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Guide to drinking and weight loss

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Out with friends
One of the hardest bits about losing weight is managing evenings out at the pub with friends. Keeping up with ’rounds’ and sharing nibbles, and lets face it after a relaxing drink and good conversation, your will power can tend to go out the window. But a few minor changes to your drinking patterns will help your weight-loss efforts, not to mention your all-round health.

Eat a well balanced meal before you drink
Make sure you eat before heading to the pub. Eating first will make you less tempted by the chips, nuts and nibbles. And secondly, with a nutrient dense meal, you have the right combination of vitamins and minerals to help your liver metabolise alcohol. Not only will this reduce the chance of a hangover, but you are less likely feel the effects of intoxication, so you can stay in control.

A good recovery
When you don’t eat before you drink your body will crave food, and late night food such as pizza, pies, sausage rolls, hot chips and burgers, tends to contain heaps of kilojoules and saturated fat. It will also disrupt your sleep patterns as instead of repairing your body’s cells while you sleep, your body will be concentrating on digesting the late night fatty food.

Go soft
Find a diet soft drink you enjoy. This particularly works if you’re popping in for that ‘one’ drink, rather than a session. But even on nights out, try having a diet soft drink or water every other round. You’ll last longer, and have less of a hangover the next morning.

Fill your diary
No point beating about the bush – excess alcohol makes you put on weight. So, if you go to the pub four times a week, it is time to fill your diary with something equally sociable and enjoyable – maybe a game of football, soccer or tennis – or a cinema trip with friends.

Low-kilojoule drinks
Contrary to myth, there are no alcoholic drinks that miraculously contain no kilojoules. The rule of thumb is that wine is slightly less kilojoules than beer. But the lowest kilojoule drink is a spirit such as a nip of vodka with a diet soft drink.

Treating hangovers
Avoid greasy breakfasts like the plague. There are simply better ways to recover – and ones that won”t make you put on more weight. One reason your body may hurt so much is that you’ve depleted your store of vitamins, and you could be majorly dehydrated. So replace them – with fresh fruit and veg. Try an orange and carrot juice, accompanied with some wholemeal toast topped with sliced avocado, mushrooms and tomato. Your body will definitely thank you for it!

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