I sometimes hear from people who want to know about the possibility of drinking alcohol on the Medifast diet. Many intuitively know that this isn’t going to be in their best interest. It’s common knowledge that alcohol is off limits most of the time when you are dieting and this diet is really no exception. Not surprisingly, they discourage your consuming alcohol for several reasons. First of all, it contains completely empty calories and it has no nutritional value whatsoever. I’m sure you’ve heard dieting experts say that you shouldn’t drink your calories by consuming soda. The same idea applies here. That’s why it is best to drink water. Or, if you really need something flavorful, fruit juice or green tea are good choices because these things do provide nutrients that are at least beneficial to your body.
There are some additional reasons to avoid alcohol that you may not have thought about. The first is that it will often contribute to your craving very unhealthy foods. I mean, who doesn’t want to pair a beer with some chips and salsa or a nice juicy burger? It can be very hard to have alcohol and to not want the food to go with it. Finally, many people have confessed to me that even a little bit of alcohol has a huge effect on them because they are taking in less calories. So just a little bit of alcohol can be like drinking a lot. And often, they weigh a little less than they did when they were in the habit of consuming alcohol.
With all of this said, you may already know this and you’d like some alcohol anyway. Perhaps you want to celebrate an occasion or you just want to treat yourself since you have been in compliance thus far. Frankly, I am not a dietician or counselor. I am only telling you my opinion from someone who knows how it feels to be fighting a major carving and feeling that you just are not going to be satisfied until that itch is scratched. Here is my thinking on this. I am not going to drive myself crazy. My cravings tend to be for salty foods rather than for alcohol. But some folks have the same weakness for sweets. My strategy has always been to try to satisfy the craving in a safe way first. For example, you are allowed to have a small amount of nuts as a snack so I will start there. Then, I will try to distract myself after I have the nuts. I might go for a walk and get out of the house. This does work sometimes.
If I’m not successful with the safe strategy, then I will try to have the least amount of the craved food as is possible. A few chips, perhaps. Sometimes, I find that what I’m craving isn’t what I was hoping for. The chips might taste greasy or gross. That’s why it’s so important to start as small as possible. Now, this is the most important part. After you do whatever it is that you are going to need to do, then move on. The most important aspect of this whole thing is to not let this one indiscretion stop you. It is not at all uncommon for one cheat session to lead to another and another until you’re almost off of the diet.
To me, this is the real risk of cheating. It’s not the chips, or the sweets, or even the alcohol. It’s the risk of not getting back into compliance as soon as is possible. But to address the original concern, alcohol is not endorsed on Medifast. But, it’s my experience that if you do decide to take that liberty, there is no reason to allow it to derail your diet for the long term. Simply get back in compliance right away and then move on.