If you happen to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or after work, there's no reason to change that if you can afford the points every night. But you may want to cut back, and that's fine too.
I drink because like most people, I enjoy it. So about twice a week I find myself in a bar for the music, the company and drinks. Before WW, I did not limit myself - I would just drink till I thought I was drunk enough. That used to add up to between 3 and 7 drinks per outing. If you have a similar drinking habit, you will notice right away that as you're cutting back your caloric intake, the number of drinks it takes for the same buzz will be significantly reduced. It will happen very early on, simply because you're eating less, and of course when you weigh less it will be even more apparent.
This is how I've worked my alcohol into plan:
- RESEARCH: What do you like to drink? Look up the points on e-Tools and decide if your usual drink is worth it. If they do not have a specific brand that you like, check the company's website for the nutrition info. If they do not list it, email them! I did that for Stoli and learned that all their flavored vodkas have 56 calories per ounce.
- PLAN: It helps to know ahead of time that you are going out and will be drinking. That way you can "save points" or decide to use some of your weekly points. Either way you are covered.
- SET A LIMIT: Decide HOW MUCH you are going to drink before you go out. (x number of drinks and what type of drink specifically) Track those points immediately for the day.
- MODIFY: If you tend to like girly drinks, be warned: They are packed with calories, sometimes fat, and lots of points. I suggest that if you really love them, have ONE. And drink it slowly. Enjoy it - treat it like a dessert. When you are done, you may realize it was rich enough that you do not need another one. (The first one is always the best anyway) If you do want more alcohol, consider a lower point option for the rest of the night.
- SLOW DOWN: I drink Blueberry Stoli with seltzer. I have a tendency to drink fast. What I do now is ask the bartender for my drink, but request they make it in a PINT sized glass- same amount of alcohol but extra seltzer. The drink packs the same punch but it takes me twice as long to consume it.
- TAKE A BREAK: In between alcoholic beverages, have a water/seltzer/diet soda to slow you down. Water especially is good since it will help to rehydrate you and prevent a hangover.
- BRING YOUR OWN MIXER: This will definitely work if you're attending a party, but can also work at a bar where you are familiar with the barstaff. My regular bar's only diet option is diet coke. This does not mix nicely with Blueberry Stoli. So I use this opportunity to try fun diet sodas and seltzers from the deli that I think will mix nicely with the Blueberry Stoli. They keep it behind the bar for me and use it when I order my drinks. Of course if you bring it to a social gathering you are helping yourself stay on plan in that situation too.
- EAT: Eat before you go out. If you don't, you'll get drunk too quickly. And when you are drunk, you will be hungry- for all the wrong foods. You may choose to eat light to save points, or have something hearty to absorb the alcohol. The choice is yours, but don't start drinking on an empty stomach.
- PACK A SNACK: I always carry snacks with me. Especially when I go out to drink. I usually have a banana and a WW 2 point bar (have you had the blueberry crumb yet? They're amazing!) but I've even brought carrots, hummus, and once a 2-point sandwich. Dolly laughed her butt off when I pulled that out of my bag at the bar...
Finally, I'll keep repeating it because it bears repeating- if all goes horribly wrong and you find yourself doing shots with the bartender and ending up at the diner at 4am inhaling the hungry man stack of pancakes, don't beat yourself up. (Of course you should try not to do it again!) Just get back on track the next morning.