downloadThe time for New Year’s resolutions is upon us. It’s no coincidence that gym memberships jump as many set out to lose the holiday pounds. If you feel stuck in a weight loss plateau, you may want to consider your alcohol consumption.

Alcohol can be a huge foe for dieters. Not only is alcohol high in calories, it also encourages unhealthy or binge eating. Just a handful of cocktails can counteract all the hard work you put into being healthy during the week.

A recent survey found that on a single night out, 40 percent of women consume around 1,000 calories in alcohol alone. More than half admitted drinking causes them to indulge in foods like burgers or pizza.

Ready to cut down? Consider this advice on your next evening on the town:

Eat Before Drinking.

An empty stomach allows alcohol to pass into your bloodstream more quickly, causing you to feel the effects within minutes. Before you begin drinking, eat something high in protein and good fat.

Count Your Drinks Accurately.

One study showed that most drinks served at bars and restaurants are actually 40 percent larger than what is considered “standard drink” (i.e. one 12 oz. beer = one 1 oz. shot = 5 oz. glass of wine).  A Long Island Iced Tea, for example, has on average 5 shots of liquor, the equivalent of 5 standard drinks and 500 calories.

Consider The Type Of Drink.

One bottle of regular beer has at least 10 grams of carbs. Drinks made with a sweetened mixer have an average of 25 grams of carbs for just 4 ounces. That’s more calories than some of your favorite greasy foods.

Slow Down.

Drinking water with every alcoholic drink you order can also help stop you from getting too tipsy too fast. For every cocktail you have, try to consume 12 oz. of water.

Plan Your Post-Drink Meal.

Alcohol is an appetite stimulant. Instead of grabbing a slice of pizza, put a small bag of unbuttered popcorn or an energy bar in your purse before you head out.  You will feel full without cheating your diet.

Be The Designated Driver.

The best way to stay on your diet is not drinking at all. Not only will you save hundreds of empty calories, you won’t feel sluggish the next morning.

If you do choose to consume alcohol, drink moderately. Decide how many drinks you plan to consume each week and how often. By setting limits ahead of time, you can gauge when you’ve had enough.