11pm: At the bar
So you've done your grilling, eaten, and maybe had a couple drinks with plenty of water thrown in. Now you have permission to get your party started.
The bad news is that it doesn't take much alcohol for you to rack up an entire meal's worth of calories just by drinking. Add in the fact that your body has to process booze -- which is toxic, after all -- and it's easy to see why an excess of alcohol can lead to weight gain.
"Drinking alcohol reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy," Ott says. "Because of this, all other normal processes that are taking place in our bodies -- absorbing nutrients, burning fat, etc. -- are interrupted to take priority to getting rid of the alcohol."
Because it's easy to over-consume beer, if you're going to make the switch to liquor and need a mixer, opt for a low-calorie option. Ott suggests that 1.5oz liquor mixed with soda water or water is the magic recipe.
Since a 12oz light beer is roughly equal to a 5oz glass of wine is roughly equal to a 1.5oz shot, you have options when you're out. Continuing to have water between drinks is still the key to reducing the number of drinks you have over the course of the night.
2am: When you get home (maybe!)
If you did everything right, you had a great time and didn't get belligerent... but the night isn’t over yet.
First: stay out of the kitchen. Ott assures that "the best way to minimize overeating after a night of drinking is to keep trigger foods out of your house." So even though the leftover chips and ranch dip are still good, resistance is key.
If you are sick of water, have some (and keep more within reach overnight) to help replenish electrolytes, lost because of what Ott refers to as the diuretic effect of alcohol, which really means that it makes you pee a lot.
Finally, you need to sleep. Because you aren't devouring everything in your kitchen, you have more time to do that. Also, don't have one last drink! You're so close to the finish line.