I’m going to kick off this post by saying that I’m not judging anyone for drinking. Several years ago, I made the decision that alcohol had no place in my life. There were many reasons for this decision, but I can honestly say it’s probably the number one best decision I made for my health, and as a health coach I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about alcohol and its effects on your body and weight. My purpose here is to share some information about alcohol and weight loss so you too can make an informed choice.
I will never tell any of my clients that they should “never” drink alcohol again. Hey, if it’s your birthday and you want to have some wine, go ahead!
But truthfully, regular consumption of alcohol may slow down your weight-loss progress. If you’re used to having a glass of wine at dinner each night, you can probably forget about losing those 10 lbs. before your niece’s wedding next month. Why? Read on for 3 reasons alcohol is not your weight-loss friend.
Reason #1: It’s Basically Poison
Here’s the thing: when you drink alcohol, your body uses it as a “priority fuel” until all of it has been removed from your body. What? It’s like a poison your body wants to expel as quickly as possible. So, when you consume adult beverages, rather than metabolizing fat, your liver goes into full-on “get rid of the poison” mode. This means that when you have a drink, your fat-burning furnace is shut off for about 6-8 hours while your liver burns out the alcohol.
You read that right: I said a drink. As in, one drink.
Logically, if you take the number of drinks you normally drink in a week and have all of them on Saturday and Sunday, your fat loss would be better (note: we’re talking about fat loss NOT drunkenness) if all other things are equal. Instead of your fat-burning furnace being turned off 6-8 hours per day, it may be turned off for 12-16 hours over the weekend.
So mathematically it makes sense. But if you’re drinking that much at once, can all other things really be equal?
Reason #2: Junk Food
When you drink, your food inhibitions are washed away in a sea of alcohol. You’re just not going to make good food choices, period. End of story. If there’s a little part of your brain that likes junk food, and you don’t let yourself have it normally, as soon as the alcohol kicks in, that’s where you lose your inhibitions.
One of my mottos is: Eat your French fries when you’re sober so you can truly enjoy them and remember the experience.
Reason #3: Coyote Ugly
If you’re not willing to give up your alcohol, having 1-2 drinks a couple times a week probably isn’t going to throw off your healthy living and weight loss goals.
Although I’m not a huge fan of regular drinking while attempting to lose weight, the truth is, you can make better drink decisions that will have less of an impact on your weight loss goals.
So, if you are going to imbibe while trying to lose weight, make sure to avoid cocktails with calorie-laden mixers. A pina colada can send the scale skyrocketing. A good rule of thumb is if it has an umbrella in it, it won’t help you look good in your bathing suit. Keep the alcohol on the rocks or mixed with soda water and a fresh lime or lemon wedge.