Aug 152013

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile now, you know that I love beer. I was never a fan of it until about 5 years ago or so. I was young, naive and thought beer meant Coors Light and Hamm’s. Yuck! Michael wasn’t a beer fan, either, but we kind of discovered craft brews together and realized that we didn’t hate beer, we just liked GOOD beer. In fact, if someone offers me a Bud Light, I decline and stick with water. Not worth it to me. I am fully aware that I’m a beer snob and I’m okay with that.

Liquid calories add up fast and if you’re trying to lose weight or are counting calories, the stark realization of how many calories are in drinks can be shocking. For the nearly two years I was trying to lose 100 pounds I chose not to drink alcoholic drinks. I just couldn’t justify “spending” 200 or more calories on a beverage when I only had 1800 calories allotted for the day. I would have that mental debate — “Do I want this glass of wine for 150 calories or do I want a piece of bread with dinner? Or dessert?” Having to choose one or the other made it easier to forgo the beverage in order to eat more food.

The alcoholic drinks aren’t the only culprit. I’ve said before that I Had a Drinking Problem – I loved soda, I drank sweetened iced tea by the gallons, I drank a glass of orange juice with breakfast every day and a glass of milk with dinner. I drank sugary coffee desserts and was probably adding thousands of calories onto my day with just drinking! I stopped drinking my calories!

I’ve maintained my weight loss for 5 years now and I have introduced liquid calories back into my diet. I have a glass of wine or two 2-3 nights a week. It just depends. Sometimes I don’t have any. I’m definitely mindful of how much I drink and I log my calories accordingly. With this recent injury that has limited a lot of my physical activity, I’ve cut back on drinking and stick to one drink instead of two. It makes a difference. Not only that, I’ve also cut back on the beer. Why? Because I love IPAs and they are usually 200-250 calories a bottle. That’s A LOT of calories for one drink! It’s just not worth it to me.

So this summer I’ve been drinking other things that are lower in calories. This post is a few of the creations I’ve made and have enjoyed so far.

Bloody Mary

This is my new favorite drink. I love it! I don’t feel guilty at all because a pint glass of V8 Juice is not that bad. V8 + 1 or 2 shots of vodka = 150 calories or so.


I got the Bloody Mary mix from William Sonoma and it’s called “Little Devil.” It was so good! I really liked it. I also seem to be liking “sweet” drinks less and less. Too much sugar! But a Bloody Mary is spicy and not sweet. Perfection.

Poor-Man’s Pina Colada

My other favorite is reminiscent of a pina colada. It’s not blended but it tastes just as good to me.


I use coconut flavored vodka, add half a small container of pineapple juice, a splash of coconut milk and some ice. It’s a really tasty drink without being too sweet. It’s around 160-175 calories depending on your pour.

Strawberry Spritzer

This one is fun. I had some strawberries that were on their last legs and I didn’t want to just waste them, but they were a little too soft to eat. So I ground them up in my Magic Bullet with a few ice cubes, mixed with some vodka, a splash of lemon lime sparkling water and a pinch of sugar. I put two small pinches of sugar in the drink because it was a little tart without it.


The drink was a great summer drink! Almost like a daiquiri but not. This drink was about 125 calories total.

Blackberry Infused Vodka

One of my coworkers actually told me about this. He has tons of blackberries in his yard too and made upside down blackberry cobbler with his daughters. I had a bite (to die for) and then he said he also infuses his own vodka with blackberries.



Sign me up! I love both of those things. :) He didn’t really have a recipe, he just said he through some cheap vodka in a jar with blackberries, gently mixed them a few times a week for about a month or two and then it was ready to drink.

Iced Coffee

I bought a bottle of coffee infused rum from a local Portland distillery that is fantastic. Love the coffee flavor of the rum–which is weird for me because I don’t usually like flavors to be mixed (like I don’t want my ice cream to taste like coffee, etc).


This one is a shot of the rum, a splash of almond milk or coconut milk and ice. It’s so good! But there is caffeine in it, so one is definitely enough for me.

What are your favorite low calorie drink swaps?

Aug 062013

“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.”

-Frank Sinatra

I was listening to the radio the other day and the host was asking one of his staff if they could stop drinking for a month (this was after he challenged another staffer to stop smoking illicit things for a month). The staff member, Richard, loves beer. He’s a craft beer fiend and drinks a lot of them. Is he an alcoholic? Probably. What was his response? He said he could probably stop drinking but why should he?

This post isn’t necessarily about alcohol. But it is about addiction. What is my addiction? SUGAR. Sugar is most definitely my #1 challenge. It comes in lots of different forms…I eat a ton of fruit, which is healthy but also very sweet and depending on what it is, very high in sugar (i.e. bananas!). I also love chocolate.

I’ve gotten much better over the years eating it in moderation and if it’s not GOOD chocolate, I don’t waste my calories. Have you ever bitten into a piece of candy or cookie and realized it wasn’t as good as it looked? Yeah, that happens to me and now I spit it out. If it doesn’t taste good, why am I still eating it?!? I also make sure that I’m eating things that are a little more “whole” like a really good ice cream with natural ingredients, or fancy chocolate from a boutique. I’m usually taking a pass on the crappy stuff that doesn’t really satisfy my craving.

If you want to read some old posts about food addiction and sugar, I have a plethora. Here are just a few: Food AddictionFat Pills and Why We Get Fat.

A few years ago I did a Sugar Detox challenge. It came about for a lot of reasons but one of them was the Candy Room in my office. I wanted to break the habit of grabbing a handful of candy from this room and mindless eating it at work or whenever I walked by the office. The Sugar Detox Outcome was positive. I realized a lot of things in that single week of refraining from sugar:

I eat candy more out of habit than desire.

I didn’t miss the candy like I thought I would.

I realized that diet soda makes me crave candy.

And what have I taken away from that nearly 2 years later? I’m still eating sugar. I gave it up for one week and that was it. I occasionally go through phases where I stop eating it, or I refrain from eating candy at work but I eat dessert at home. Basically, I can’t seem to give it up entirely.

Awhile ago I took a week off from exercising. It was shortly after I saw the knee specialist who ordered me to rest for 6 weeks. I was feeling depressed and decided to just rest from everything, even though I was cleared for some exercises. I was worried about getting out of the habit of exercising, I was worried taking a week off would cause me to gain weight. I told myself for that week I’d just be really good with my calories and everything would be ok. And I did do pretty decently with my calories for that week. I didn’t go over my allotment but I also didn’t make excellent choices. There were several days where I skipped eating my apple as a snack so I could allot those calories for some chocolate. Was I within my calorie range? Yes. Was I eating in moderation? Yes. Was it the BEST way to “spend” my calories? Probably not!

Some people can’t do the “everything in moderation” concept. I totally understand that. I’m the opposite though, I cannot do the “really restrictive” thing. If I tell myself I’m going to stop eating X, then all I want is X! Then I get hyper focused on it and it becomes an obsession. That is not a healthy path to go down, either, and I’m sure it’s just another sign of addiction.

So how do you moderate an “addiction”? Do you abstain from it completely or try to limit the intake of what you desire?