A Calorie Counting Success Story

The Amazing Shrinking Woman

BOOZE! aka “Thirsty Thursday” aka Alcohol Sucks in Many Ways November 5, 2009

As I said below, I used to go crazy on Thursdays.  Here’s how it used to go: after my final class of the day, some friends and I go to a local bar (that claims to be a pub), and draaaank.  You have to say it that way when you imbibe like we did.  Draaaaank.

I’d start with a Blue Moon, no fruit (it usually comes with an orange slice dangling on the rim).  Calories?  Who cared?!  We were drankin!  (Ok so the Blue Moon has approximately 171 calories.  Oops.)  Then I’d have another.  +171.  Then my friend Zack would buy me a Guinness.  +170.  I’d buy another Blue Moon.  +171.  Another Guinness please: +170.  Dang!  I’m still thirsty… but I’m getting cheap.  Can I have a Budweiser? +145.  Another?  +145.  Another, please? +145.  The bar is getting busy.  The waitress is coming by less often, so I take advantage.  Can I get 2 more?  +290.  Zack buys another Guinness +170.  We’re slightly drunk, so we go outside and drink Rolling Rocks, because they’re the cheapest.  +360.

Then I’d come back to my apartment (we walked or got a ride), and drink more.  Seriously.  I’d usually then have at least 2 Miller lites. +192.

And only after all that would I order Chinese food and eat the ENTIRE THING.  It was a large order, usually about 4 c. of the meat part, which is about 450 calories per cup, and then I got fried rice with it, and the calorie estimates on that are between 350 and 750 per cup, so I’m going to go right down the middle with 550 per cup, and I had at least 3, which means about 1,650 calories on the fried rice alone.  Add the meat part for 1,800.

So let’s examine the number of calories that I consumed in the span of about 4 hours.

Booze total: 2,300 calories

Chinese food total: 3450 calories

Grand total: 5,750 calories

Let me repeat that.  Five thousand seven hundred and fifty calories in the span of four hours.  Nota bene:  This was NOT all I had to eat that day.  Oh no.  I had at least 1000 calories before that, because I would eat a pretty sprawling lunch, usually a noodle dish.  So I’m estimating that I consumed around 7-8000 calories on Thursdays.  That’s enough for several days.  DAYS!!!

Now how does booze play into this?  I’ll tell you.  It not only cost me 2,300 calories, but it also enabled me to subsequently consume 3,450.  Alcohol is a tricky little business.  When we’re young, we can’t have it, so we want it.  When we’re of age (finally) we use it to replace our un-exercisable urges for childhood play.  Then when we get older, we use it as a social crutch.  It’s what makes a party.  People only really start talking when they’re a smidge liquored-up, so hosts always try to provide the booze in abundance.

But alcohol sucks.  It sucks the water out of you, for one.  It’s a diruetic, which means it makes you have to pee, so when you drink , you pee out all your water and vitamins.  Dehydration results.  So when you’re coming down from your booze romp, your body is suffering from a severe drought.  However, since this happens mostly when you are sleeping, you don’t know.  So when you wake up, you are so dehydrated that your brain has shrunken away from your skull (no joke) and you have a pounding headache.

That’s not all.  Many people have observed that some drinks tend to make them more hungover than others.  Well, there is a reason for this.  What contributes to the worst part of the hangover–which is everything except the headache, because it’s easily remedied with water–are congeners.  Congeners are what make alcohols different, and they are basically impurities that develop during the fermentation.  These little beasts are also what make you hung over, allegedly.  They hang out in your bloodstream and make you feel like complete crap the next day.  It’s only until your liver can process them out that you finally get some relief.  For that reason, the only real hangover cure is time.

Which drinks are worse?  Well, if you don’t want to get hungover, go for a much distilled, much filtered vodka.  It has the least impurities and will make you feel the least bad, usually.  If you want to feel terrible, drink the cheapest thing you can get your hands on, because it’s rarely carefully filtered and will almost always make you feel like junk.  So will certain craft beers.  If they’re murky, they are unfiltered = hangover.

Hoever you can be guaranteed not to have a hangover if you simply don’t drink at all, or drink a reasonable amount.

But I’ve recently decided that drinking is never, ever worth it.  It is empty calories.  It sucks the calories out of your daily allowance and makes you fat.  It’s liquid bread.

So my advice today is, don’t drink.  Just don’t.  It’s a complete waste of time, it doesn’t even really taste good, and it inevitably leads to bad decisions, even if the bad decision is only to eat an inhuman amount of Chinese food.