Posts Tagged ‘Alcohol’

Ok, I understand that most of us who drink a beer don’t really have “nutrition” on our mind at that point, but knowing that some beer distributors are voluntarily adding nutrition information is still exciting news.

Not only will this help hypoglycemics and other sugar-sensitive groups choose wiser at the pub or grocery store, but the list of ingredients will make it much easier for those with allergies or food sensitivities to know which brews are ok and which aren’t.



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1. You may not realize what you look like

A woman standing in front of a mirror with cuttings from a magazine showing skinny models

“untitled” by Danielle Henry, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I went from a size 10 to a size 0-2. But when I still look in the mirror, I see a size 10. It’s amazing the tricks your mind can play on you. I’ve known other women that have had this issue as well. It’s a challenge for them to see what they really look like, which can cause a danger of going overboard (see #12).

2. Your health costs probably won’t change short term

A jar labeled "Health" full of money

“Health” by Pictures of Money, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Long-term studies have shown that regular exercise and reduced belly fat can significantly reduce your chances of a wide variety of ailments. But, in the short term, your health costs probably won’t go down and may, in fact, go up. Gym memberships, your new diet (see #6) and and increased tendency to go for regular check-ups can add up.

Also, the more athletics you do, the more likely you will gain a lot of sports injuries, which, trust me, are costly.

3. It’ll get really hard to find clothes

A man walking between large stacks of clothes

“Men Shopping for Clothing Accessories” by epSos .de, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I can no longer find clothes in regular stores. Unless, of course, you want to wear teenage-looking clothes, then, by all means, hit up the juniors department. Stores stock-up what they can sell and they don’t sell many small sizes. So, it can be very frustrating to find the sizes you need when you become fit.

It’ll also get harder to find clothes that are the smaller sizes that actually fit your arms and legs. Most clothing designers assume that if you have a small waist, you’re going to have thin arms and legs, not muscular ones.

4. Store clerks won’t like you

A woman store clerk with a non-friendly look on her face

“Store Clerk In Blue” by Phil Warren, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Overweight people complain about customer service bias, and I can see that. The truth is, fit people have the same issue. I can’t tell you how many dirty looks I’ve gotten when I’ve asked a store clerk for help finding a small size. They don’t have any tolerance for a skinny person complaining about having clothing issues.

5. Alcohol looks a lot less enticing

A fruity looking pink alcoholic drink with an orange slice

I bet this is over 400 calories and your entire sugar intake for the day. “Colorful Drink at 32 Degrees Bar at Urban Crust” by Nan Palmero, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When losing weight, you have to limit or give up alcohol. It’s not uncommon for fit people to stop drinking or, at the very least, significantly reduce their alcohol intake, even when they have hit their goal.  First, because their tolerance has dropped, but second and most common, they look at alcohol and think in their heads, “It’s not worth the calories/macros.”
6. Your grocery bill will be really high
A pile of fresh vegetables on a kitchen counter

“Farmer’s Market Bounty” by ilovebutter, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Healthy food is expensive, you can eat a lot more of it for the same amount of calories, and if you are working out more, you’re going to need to eat a lot more. This is the trifecta for an insanely high grocery bill.

See How much I spend on groceries

7. But your restaurant budget will go down

A sandwich made of fried chicken, egg and cheese

SO DISGUSTING! “KFC Double Down “Sandwich”” by Michael Saechang, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As you continue to learn about nutrition and how “unhealthy” foods make you feel, you’re going to be eating out at restaurants a lot less. You’ll find yourself saying to your friends and family “Why don’t you come over and I’ll cook?” or “How about I meet up with you all after your dinner out?”
8. It will affect who you date
A couple in front of food at a restaurant

“Date Night” by Amy Truter, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This one is not about appearance, it’s about lifestyle. If you are busting your butt at the gym most days and eating really healthy, you’re most likely not going to be compatible with a junk-eating couch potato. Instead, you’re going to find yourself gravitating to someone with a similar philosophy on a healthy lifestyle.
Sadly, I’ve also heard of this impacting marriages, where one spouse decides to make healthy changes/wants to be more active and the other refuses to do so.
9. It will affect where you live
A street view of a gym

An apartment may look a lot more enticing when you see there is a gym around the corner. “Gym.” by A National Acrobat, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Figuring out what the nearest gym options are, what the nearest activities are, and where the nearest parks are will become a major factor in determining where you live.
10. Your body will become something that is analyzed

For some reason, it’s very socially acceptable for people to comment on fit people’s bodies (think about how much talk their is about Michelle Obama’s arms). Most of these are positive, but not always, as the above example shows.

