Well Being

30 by 30: Happy Weight Vs. Happy Hour

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alcohol and weight loss

When people ask me what my biggest obstacle to losing weight is, I can quickly answer with two simple words: happy hour. (I could also use the same answer as the biggest obstacle to staying on a budget, but that’s another story for another day.) I just as easily could refer to the pop culture phrase FOMO, or fear of missing out.

I never want to miss out on an amazing experience or a potential night of great memories. I moved to New York City to have an adventure, and that’s what I try to do. But dieting and date nights with a treadmill severely hamper my social schedule.

And, as you've probably heard, alcohol and weight loss don't make a great mix. As I begin to re-commit to a healthy eating plan and exercise routine, I find myself continuously appalled by the number of liquid calories I can consume at happy hour. Every glass of wine is 80-120 calories, so three glasses of wine becomes the equivalent of eating a candy bar. One margarita is typically around 500, so two of them is more than half of my daily allotment. It’s crazy how quick it adds up, without even a second thought.

But the problem is, I hate saying no to after work plans. (Or anytime plans for that matter!) Happy hour is why I started to work out in the mornings, so I’d never have to say no to fun. To me, happy hour is not just about the drinks (although I love a good drink). It’s about the time that I spend with the people I love, or new friends that I want to get to know, boys I’m seeing or clients with whom I want to deepen a relationship. It’s the unwinding at the end of the day that I look forward to each afternoon at 4pm.

I spent the past week in Vegas; each night’s dinner fancier and longer than the last. By the end of the week, I was exhausted, stuffed and four pounds up on the scale. It got me thinking: Was it worth it? What do I enjoy more: happy hour, or being happy with my weight? Where is the balance?

What would have happened if I had said to my bosses or clients that I was going to head to the gym instead of out to dinner? How would I feel the next morning when everyone had hilarious stories of their Vegas shenanigans?

It’s a constant battle for me. I know you have to say no to some things that you love in order to get the body you want, but it really is hard. My guess is that I would have been fine in Vegas. I would have forgotten about their evening after a few hours and my day would go on. But this week, I chose to play over going to the gym. I chose to sleep in instead of getting up early and run before work. I chose to enjoy cocktails and wine and dessert samples.

And then, when I got home on Sunday morning, I stepped on the scale and saw those four extra pounds staring me in the face. The ones I had worked so hard to lose the week before. And the answer? It wasn’t worth it. Happy hour will always be more fun, but my happy weight is where I want to be and that takes hard work and discipline…and if not those things, at least balance between the two.

This Week's Progress:

HIGH: Meeting Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas while out at one of my fancy dinners.

LOW: Ordering Brussels sprouts to be healthy and finding out that they were fried. FAIL.

+/-: +4 = 0 total

Photo: flicker user ღ ℂℏ℟ḯʂ ღ