Will I lose weight if I stop drinking?
This is a question that I get time and time again through coaching emails and check ins with my clients.
And well, I mean.. which answer do you want me to give you? Alcohol and weight loss don’t really go hand in hand, and I feel I could go in so many directions with this answer, and depending who I’m talking to, sometimes I do. Ha.
But the truth of it is, we’re all adults. So it’s up to you to decide if you want to have a drink, and if so, how many. If you’re working on a body re-composition goal, however, it’s important to know that alcohol can have some serious effects on your progress.
So, as you’re opening that bottle of wine for an anniversary, mixing sangria for the Fourth of July, or enjoying your favorite cocktail simply because it’s Tuesday.. here are 3 facts about alcohol and weight loss to keep in mind, and… they may surprise you.
3 Facts About Alcohol and Weight Loss That Might Surprise You
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Alcohol Can Cause Excess Fat Storage
We all like to joke about the dreaded beer gut, but guys – it’s a real thing. When you consume a diet high in foods that are composed mostly of simple sugars (think: candy, cake, soda), and BEER – the extra calories get stored as fat in our bodies.
While your genetic predisposition plays a role in how and where you store fat, the chances are higher that excess fat stores will end up in your abdomen. Aka: beer gut.
Alcohol Can Affect Digestion And How Your Body Absorbs Nutrients
When you drink, alcohol can have some serious effects on your digestive function. Alcohol places stress on your digestive system which can lead to an increase in the digestive secretions your body produces. These secretions are a vital part of our digestive process; they’re what helps break down the food we eat into basic micronutrients that are absorbed and used by our body.
When this process is inhibited, our digestion can go all out of whack. Further, alcohol use (especially over long periods of time) can change how our body metabolizes and stores carbohydrates, which can lead to increased fat storages vs. burning through carbs as fuel.
When you consume alcohol, your body can actually stop being able to burn through fat for up to 48 hours. So if you’ve been trying to lose weight, having a drink socially on the weekends could actually be slowing your progress.
Alcohol Contains Empty Calories + Leads To Impaired Judgement
The calories in alcohol are considered “empty” because they contain very little nutritional value. So, when you’re drinking, the calories you’re taking in aren’t being used for anything beneficial within your body, and instead, are being stored as fat.
In addition, the more you drink, the less likely you are to care about your nutrition. I think we’ve all been there: a few drinks in and all of a sudden an order of cheese fries magically appear before our eyes.
Will one or two drinks hurt you overall? No, probably not (if you’re drinking responsibly). But when two drinks lead to a late night cravings followed by a trip through the Taco Bell drive-thru, that’s then you’ll start to see some serious side effects show up on the scale.
So for those of you who have been asking, “Will I lose weight if I stop drinking?” the answer is – most likely, yes.
Tips to Keep in Mind…
If you do decide the occasional adult beverage is in the cards, then here are some quick tips and tricks to keep in mind:
Drink a LOT of water. This includes before drinking, during, and after – especially the next day. Water will help flush out any water retention the alcohol might cause.
Limit yourself to 2 drinks, max. You’ll be of sound mind and able to make better decisions that way.
Keep an eye on the “extras.” Things like your mixers; juices and sodas can be packed full of sugar and extra calories and trust me, they add up quick.
One more thing…
I really think it’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to drink. Like, ever. But if you do, that’s okay, too. Just keep in mind that if you’re attending family get togethers or social events, please don’t feel the need to explain yourself if you choose to order a sparkling water vs. a Goose and tonic.
I think, for whatever reason, we’ve placed this pressure on adults to drink socially. That the “normal” thing to do is to drink, and if you’re not drinking, there must be this big glaring reason. Either you have a drinking problem, or – if you’re a woman, you must be pregnant.
If you’re abstaining from alcohol, for whatever the reason may be – (and please know, whatever that reason is, it’s NO ONE’S business), then that’s the end. Period. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, and not drinking IS normal.