While the sun is still shining and the days of summer are still long, we tend to focus on exercising and eating healthy to look and feel our best. And we sometimes forget to count the drinks and cocktails we consume, which can be key to maintaining our bikini bodies.
When reaching for a drink on warm summer days, water is the best possible choice, while soda is the number one beverage to avoid. All soda, even diet soda is offensive when it comes to health and weight loss or maintenance. Every time you drink a bottle of soda, you get hundreds of empty calories! If you find the taste of water boring or bland, incorporate slices of lemon, lime or orange. According to the World Health Organization, a compound in these sour citrus fruits called d-limonene can give sluggish bowels a kick, which helps maintain a healthy digestive system.
If your choice is alcohol, don’t forget that alcohol has calories too—7 per gram! That’s more than protein or carbohydrates, and almost as much as fat. So, if you want to feel your best around the pool this summer, it is important to realize low-cal choices are helpful in maintaining that beach body you worked so hard for.
Apart from the calories in alcohol, the calories in the mixers of your favorite cocktails often pose a far greater issue than the actual alcohol. Why? Because a cocktail you order at the beach bar will contain more sugar than vodka. In fact, 4oz of a daiquiri or margarita mix can contain upwards of 35 grams of sugar—that’s 7 teaspoons of sugar! Calories from mixers are simple and refined sugars, which are the worst kind of calories. When they're combined with how alcohol affects your metabolism, it is not ideal for your body.
The obvious solution is abstinence, but what fun would that be? You can still enjoy summer sippers and not have to worry about the large number of calories. Choosing the right drinks can curb your appetite, tweak your metabolism, and help cut calories. Here's a guide to how to drink alcohol and maintain your weight. First and foremost, minimize the calories from mixers. Even the most natural juices are loaded with sugar. A glass of 100 percent orange juice has six teaspoons of sugar, and a glass of 100 percent apple juice has seven teaspoons. Instead of using bottled juices, make margaritas with fresh squeezed lime juice, and use calorie-free club soda instead of regular tonic water and other high-calorie carbonated drinks. Try this Super Skinny Margarita recipe that will satisfy your craving, but keep your weight in check.
Super Skinny Margarita
- 3 ounces of sparkling ice lemon lime
- 1 ½ ounces tequila
- Fresh squeezed orange juice
- Fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 lime slice for garnish
Shake first four ingredients and pour over ice into a chilled glass rimmed with salt. Garnish with lime slice.
Per serving: 100 calories, 3g carbs, and 2 grams of sugar
If your choice is wine, you can expect to consume roughly 100 to 120 calories per glass. White wine contains fewer carbohydrates than red wine, making a small difference in terms of calories. On the other hand, a study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry shows that red wine's allergic acids delay the growth of fat cells while slowing the development of new ones. However, there's a way to cut calories, but still enjoy your favorite wine.
- 4 ounces of white wine or rose
- Club soda to taste
- Fresh fruit garnish
Per serving: 45 calories, 4 carbs
And for the non-alcohol drinkers, take a look at the delicious low-cal mocktail recipes below, and prepare sip your way slim!
Virgin Citrus Mimosa
- ¾ cup lite orange juice
- ½ cup lite grapefruit juice
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 packet Stevia
- 16 oz bottle of sparkling water
Combine all juices and stir in stevia. Cover with foil and chill mixture for at least 2 hours up to 24 hours. To serve pour into 4 champagne glasses, add sparking water and stir lightly to mix. Garnish with citrus.
Per 6oz. serving: 28 calories, 19mg sodium, 3g carb, and 1 gram of protein
Lean Green Mocktail
- 1 whole cantaloupe
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 apple
- 1 quarter inch piece of ginger
- 16 oz sparking water
- Salt to taste
Juice all fruits and vegetables. Mix juice with sparking water and serve over ice. Garnish with citrus slice. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 44 calories, 33 mg sodium, 8g carbs, and 1 gram of protein
Peppy Tomato Mary
- 2 cups tomato juice
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire
- ½ tsp. horseradish
- Hot pepper sauce to taste
- Ice cubes
Combine all ingredients into small pitcher over ice, garish with celery.
Per 8 oz. serving: 37 cal, 41 mg sodium, 6 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of protein
Mint Pineapple Grape Fizz
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened grape juice
- 1 6oz unsweetened pineapple juice
- 2 cups club soda chilled
- Ice cubes
Place the ½ cup of mint leaves in pitcher; use the back of a spoon to bruise the leaves. Stir in pineapple and grape juice. Cover and chill for 4 -24 hours. Strain mint, and discard. Stir club soda into juice mixture, pour into 6 ice filled glasses, garnish with mint sprigs. Makes 6 servings.
Per Serving: 61 calories, 24 ml sodium, 8 carbs
Minty Lime Quencher
- ½ cup lime juice
- ½ cup mint leaves
- 1-2 packets of Stevia
- 2 cups sparkling seltzer water
- 1-cup ice
Add first 3 ingredients to a large glass and shake to combine. Add ice, divide mixture and top off with sparking water. Add lime as garnish.
Per 8 oz. serving: 26 cal. 40 mg sodium, 5 carbs, and 1 gram of protein.
Skinny Blueberry Vodka Mojito
- 2 oz. vodka (optional: use blueberry vodka for even more flavor)
- 4 oz. Sprite Zero
- 2 sprigs fresh mint (reserve one sprig for garnish)
- 1 tbsp. fresh blueberries (reserve a few for garnish)
Muddle vodka, mint and blueberries together in a shaker. Add one cup of crushed ice and shake. Pour into a cocktail glass and top with Sprite Zero, garnish with remaining mint & blueberries!
Per serving: 130 calories, 5 carbs
- 2 ounces of tequila
- Squeeze of lime
- Club soda, to top
- Lime wedge for garnish
Fill a highball glass with ice and add tequila and lime juice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Per serving: 95 calories, 5 carbs
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.