I relate to this because I am a frequent drinker as well.
I had a serious weight problem at one point, so almost four years ago I joined Weight Watchers. I ended up losing 79 lbs. over the course of a year and a half.
During the time I was losing weight, I had cocktails and wine at least four or five nights a week. I hardly ever exercised and the weight just melted off.
The way that I did it was that I kept very careful track of what I was eating during the day. If I knew I wanted a drink that night, it meant that I had to budget accordingly. Whereas normally I would have been able to have a cookie here or a cookie there, or an extra handful of chips with my sandwich — those things had to go if I wanted a glass of wine.
I still managed to have a balanced diet with plenty of veggies, protein, calcium, etc.
I found that cutting back on carbs gave me extra room with my Weight Watchers points so that I could spend those carbs on drinks. I didn’t cut breads/pasta out of my diet, of course — it’s just that I didn’t indulge in them as much.
I have kept most of the weight off — I did gain about 10 lbs. last Christmas when I got married and moved in with Darling Husband — but it can be done. You can have your drinks and have a healthy lifestyle/normal weight.
You may or may not need Weight Watchers or be interested in it, but the principle still applies…. find some system or some way to keep track of your calories or something like that. Budget for your cocktails and fit them in.
I have started up with Weight Watchers again because though I lost 70 lbs., I still have another 40 or so to lose — and right now I’m limiting myself to one glass of wine or one cocktail on those weeknights when I feel like having a drink. On Friday and Saturday nights, I allow myself two or three if I’m in the mood.
One way to save calories with drinks is to mix them with diet sodas or with those low-sugar fruit juices, such as Ocean Spray Light or Trop50 (Tropicana). I love to have a glass of white wine mixed with Trop50 lemonade, raspberry lemonade or even light cranberry juice. Those low-sugar juices have something like 1/3 the sugar of regular fruit juices and they make the wine go further.
I also love having a shot of Grey Goose vodka with light grapefruit juice… those low-sugar fruit juices have been a life saver for me.
Anyway, sorry for the long post but as you can see, this topic is of high interest to me! LOL
Cheers! And good luck!