Learning to Balance Vodka & Veggies

This past week, I had a few drinks. Which is a few more drinks than I normally have.

I used to drink three or four times a week. When I say drink, I’m not talking about a glass of wine. I’m talking about a whole bottle, or in my case, box. It was college: alcohol, party, pizza… repeat. Don’t get me wrong, it was a blast but I was over it and deep down wasn’t fully happy, so I made some changes. Over the last few years I stopped drinking like I did when I was 18 and 19. I didn’t like waking up on Sunday morning not knowing what happened in the last 12 hours. I didn’t like having to write a paper with a migraine. I didn’t like my beer belly. I didn’t like the decisions I made.

I still went/go out, just sober. Call me lame but I’m still fun. Anyways, last week was different: I drank. I had vodka instead of water. I snacked late at night when I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t get enough sleep. But here’s the catch: I woke up the next morning and I didn’t feel bad about it. I didn’t skip meals (or snacks). I ate like I normally would. I didn’t workout for 3.5 hours. I went spinning for an hour. I lived.

Life is meant to be lived

I love brussel sprouts, I like waking up at 5am to workout and I pick-and-choose my sweet treats. All of these things make me happy but I am learning along the way: one drink, or two drinks, or an extra slice of pie or cutting a workout short will not derail my lifestyle. It will not take me back to a body I wasn’t happy with. It will not take me back to unhealthy habits.

Vodka and Veggies Card

I wrote this post for you but also for me. Last week’s social outings helped me realize that it is very possible to balance vodka and veggies. I don’t want to be “that” fitness freak and health foodie who works out alllll the time and only eats healthified versions of everything that tastes like grass. I don’t want to make people around me feel guilty for eating pizza and ice-cream. I don’t want to turn down a drink or dessert because I’m worried about sabotaging my lifestyle.

Vodka and veggies

Yes I strongly believe in eating whole foods that nourish and fuel my body. Yes I love to workout. I drink green smoothies, buy weird seeds and think a trip to Whole Foods is exciting. When I go out with friends I have absolutely zero desire to end my evening with a burger from McDonald’s. But when I go to a French bakery, you bet I’m getting an almond croissant. I indulge here and there and that’s what makes me, me.

My goal is to give you delicious recipes, sweaty workouts but never make you feel like you can’t eat or do something. Live your life and do what works for you.

So have that martini because body-pump and overnight oats will be there in the morning.



No questions, just your thoughts. 




91 thoughts on “Learning to Balance Vodka & Veggies

  1. Your blog title cracked me up. This is all so true and a great reminder for this time of year. You have to put some life into living or what’s the point! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great post, Amy! I feel very much the same about having a balanced lifestyle and diet, which may include alcohol or treats. Of course these are not part of a daily eating plan, but instead are indulgences…and when they do happen, they are enjoyed to the fullest!
    I was the same in college. I think it comes with varsity sport territory, as ironic as that seems (you know what I mean??).
    I also think that we only have once life, and I am determined not to deprive myself of things I enjoy!!

  3. I’m really happy that you wrote this, that you are discovering this, and that you are sharing it with others. I think it’s the biggest struggle in the HLB community. Life isn’t anything if you don’t let yourself live it. You’re amazing, and I’m glad you had fun!

  4. Yes so so true! There IS a balance between vodka and veggies, you just have to find it and be comfortable with the balancing act. Obviously drinking all the time won’t end well, but when I do go out (which isn’t too often) I make sure to kick back, have a few drinks and just have fun because those moments with friends are meant to be spent having fun, not worrying about calories.

    1. “Those moments with friends are meant to be spent having fun, not worrying about calories.” <--- so spot on! You are so right about not doing it that often so live it up!

  5. I hear ya, girl. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t do anything that would mess up my exercise/eating routine. Alcohol was a HUGEEEEE NO-NO. Welll that is now a thing of the past, and I will occasionally go out if I want to and enjoy my cocktail or glass of wine (or 4 lol)…still young! And ya, sometimes at the end of the night I’ll grab that slice of pizza (or as the case on my 21st birthday…three slices of pizza), but the next day, I pick myself right back up and don’t even blink an eye because I am now in a place where I am maintaining my life and balancing everything out, so eating leaves all day on top of doing 3 hours of cardio just is not living.
    I would rather not look back on my life 20 years from now and think about how much time I just wasted going to the gym…that is so silly!!
    I’m glad that you have a very similar mindset, but aside from late night accidental pizza runs, I do, like yourself, enjoy better quality indulgences such as gourmet pizzas, sandwiches, and fancy dinners much more now!!!

