Blame it on the A-A-A-Alcohol

Everybody loves a good party!  We all need to let our hair down from time to time and enjoy some libations with good company.  The Holidays are here with parties galore.

We just threw a Holiday brunch on Sunday at our home for 60 people.  It was a really fun day of entertaining and being entertained.  My husband owns a bartending/beverage catering service so we threw a party for his staff and invited just about everyone else as well.

It was so much work but so worth showing all those we care about a good time.  Boy was it a goooood time too.  The brunch lasted 10 hours!  We put out a killer spread, and with my husband doing beverage catering for a living there was the largest selection of alcoholic beverages available for every taste.




I am not much of a drinker these days.  In fact I have only had white wine for almost a year now and if I do 2 glasses is 1 more than I need!  Lightweight over here gets quite jolly after about one glass.

After my life changing 5 days in the Mayo Clinic back in February of 2012 and getting my health back for the first time in years I savor every moment of feeling healthy and good.

One glass here and there is plenty for me. Generally I currently have a glass or two per week and only white wine.  I was planning to enjoy my current favorite, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc.  I waited several hours into the party to pour myself a glass.  With my current ability to handle alcohol I needed to be sure the party was a hit before I started celebrating it too!  I did enjoy about 3 glasses total.

While it was fun at the time, my lack of training in this department leads me to a pretty rough recovery.  I seem to start my hangover BEFORE I am finished drinking these days!  I remember the days of training for Spring Break, that final week prior you work on your tan and alcohol tolerance levels.  I am severely out of drinking shape!

Yesterday was ROUGH.  I was hungover.  We had a full day of work to do along with finishing cleaning the house up.  I had planned for it in my schedule but still the day was excruciating.  It smacked me right across the face how much responsibility I have and what it takes to currently keep my life running smooth.  I didn’t even want to work out!  It took me all day long to finally convince myself to go do some miles with my ankle weights.  I would have rather layed on the couch all day and nurse my 18 hour headache.  Once I did get those miles in I began to feel better.  The mental challenge of getting through a day like this is exhausting and frankly not worth it to me.

My life really depends on being properly hydrated.  Alcohol is a major dehydration culprit.  That 18 hour headache was proof.  Pain is an indicator that your body is dehydrated.  This is a fantastic article talking about how important staying hydrated is and also explains why I chose to suffer through the headache instead of taking something for it:

I have had plenty of those days in my younger years getting 2 hours of sleep and having to work a 16 hour double behind the bar I was tending at the time.  There were some really fun times and I have some great memories and some blurry ones!  I am happy to say I have fully retired from those days.  My jersey is hanging in the hall of fame in many bars around town.

The year before my fateful trip to the hospital I was drinking a little more often than I usually did.  I was self medicating.  I felt pretty horrible most days and even if I did take very good care of myself I would wake up feeling terrible.  I didn’t know what was wrong with me, it seemed I could not win and with no idea what direction to go regarding making myself feel better I might as well have a glass of wine instead at the end of my long days.  It was a coping mechanism too.

Since riding the wagon pretty regularly these days I have found some really good alternatives to have fun without it.  I am amazed at the amount of energy I have for hobbies and other things in life when I don’t drink regularly.

One thing that seem to go hand in hand is a few extra pounds and alcohol.  If your tolerance is high, it takes more to get that buzz.  The more buzzed you get, the more food you eat.  Caloric NIGHTMARE.  Here is a chart from a website called Get Drunk Not Fat.  Obviously this is a giant balancing act for most everyone that likes to enjoy a few cocktails.

Doing some math here on what I used to consume according to this chart:

5oz glass of red wine = 150 calories on average for a standard pour.  I would generally have 3-4 of these and that is at a restaurant.  Home pours are rarely only 5oz.  Conservatively speaking that is at least 700 calories just in wine.

Another resource added to the calculation:

1 oz. of cheddar cheese = 113 calories

When in Rome they say… I would easily pick up 8-10 of these at any given time when I was having some wine.  That adds another over 1000 calories and I have not even had dinner!

