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
In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.
For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.
Believe it or not, I am happy about that.
The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.
It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).
These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.
So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.
Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.
The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."
In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.