carbohydrates. Once you’re done jumping for joy, keep in mind that if you’re trying to lose weight via a low carb diet, you’ll still need to be careful with your alcohol intake.

During the induction phase, or the first 2 weeks of the ketogenic diet, you’ll want to avoid alcohol altogether as your body adjusts to its new energy source.

Once you’re keto-adapted, feel free to indulge, but remember that alcohol will always be metabolized first. Your body will stop burning fat for energy and instead focus on moving the alcohol through the liver as soon as you take your first sip.

As long as you understand the risks and warnings, there’s no reason not to enjoy an adult beverage when your caloric deficit allows.


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