    Love these posts :)

    Have an awesome Monday!

    1. It’s so wonderful to read about the place you are in right now. I know you inspire others along the way too. I’m glad it’s a thing of the past.

  6. I really love this post. I feel like I finally started to find that balance this semester too. I never was a drinker and I’m still not- I’d prefer to be sober at a party, oddly enough, even though I am heavily judged for it at times. But sometimes we NEED those late night pizzas or the special desserts. That’s why they are special and if we’re letting our healthy eating and exercise get in the way of our lifestyle, that’s a problem.

    1. The judgment is hard. It’s hard not to listen to it or allow it to affect you. I completely agree that a healthy lifestyle cannot get in the way of our actual life.

  7. Ahh this is so great to hear. I am so glad you are learning to balance and still have fun and do what you want! I don’t care to drink much, but I dont feel bad about having a glass or two of wine. I don’t feel bad about enjoying some desserts or indulgences of what I want. However, I do still balance out my eating and workout to keep my healthy. I love that you won’t give up having fun just because you are worried about not getting a workout in or it’s not whole foods. :)

  8. I have one drink EVERY night and it has never derailed my from my fitness goals. I think for some people, there is a place for alcohol in their balanced life, but for others, there is not. It’s up to us to make that call!

  9. YES! I spent the last 12 months abstaining from alcohol, for fear of ‘losing control’, but also because I don’t find a hangover all that enjoyable. These past few weeks, I have come to see that a glass of wine can be enjoyable, and that having a ‘few too many cookies’ doesn’t mean you will slide back into an unhealthy lifestyle. I have come to learn that I need not fear treats, in fact they’re necessary!

  10. Absolutely love this post Ame! Finding balance and happiness is the key :) You continue to motivate me everyday with your awesome posts!

  11. I completely agree with everything you said here! I am slowly learning that while I don’t want to drink the nights away all the time, the occasional alcohol splurge is okay. That happened to me at a Christmas party this weekend. Open bar, and they were filling normal cups up with wine! Before I knew it I was on my fourth. That’s basically an entire bottle to myself. And I woke up the next morning totally okay with that.

  12. So true! I was definitely a big party girl in college and yes it was fun but there is no way I could do it again! A few drinks here and there is about all I can handle these days. Waking up hung over with a two year old, is not fun!

  13. Yes, yes, YES! This is how living healthy should be! It’s important to be on track 80% of the time, but as is human nature, we need to treat and spoil ourselves a bit. This life we live is short and it’s most important that we ENJOY it! So go on with your good self and eat right and exercise regularly, and then get on with your bad self and eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

  14. HEALTHY living should be just that — a healthy balance between fun, eating well, and taking care of your body. If you want to have a nice out with drinks, do it! It’s good for the soul and the mind. We can’t be 100% anything all the time, it’s too much. Cheers girl ;)

  15. ‘Live your life and do what works for you’ – Exactly! – It has taken me a while to get to this stage too! I have come to finally realize that it is all about balance. I also get excited by a trip to wholefoods… ha!

  16. This is a great post Amy because balance is so important to staying happy! I’m on a serious search for that balance and this post was reassuring. I was the same way in college and it takes a serious toll on your health, then I changed to the other side, where drinking was off limits and so were any treats. Both sides can be harmful so finding the balance is great! You have to enjoy life!! :)

    1. Exactly. We are both living and learning that too much of one thing (be it “good” or “bad”) isn’t how it should be. It is definitely a process but the best things come in small packages so I know you will be just great!

  17. Im learning this more and more too. I once used to go out ALL the time.. and once I changed my old life style to a new healthy life style. for some reason alcohol was the first thing that dwindled. Now I remember that meeting up with friends is therapeutic. and so is nice glass of wine OR my fav… vodka! gong out once a week is not bad at all<3

  18. I can’t thank you enough for this post! In college I drank alllll the time and would get up feeling like I would have to exercise for a million hours or do something to “get rid of it”. I then graduated, moved home and felt so much better without hangovers and lost memories.. Then this past weekend I realized it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I went out with the mindset of not drinking, then I decided once I was there that I felt like having a few drinks so I had them. I came home, still had a snack, went to bed and YOU WERE RIGHT, my oatmeal and the gym were still there in the morning and my body/lifestyle were not sabotaged without modifying my workout or meals. I’m still working on finding this balance but this is just the beginning! I can’t think of a better way to put it than “vodka and veggies” and I feel so much better knowing that others are going through the same thing :)

    1. Thank you for reading Meredith. I love what you said about it not having to be “all or nothing.” That’s a great way of putting it because it’s so true. In college we had too much vodka; then too many veggies… now we can have both!

