Some of my readers asked me to write about this topic…and some really don’t want to read about it. Luckily this is my blog and I can write about whatever I want! Ha! Continue reading if you so desire…
So. Alcohol. It can be a friend at times, and it can also be your worst enemy. Regardless of how you feel on the subject of alcohol consumption, when you have health and fitness goals (and specifically, a goal of weight loss), alcohol really isn’t going to do you any favors.
In a nutshell, here are 8 ways alcohol is not a good idea when you’re trying to lose weight:
1. It has more calories per gram than do carbs or protein, and almost as many calories as a gram of fat. Pure alcohol actually has 7 calories per gram, while carbs and protein each have 4. Fat has 9 calories per gram. It really starts to add up when you have those drinks…and if you’re like me, a glass of wine isn’t actually ONE glass of wine. It’s almost half the bottle in a really big glass haha.
2. There are lots of added calories to many drinks. That margarita? Oh yeah, tons of carbs in that drink. Beer? Carb city. White Russian? Carbs AND fat in that one. Unless you’re drinking shots, you most likely have additional calories added to your drink. (This is not an encouragement to drink shots. Don’t twist my words.)
3. Alcohol persuades you to eat all those things that are NOT on your meal plan. It also stimulates your appetite. Pretzels, chips (and guac!!), nuts, and all those yummy snacky foods that we want to munch on when we’ve been drinking. Yeah, inhibitions are out the window and food is getting in the belly. And if you have too much to drink, you know you’ll be at the Waffle House trying to sober up with eggs, bacon, toast, and grits. That’s going to make your pants snug for sure.
4. Now for the science — alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to digest and burn fat. Alcohol is mostly absorbed and processed by the liver, and doesn’t need to be digested. Because the body sees alcohol as a toxin, it works to get rid of it first. So what does that mean? It means that all of the other carbs, proteins, and fats that your body takes in….they get pushed aside….in the form of fat storage. Yep. While Mr. Liver is busy taking care of that alcohol, the fat burning process takes a nap and every other calorie is stored — on your belly, on your thighs, behind your upper arm (oh that’s the WORST).
5. Alcohol also suppresses testosterone production. So if you were planning on making some gainz, alcohol is going to fight you on that. And no matter how buff you are, this is one battle you aren’t going to win.
6. Sorry sleepyhead, I know you think that alcohol will help you sleep (and no doubt that a glass of wine will help you relax when you’re stressed), but it doesn’t actually contribute to a restful sleep. Alcohol can interfere with the amount of deep sleep you get at night; so when you’re tired the next day, you’re more likely to overeat. Oh man, there are actually LASTING effects of drinking on weight loss??!! Bummer.
7. Alcohol reduces motivation. You aren’t going to want to exercise after you’ve opened that Summer Shandy. And if you have too much the night before, you realllly aren’t going to want to hit the gym before work. Headache + treadmill = a mess the gym employees don’t want to clean up. Do I need to mention how bad you’re going to smell when you sweat out that alcohol? Didn’t think so.
8. And of course I’m going to point out — there is zero nutrition in alcohol. Don’t even try to tell me that pina colada counts as a fruit. It doesn’t. And just because wine comes from grapes, it isn’t a fruit either. I don’t know about you, but when I am on a strict meal plan, I choose my calories wisely. I’d rather not waste them on something that isn’t going to prep my body for prime performance.
Am I saying you should never drink anything with alcohol? No, of course not. I don’t plan to become a teetotaler (that’s a fancy word for someone who abstains 100% of the time) and I wouldn’t ask you to do that either just for the sake of weight loss. However, when I am laser focused on a specific goal, or when I am in competition prep (or a cut, as you males like to call it), I most definitely will not be drinking casually. I may enjoy one glass on rare occasion, but I will be making a conscious decision to do that with full awareness of the consequences. Most times, I do like to enjoy a beer or glass of wine. Just remember what it does to your body, and take that into consideration when you make that choice.