Planning to “work off” extra calories from booze? Consider this first

lady in field

Planning to “work off” extra calories from booze? Consider this first

Even though I work out most days you might think that leaves lots of wiggle room for “extra” calories. Well, not really. 

You may be surprised (and perhaps disappointed) to know how much you need to exercise to burn off the 300 calories you’d find in each of these (1):

•    2 bottles (341 mL) regular beer (5% alcohol volume);
•    2 (6 ounce) glasses of red table wine (11.5% alcohol volume);
•    medium ice coffee and 2 small donut “holes”;
•    small order of French fries (about 22 fries).

For example, I’m 5’ 6” and 150 pounds and fairly muscular. For me to burn off those 300 excess calories, I’d have to (2):
•    play tennis for 35 minutes OR;
•    rake leaves for 60 minutes.

It’s not realistic to expect you will exercise enough to burn off excess calories so try to be mindful of the calories in your food and beverages from the get go. 

And while I use this example to make a point, I believe a better way to stay committed to active living is to focus on the enjoyment it brings (not the calories burned). 

FYI: The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommends that all adults aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week in periods of 10 minutes or longer. Of course, walking the dog counts but moderate to vigorous exercise means breaking a sweat and being “out of breath”. Just sayin’! 

Bottom line

If you want to fit some alcohol into your summer plans, limit your drinks (3), choose healthier nosh most of the time, and don’t expect exercise can fully compensate for overindulging on food or beverages (just do it because it makes you feel awesome!). And if you have further questions about healthy eating, a registered dietitian can offer you personalized advice. 


1. Based on calorie data from Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File, 2016 version.
2. Based on, Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights, Harvard School of Medicine. Accessed February 16, 2017.
3. Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, 2012. Available at: default.aspx. Accessed February 20, 2017.