Aoife Hearne is a registered dietitian and a panel member of Operation Transformation as the nutrition expert since 2014. In her new book, The Plan, Aoife shares her top tips on living a healthy lifestyle and RTÉ LifeStyle has a sneak peek!

Can I drink alcohol?

A very simple rule of thumb is ‘the less alcohol you drink, the more weight you lose’. That being said, moderate amounts of alcohol for adults is not a problem.

However,  it is essential to have alcohol-free days in your week. The low-risk guideline for men is < 17 units each week and for women < 11 units each week.

These units should be spread out over the week with no more than 6 units in   one sitting. A unit = half pint stout/lager/cider, 100ml glass of wine, a pub measure of spirits. However, these recommendations are not for weight loss. Therefore, I would recommend limiting alcohol as much as possible, ideally to just once a week or 2–3 units.

Here are some tips when eating out:

  1. Plan ahead. If the menu is available online, it can really help to have a look at it and flag a few meals that you think will work for you. That way, even if you get distracted when ordering, you will already have your prep work done.
  2. Don’t  arrive at the restaurant hungry, as you will  be much more tempted to devour the bread basket! Make sure to have a small snack about an hour before leaving your house.
  3. Order food your way. For example, ask for extra vegetables or a salad instead of chips, if these are recommendations you want to stick to.
  4. Stop eating when you are 80% full. You don’t have to finish everything on your plate. When you feel 80% full, place your napkin over your remaining food so you are less likely to go back to it.
  5. Share a dessert! If you feel like dessert, go for it.  But suggest sharing it with someone else and really savour every bite.

I’ve fallen off the wagon, now what?
No matter how bad a meal, a day, a weekend or a holiday has been, the sooner you get back on track the better. Remember, no one meal can undo all the good work of an entire week.

The most common mistake is to keep eating with the idea that ‘I’ve ruined it now, I’ll start again tomorrow’. But this is really a diet mentality and something that it is best to get out of.

It might mean going for an extra walk in the week or making your next meal lighter, but either way just get back on track as soon as you can.