Are You Drinking Your Calories?

by Julie Motchok on February 17, 2015

When you go out to dinner with friends, you may be somewhat aware that what you order contains X number of calories. You might choose to order something healthy since you had a larger than normal lunch earlier in the day. Or perhaps you decide you can splurge and deserve to do so after having such a healthy week! Shouldn’t the same rules apply when you are drinking? Unfortunately, most of us are unaware that when we drink alcohol, we are actually consuming empty calories. That means that the calories in alcoholic beverages are void of any real nutritional value. Not only does your body not need these extra calories, but the alcohol can also slow down your metabolism and cause junk food cravings late at night and the next morning. To learn more, here are some facts about calories in alcohol:

 

  • Say you go to a party at around 8 p.m. and leave at 1 a.m. Over this amount of time, you consume 5 beers (about one beer per hour). That is equal to around 500 calories! The equivalent of a Big Mac from McDonalds!

 

  • You may think that beer is the only culprit. It is surprising to learn that 1 oz. of hard liquor (usually about the size of one shot) contains 64 calories. Add a mixer to this and you have a cocktail that can be anywhere from 150 to 300 calories.

 

  • Alcohol also interferes with how your body burns fat. Usually, your liver is the organ responsible for taking on this task. BUT, when you are drinking, your liver is too busy processing the alcohol to burn any stored fat from earlier in the day.

 

  • High alcohol consumption can increase your triglycerides. Triglycerides are the major form of fat in your body. Your body needs these fats for energy and insulation. Like anything though, too much of a good thing can take a turn for the worse. When you consume excess alcohol, it is stored as triglycerides. Having this excess fat stored can risk your health and put you at risk for heart disease.

 

Now that you have all of this information, it is important to use it the right way. Be sure not to save up calories and deprive yourself of a meal during the day if you know you will be drinking that night. Having food in your stomach is one of the best things you can do when you are drinking. It will help your body absorb the alcohol at a slower rate so you will not feel its effects as quickly. Remember, your body can handle excess calories every now and then- balance and moderation are key. If you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle that involves eating well and exercising regularly, you may want to consider changing your drinking patterns as well. Your body works hard to take care of you- take care of it back!

Interested to see how many alcoholic calories you consume in a month? Go here to learn more!

 

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Are you in a healthy relationship?

by Julia Stern on February 9, 2015

healthyWhether making new friends, going through a break up, or falling in love for the first time, our relationships with others have a huge effect on our health. Over summer break, I did some soul-searching and realized that some of the people who I allowed into my life were toxic to my well-being. They caused me to become a closeted stressed, nervous, emotional wreck (much more then I usually am) and I realized that not only was I unhappy, but it didn’t have to be that way. Granted, it took a year and some much needed distance from these people to realize how unhealthy our relationships were, but it’s important for everyone, no matter who you are, to take the time to evaluate your relationships with others.

In my case, I was evaluating my relationships with my friends. Relationships, however, can be parent-child interactions or interactions with your girlfriend or your boyfriend. Relationship dynamics usually form slowly and over time without you even noticing. This can cause you to “fall into” a trap which becomes harder and harder to escape from. If these dynamics become unhealthy, know that help and escape is possible.

Here are 10 warning signs that you should be aware of to determine whether or not you may be involved in an abusive or unhealthy relationship. If any of these signs appear during your interactions with others, it is time to start evaluating the relationship and help yourself.

  1. You feel worse about yourself, not better:

If the relationship makes you feel worse about yourself and less happy about being you, it might be time to think about leaving the relationship.

  1. The focus is on changing the other person.

In unhealthy relationships, the focus is more about changing others rather than working on changing yourself. When you try to mold someone into your ideal person, it becomes more about you than the other person. In a healthy relationship, people should be respected for who they are, and should NOT be anyone else’s “project.”

  1. You are always at fault.

If you are involved with someone who tends to blame you for their anger and problems, stop trying to defend yourself. It will just waste your time and energy, instead considering getting out. After all, no one can make sense out of nonsense.

  1. Use of force or coercion

Did he or she threaten or actually hit you?  Coerce you for sexual acts even though he or she apologized profusely and made it up to you? This is a very serious sign and resources are available for help.

  1. You feel as if your life is being drained away.

If you feel like you are in a relationship that is draining your energy and leaves you exhausted, there is rarely a happy ending.

  1. Your personal growth is being stunted by the relationship

Healthy relationships offer a safe haven for personal growth. If you feel that your own growth and happiness needs to be sacrificed for the survival of the relationship, considering making a change.

  1. Psychological abuse

Does the other person make you feel like you can’t do anything right or you wouldn’t be able to survive without them? Do they make comments such as, “you’re no good” or “you’re worthless”?

  1. Possessive, restricting and controlling behavior

Has the other person told you to not keep in contact with some of your friends and family? Are they unhappy or moody when you spend time with your friends or family? These are warning signs of an unhealthy relationship.

  1. One person has most of the power in the relationship

Does the other person in the relationship have a lot of power over you? A sure sign of being in an unhealthy relationship is when someone has more power over you than you have over yourself.

  1. You lose yourself trying to find someone else

Make sure that you don’t lose yourself trying to find or help somebody else. You may think you need someone else or that someone else needs you, but you can’t “set yourself on fire to keep others warm”. You’re the only you there is.

If you or a friend feel that you may be in an abusive or damaging relationship, help is available. Contact the Counseling Center (508.531.1331) or Wellness Center (508.531.1252) to speak with a professional and learn how to help yourself.

Interested in more information on evaluating the relationships in your life? Check out these two brand new articles from Student Health 101: “The Well-Intended Personal Guide to Relationships” and “Is This a Toxic Friendship?”

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Ladies, let’s talk…

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Mindful Decisions over Thanksgiving Break

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Surviving College: 7 Tips on How to Manage Your Stress

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“AHHHHHHH, I am going to go insane! Why do professors have to give 2 projects, 4 exams and a 15 page paper all due within a few days of each other? It’s like they think we aren’t taking other classes or aren’t involved in anything on campus! Ugh… good bye, social life. Hello, all-nighters.” Sound […]

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