Just adding up a few slices of cheese with some wine already puts me at 2270 calories!!  Even with the most regimented of workout commitments this is a tremendous amount of extra calories to burn off.  Do the math for yourself, not to be a BUZZKILL but you should at least have an idea of what a night of partying will cost you.

It was pretty amazing what I was able to burn off in fat once I cut out the majority of my drinking.  Not only did I want and have the energy to workout more and more, I also stopped craving food that goes along with a well with a hangover.  This made the Paleo lifestyle so much easier to follow.

The left image is a photo of me during my jolliest of wine drinking days and the middle photo is after I had cut down to the 1-2 glasses a week and went to a Paleo lifestyle.  The photo on the right is the most recent on March 29th 2013 after gaining about 8-10lbs of muscle.


I am 20lbs lighter than I was in the left photo.

I am 5’8″ and I wore a size 6-8 in the left photo at about 158lbs.

I now comfortably wear a size 2 in pants or a 26 inch waist for my jeans, x-small for shirts, jackets and workout clothes and weigh 145lbs

I worked out 6 days a week in the left photo, I also was still not totally balanced with my thyroid disease however the never ending cycle of burning calories from the booze and accompanying accoutrements was a constant uphill battle.

It is a conundrum to some, but generally speaking it takes about 3500 calories burned to lose 1lb of fat. That is a difficult task.

I follow a guy named John Kiefer who is well known in the bodybuilding circuit.  He has some really interesting logic and conversations regarding many philosophies, one of them being about discussing if all calories are created equally.  Check it out:


People think I have lost something crazy like 50lbs but many don’t quite understand the difference between fat and muscle.  5lbs of fat is far more voluminous than 5lbs of muscle.  I have heard the old adage that fat weighs more than muscle however 5lbs is indeed 5lbs.  It just takes up more space if it is fatty tissue.  This photo shows what that actually looks like:




I have also heard and myself said many times that I simply can’t drink like I was when I was younger.  I don’t recover as well.  I don’t know that age is really the culprit here, I think much more of it has to do with responsibilities and how they change as we get older.

The more you create for entertainment and accountability outside of alcohol the more you pay for it when you do choose to indulge.  Spending an entire day recovering from too much indulgence the night before is simply a waste of a day full of doing all the things I need to and love to do.  That does not mean from time to time it isn’t OK to indulge.  Just knowing what the costs are is important.

I had a blast at our party, and went over my normal limit of wine.  I was able to remind myself what a little too much will cost me.  Determining if it is worth it really comes down to an individual basis.  For me, I am so incredibly thankful for my health the cost of overindulgence is very very high.  When you have felt like I have over the last few years, everyday of feeling good is a blessing so my cost is higher than others may be.

This time of year is packed with schedules full of overindulgence activities.  Hence the New Years Resolution’s.  Let’s give ourselves an out to feel less guilty about those extra drinks and food we ingested by making a resolution in the wake of the year’s worst hangover.

No wonder it rarely works.  Here are some facts about it:




We are slowing down finally after a very busy and productive year.  Chad is winding down after the busiest month he has had in all 6 years of running his business.  The guy deserves a break.

We all have reason to and deserve to celebrate.  Make a resolution to know the cost of indulging daily.  Don’t procrastinate your health.  It will simply multiply and make it that much harder.

Every day is New Years Day.  Make the most of it.  You deserve it!


I am not a dietitian, nutritionist, or certified trainer.  I am a normal, smart, professional Woman who is also an athlete.  I was diagnosed with a very serious case of diverticulitis and within moments almost lost 60% of my G.I. tract due to it.  Once in recovery to avoid surgery going forward I did a tremendous amount of research and adopted a Paleo lifestyle.  The results I have personally seen and felt are worth sharing.  I am fortunate to have a network of professional athletes from many walks of life, nutritionists, trainers and other medical professionals to learn from. I am sharing my personal journey for those of you who experience similar types of health issues or are simply interested in the information I gather. I hope it encourages you and points you in the right direction to research further for your own personal well being.  For those of you who are looking to share in my relentless hiking passion, or those who simply enjoy learning about the things I come across I am happy to have you all along on this incredible ride!

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