You might also find that you do this to yourself. I find that I regularly talk about my body, my diet, my weight, etc. Somethings this is a good thing, but sometimes these aren’t topics you should discuss. It depends on your audience and if you are obsessing or not (see #12).

11. People will explain to you why they can’t do it

A white board drawing of a stick girl and the words "Can't do this"

“Can’t do this” by Quinn Dombrowski, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This one is the most awkward for me because I never know what to say. I’m a very non-judgmental person and I definitely understand that I don’t know everyone’s full circumstances and there may be legitimate reasons why they can’t, but I don’t always agree that someone’s reasoning for not taking care of their health is legitimate. I had a coworker once tell me that she could never look like me because she’s “always been a bigger girl” and that I was naturally thin. I’m actually not naturally thin, but I figured it was best to keep my mouth shut.

Another rendition of this is statements like, “I wish I could look like you” and “I could look like you, but I like (insert junk food) too much.” There is no good answer to any of these statements; if you try to tell them they could, they will get mad, and if you agree with them, you may insult them. I just try to change the subject.

12. It’s easy to go overboard

A thin woman's stomach with a balled-up measuring tape in front of it

“Body Image. The subjective concept of one’s physical appearance based on self-observation and the reactions of others.” by Charlotte Astrid, via Flickr Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The fitness industry makes money on self-improvement, so they have a vested interest in you always feeling inadequate and needing to improve something. I had a trainer recently say “maintaining is not a goal” in response to me telling him that was my goal. I disagree; if I can stay at this same fitness level as I continue to move into my later 30’s, I’ll consider that a win.

Fitness is also an easy problem to fix, which can set-off a vicious cycle of needed self-improvement. It’s not uncommon for someone to have another problem in their life and vent it out by doing more in the fitness realm (example: men tend to get in shape during a divorce to raise their self-confidence). This can be healthy, but it can also lead to obsession when you realize that it’s one part of your life you can easily control.

What would you add to this list?

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There’s a really cool lecture that I want to attend tomorrow. The problem? It’s 11 am to 1 pm, with no lunch included. I totally get not feeding people to cut back on costs, but details on “feel free to bring your lunch and eat” or SOME direction on food would have been nice.

The only thing I can think of is to eat two mini-lunches, one at 10:30 and one whenever I finally get back.

Anyone got any other bright ideas?

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Three bottles of hard liquor alcohol and crystal glasses

From flickr creative commons: Anton Fomkin

If you are struggling to shed pounds or keep a healthy weight, it may well be your alcohol consumption. Most people don’t think to factor alcohol into their daily caloric intake and, if they do, they miscalculate it (“It’s only 50 calories!” Yeah but that’s pure fat and what are you mixing with it?)

Anyway, here’s a link to an infographic that shows how alcohol contributes to weight gain. I don’t think I’ll ever drink a margarita or pina colada again. Sigh…  Not that I should have had them anyway since they are loaded with sugar.

And, I have noticed that the more I drink, the hungrier I get. Health.com recently named alcohol as one of 11 foods that will make you hungrier so apparently I’m not alone in that.

For more tips on breaking the weight loss plateau, check out my handy quiz on the subject: Quick Quiz: Why can’t I lose weight?

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A group of people eating a snack

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons: Mai Le

One of the most difficult social situations, in my opinion, for a hypoglycemic, is to have to eat while out at a bar or club with friends. It is ESSENTIAL, especially if consuming alcohol, that a hypoglycemic still eat when they are supposed to, but it can be tough while out with friends.

I’ve already covered how to carry food with you at a bar/club, so today I’ll focus on how to eat in a way that is the least intrusive and socially acceptable. Note: These are only my opinions, you may think otherwise or have other ideas. If so, please comment! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

If you’re at a place that doesn’t serve food, it’s usually acceptable to eat inside. Most of my friends know I’m hypoglycemic and are used to me eating in front of them, so they think nothing of it. I choose snacks that are easily portable and discrete (usually a protein bar or individual portions of dried fruit and nuts). I’ll keep them as out-of-sight as possible, break-off individual bites and pop them in my mouth. The point here is to not hide it, but be discrete.

