When the weekend approaches, many party-ready dieters begin wondering if it’s possible to drink alcohol and still lose weight? After all, occasionally drinking low-calorie alcoholic beverages can’t be that detrimental to one’s weight loss efforts, and let’s not forget that scientific research has shown that having the equivalent of one drink a day does offer certain cardiovascular benefits.

So with that said, is it possible to drink alcohol and lose weight?

If the calories themselves were the only factor, alcohol wouldn’t necessarily be an adversary to your weight loss efforts. Unfortunately, however, there’s more to your Skinny Girl® Mojito than just reduced calories and a refreshing buzz. When it comes to drinking alcohol while trying to lose weight, here’s what you need to know.

Alcohol Slows the Fat Burning Process

When you drink alcohol, the calories you’re consuming are transformed into a chemical known as acetate, which is then burned off very quickly by your body. How is that a bad thing when it comes to weight loss? When you’re dieting, exercising and drinking, all of your efforts go toward burning the calories from alcohol first, rather than burning the fat you’re trying to eliminate. Also, if you spend less time on the dance floor and more time sitting on the bar stool, the acetate calories can be stored in your body as fat, right alongside the ones you’ve been trying to lose.

Alcohol is Often Mixed with Sugary Juices and Liqueurs

Almost everyone is a sucker for that first round of shots, especially if someone else is buying them. But what if your friend orders everyone chocolate cake shots, and before you know it, you’ve had two? They’re just little shots, how much harm can they do, right? Excess calories from sugared glass rims and flavored liqueurs can add up quickly, not to mention the sugar/carb overload that comes with every sweetened drink. Keep drinking and before you know it, your diet becomes the unwitting victim of ‘hidden calorie” sabotage.

Alcohol Makes Your Willpower Waiver

Perhaps the most pervasive piece of the “can I drink alcohol and lose weight?” puzzle is the simple fact that after you’ve had a couple of drinks, your willpower begins to waiver. When drinking alcohol, it doesn’t take much to convince yourself that just one little slice of pizza would be okay…or seven burritos and a stack of pancakes. And Twinkies from the gas station. See what I mean here? The results that show up on the scale after a couple of incidences like that are sure to rock your motivation and put all of your previous efforts at risk.

So is there any good news about drinking alcohol and losing weight? Truthfully, alcohol should be avoided in any successful weight loss program. It’s an important decision to make, but if you stick to it, you’ll reach your weight loss goals a lot faster. But if you’re a true partier and absolutely must have a drink or two, try choosing “healthy” alcoholic drinks (like the ones listed here: 60 Healthier Drinks for Boozing) and limit how often you drink them. If done correctly, it’s possible to maintain (not gain or lose) weight while drinking alcohol, which, on occasion, may be good enough for some true Vodka loving dieters.

If you’re looking for a sweet treat that won’t hurt you diet, try our best-selling Chocolate Chip Diet Protein Cookies. They taste like homemade chocolate chip cookies, but they have fiber and protein to help keep you feeling fuller longer so you’re less likely to eat (or drink!) as much.