  19. You literally summed this up perfectly! I constantly struggle with balancing my social life and wanting to keep up my healthy lifestyle. It’s definitely a learning process but I always just focus on what is going to make me the most happy. I’m in my senior year of college and I know when I look back I’m not going to remember the hours I spent in the gym but the time I spent having fun with my friends, drinking or not drinking, eating healthy or not healthy. As long as you are making the decisions because it’s what will make you happy, that is all that matters!

    1. It sounds like you have an awesome handle on things! It is very possible to “do it all”. I had friends who would go to the gym with me in college, or friends who would go for drinks. The memories will be everlasting and you are so right about simply choosing happiness. You are wise beyond your years friend :) hope you had a great semester!

  20. I think from my blog posts you will know I don’t believe in not drinking wine when and where I want to. Since starting Intuitive Eating I probably drink a lot more than what I used to when I felt like I had to control it way too much but I’m slowly tuning in to those times when I am drinking for emotional reasons too often as well. I think a healthy lifestyle is all about balance.

  21. I definitely understand where you’re coming from. Back in the day, I was literally afraid of the extra calories in alcohol, so for a few years I would only have a drink or two on a special occasion…then when I gave myself permission to drink, I went overboard a little. But now I’m pretty happy with my balance – I drink on occasion, when I really want to – I’ve given myself permission to pass or to indulge, whichever I’m feeling that day. It’s so much nicer to just not worry about it!

  22. Love this! So true. I used to drink every night in University. Like.. every night. And it was weird when we weren’t drinking. It is so crazy to think that we lived like that, but we did and still managed to get a university degree. These days I go out drinking maybe once every three weeks, and I am sooo happy doing this. I love to see my friends and have a good time, but I also don’t over do it anymore. I can’t handle hangovers anymore and I need to be productive the next day.. so it isn’t worth it.

  23. I love this so much lady. My brain is a little too melty to articulate it well, but I want you to know it really hit home (as usual). I’m really proud of myself for getting to a similar place – where I’m not trying to “make up” for “bad” decisions. It’s like a pendulum swing. I was like you in college only worse: much more drinking, probably worse food, and no collegiate athletics keeping me in shape. Then I went the other way, and essentially punished myself for the fun I was having (that wasn’t all that fun…) and I got way too thin, and way unhealthy. Then, after another correction, I was healthier, but on a path to being the obnoxious health nut you described. Now, i’m so happy with where I am. I eat cookies and have a drink now and then, but I keep everything on track. A night of a few drinks doesn’t send me into a downward spiral back to my garbage lifestyle and it doesn’t send me panicked into starvation more to compensate or to the gym for hours to “earn” it. It’s just life. It’s a sign of self-trust, in my opinion. Ok this is getting rambly, time to cut me off! Point is, I’m happy for you! :) xo

    1. Even with a mushy brain you still communicate very well :) I am also so proud of you for getting to where you are now. I hope that doesn’t sound weird but it’s true because I can hear your journey in the posts you write and you definitely inspire others (like me) all the time. SELF-TRUST <-- you couldn't be more right! Believe in ourselves :)

  24. I feel like everyone goes through this in their 20s! Just wait until you turn 27, even a glass of wine can give you a headache ;) But seriously, I was known as the party girl in college and then I graduated and lived by myself for a while and all of a sudden it wasn’t as fun anymore! This is when I really started taking things seriously and cleaned up my act and fitness routine. Despite this, I don’t have any regrets. I had a blast and I’m glad I got it out of my system when I was young. But these days, I’m happy with a cup of green tea and an early bedtime at night!

  25. This is absolutely beautiful to me, and resonates my feelings about my healthy lifestyle. Like you, I love my healthy foods and exercise, but I also love sharing sweet treats with my love and taking a few days off from working out. I am finally in a place of knowing what works for me and what will keep me “happy” during this beautiful life. And really, that is what it comes down to for me.

  26. I love this. It’s so true. Have a glass of wine, enjoy that cosmo, eat the darn cupcake. You can’t focus so much one eliminating things or you will never stick to it. You need to enjoy yourself and find balance! You’re wise beyond your years my dear!

  27. Recently found your blog and just stumbled upon this post. Last year I wouldn’t do ANYTHING that would derail my progress from the “right” amount of calories. I relaxed during the spring and summer and felt really great! The holiday season is bringing out my anxious side once again but I am saving this post and reading it whenever I let myself feel badly for indulging! Thank you for recognizing this! :)

Leave a Reply