If the place does serve food and/or you are with someone you don’t feel comfortable eating in front of, I recommend taking what a former waitressing colleague of mine called a “non-smoking smoke break” (she got mad that smokers got breaks while we worked and we didn’t, so she came up with this).  I’ll usually excuse myself and go outside (where the smokers tend to be), quickly eat my snack, and then go back in.

Why, if the place offers food, should I not get their food?

  • It’s not healthy.
  • It doesn’t have the right combination of carbohydrates and protein you need.
  • For me personally: I’m on a limited budget and food costs money. I’d rather spend that money on better food/other types of fun.

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a woman sleeping

From flickr: cvx_2k

Whenever I explain to someone that I’m hypoglycemic (usually apologetically while I pull out food to eat in the front of them) and what that means (eating every three hours), the number one question I get is, “Do you have to get up in the middle of the night too?”

The answer is, sometimes. It used to be 50% of the time, but I’ve gotten it down to about 20% of the time. Yes, it’s not fun.

What causes it

Usually, it means I ate poorly or decided lots of alcohol sounded like a good plan (you’d think I’d learn by now, but sometimes I’m FANTASTIC at forgetting). Those two factors, or really bad, the combination of both, mean I’m going to have a low blood sugar attack. But, sometimes it just happens.

How do I know when I need to get up?

My body wakes me up. It’s not a hungry feeling I get; it’s a feeling of panic. I feel scared, disoriented, and jumpy. Again, it’s not fun.

What do I eat when I get up?

My first choice is one cup of milk. Milk has the perfect combination of carbohydrates (about 12 g) and protein (7 g) needed for a snack. And, 1% milk is about 100 calories, so it’s not going to break you calorie-wise.

In the rare cases where I’m also hungry and a glass of milk isn’t enough, I usually grab a protein bar.

Taking care of your teeth when you get up in the middle of the night

In the movie Panic Room, Sarah Altman, who is diabetic, has a refrigerator as her bedside table. I don’t recommend this because it encourages you to eat and go right back to bed. You MUST take care of your teeth, so while you are up eating, brush your teeth. Unless, of course, you like a lot of cavities.

Side effect

Obviously, I’m pretty tired the next day, but I’ve also noticed that, for some reason, if I have an attack in the middle of the night, I’m FAMISHED the next day and can’t seem to get full no matter what I eat. Seriously, it’s like I traded appetites with a teenage boy.

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For a while now, I’ve been working on a quiz, based on all of the information I read about health, to help people (including me) figure out why they aren’t losing weight. Take the quiz, see your results, and let me know what you think!


1. I exercise (elevated heart rate for 30 minutes)…

1) Never-2 days per week

2) 3-4 days per week

3) 5+ days per week

2. If I opened my refrigerator and freezer RIGHT NOW and assessed the entire contents (including drinks)…

a1) The majority of its contents would be considered processed foods (drinks other than juice, milk, and plain water; condiments, ready-to-eat meals, etc.)

a2) There’s hardly anything in my fridge and freezer.

b)  About half of the contents are processed foods

c) A large percentage of the foods are not processed

3. Right now I am trying to lose weight and I am…

a) Not keeping a food log

b) Keeping a loose running total of what I am eating and the caloric, fat, etc. content

c) Keeping a meticulous food log of everything that goes in my mouth

4. If I’m watching TV and decide I want something to snack on (such as pretzels)…

a) I take the entire bag on the couch with me and don’t know how many I ate.

b) I grab what I want and take that to the couch with me.

b2) I portion out only what I’m supposed to eat, but go back for more

c) I portion out what I’m supposed to eat and only have that much.

