Continuum Weight + Wellbeing

Alright, not to be a buzz-kill, but the fact is, drinking alcohol regularly is probably the single biggest barrier between you and any health goals you’re trying to achieve. Especially losing weight. I bet I have your attention now.

I can tell you that every client I’ve ever worked with who hit a plateau or simply struggled with fluctuating weight who refused to eliminate alcohol, got stuck and stayed there. How else do I know this? Because it happened to me too. I even had all the tricks down like:

● Choosing clear spirits like vodka over the dark ones like whiskey, rum etc.

● Keeping each serving to 100 calories or less

● Using diet mixers like diet sodas vs sugary additives

Most people know and can recite that “alcohol is empty calories”, which is true, but what does that really mean? First of all, there is no nutritional value in alcohol. Which explains the fact that it is the least satiating energy source.

Additionally, the body can’t store alcohol. It is absorbed into your bloodstream and sent directly to your liver. Which means the metabolism of all the other nutrients you’ve eaten are put on the back burner until the alcohol is eliminated. Therefore, as long as alcohol is in your system, all carbohydrates and fats are shuttled toward storage – mainly body fat storage.

We also know, alcohol is a depressant and affects our inhibitions. Many people report increased food and calorie consumption after they have been drinking. Some people even report binge eating.

And here I am, back to referring to hormones again, even on this topic! Alcohol consumption affects our testosterone levels, which directly affect our lean muscle mass. Studies reveal that there is a significant decrease, as much as 45%, in testosterone levels in men when they drink alcohol. It is not as significant in women, but they should consider how alcohol is affecting their activity, performance and training the day after consumption. Why should we care? Muscle or lean mass is our friend! The more muscle vs body fat we have, the more of a furnace our bodies are for burning fat and calories.

The bottom line – the old adage “Everything in moderation” really applies and goes a long way when it comes to alcohol.

If you aren’t choosing to abstain, no judgement here. So, consider a few things when choosing to drink.

First, why are you reaching for the alcohol? If it goes beyond a drink or two at a social gathering and is happening frequently, there may be deeper issues that are motivating us to turn to alcohol. Talk to a doctor or someone you trust if you become concerned. Second, consider cutting back or taking a break from drinking for a certain period of time.

Take away – (and no, it’s not the bullet points above – wink) You can try all the “tricks” and shortcuts around drinking, but if you find you are stalled out and plateauing with your health and weight goals, it might be time to track and evaluate your consumption. Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now!

In good health,

Kelly A Brennan, CFN, CCNS