5. I strength train for at least 30 minutes (lifting weights or extensive body weight exercises such as Pilates)…

1) Never

2) 1-2 days per week

3) 3+ days per week

 6. My exercise routine….

1) Is always the same or mostly the same

2) I have a couple of things I rotate between

3) I am constantly changing-up my exercise routine

7. I had a really great day at the office!….

a) I deserve (insert your favorite junk food here)

b) A nice meal or my fave snack would be great, but I think I’ll just celebrate by calling a friend

c) Food is not part of my consideration for rewarding myself

8. I drink alcohol…

a) All the time!

b) A lot or quite frequently.

c) Sometimes, but only a few.

9. When selecting a new workout to do…

1) I always modify it by making it easier (less reps, more rest, etc.) and keep it that way

2) I can always do the entire thing right away

3) I can’t do the entire thing right away, but work up to it within a few weeks

10. I eat…

a)  1-2 times per day

b) 3-5 times per day

c) every couple of hours (about 6-7 times per day)

11. I use measuring cups to measure the portions of my food…

a) Never

b) I’ve read what portion sizes look like and eyeball them

c) Multiple times per day


Although other factors matter, diet and exercise are the most effective ways to help with your weight loss. So…

Any question that has a, b, or c as an answer is dietary-related. Any a’s that you circled are MAJOR culprits that are preventing you from losing weight. Any b’s that you circled are also an issue. They may not be the main culprit in why you aren’t able to lose weight, but they aren’t helping for sure. And, a few b’s can add up to a major issue. C answers are what you are looking for. Anything other than a c is something you need to work on to help you lose weight.


Any question that has a, b, or c as an answer is exercise-related. Any 1’s that you circled are MAJOR culprits that are preventing you from losing weight. Any 2’s that you circled are also an issue. They may not be the main culprit in why you aren’t able to lose weight, but they aren’t helping for sure. And, a few 2’s can add up to a major issue. 3 answers are what you are looking for. Anything other than a 3 is something you need to work on to help you lose weight.

Why are each of these a factor in losing weight?

  • Frequency of exercise: Regular exercise is a key factor in weight loss and maintaining your weight once you’ve lost all you want to lose.
  • Consumption of processed foods. Processed foods are a MAJOR problem. Even if you are ok calorically, processed foods include a lot of added ingredients that can hinder your weight loss goals. For example, most processed foods are very high in sodium, which will make you retain water and make it very difficult to lose weight.
  • Mindless snacking. Not portioning your food and not being aware of how much you are eating can cause you to consume a lot more calories than you realize.
  • Keeping a food log. A food log can help you become aware of exactly what you are putting in your body every day. For example, you might not think about the coffee creamer and sugar as a significant caloric bomb, but that’s 100 or more calories per day! Also, you might not realize that the “little sweet” you had is actually 400 calories and 15 grams of fat until you have to look it up and write it down.
  • Strength training. Most people just walk or do some other form of cardio and that’s great, but there are SO MANY reasons to strength train. For the purposes of this quiz, strength training helps you burn calories ALL THE TIME. Even while you are sleeping, you will burn more calories because of the muscle, which will help you lose weight and/or maintain your current weight. And, ladies, don’t worry about getting big. I actually WENT DOWN two sizes when I started taking my weight training seriously.
  • Changing up your exercise routine. The more you do the same exercise, the more your body gets used to it and the less effective it is. And, you are working the same muscles each time. Think about if you do something, such as play a physical game, that you normally don’t do. You exhaust easily and you are really sore the next day. THAT’S  A GOOD THING!
  • Alcohol. Alcohol is ok, but keep in mind that alcohol is empty calories. Three glasses of wine=300+ calories added to your day!
  • Food rewards. Food should never be a reward for doing something. If it is, you are associating extreme pleasure with food. Yes, I love a good meal from time to time, but if you are using food as a reward, you won’t lose weight.
  • Exercise challenge.  Choosing workouts that challenge you and that you have to improve to do is the way to go to lose weight. See “changing up your exercise routine” to see why.
  • Eating frequency.  Small meals throughout the day will keep your body from thinking it is starving (and thus, store fat) and keep you from binging.
  • Portion size. Portion sizes, especially in the U.S. are too large. Most people don’t consider how much they really need or eyeball way too much. The easiest way to fix this is to measure the food prior to putting it on your plate.

Other valuable posts:

Outline of a Hypoglycemic Diet

Travel tips for hypoglycemics and healthy eaters

How I lost the weight (and keep it off)!

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