How Alcohol can affect your weight loss efforts.
I’ll go on a diet……
BUT I’m not cutting out my wine!!! Sounds familiar? Maybe even too familiar…
Some people will rather suffer perpetual unhappiness with their bodies than give up the temporary pleasure alcohol
provides for a few weeks.
Yes, think about that……dare I say…. coping mechanism?
If this is you, you might want to gently start asking yourself why? Is it true that the only way to ‘unwind’ or ‘de-stress' is to have a drink? Or is this the way you have learned to cope with stress or avoid emotion?
Let me explain why going on a diet and not cutting out the Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t work, and maybe isn’t such a good idea.
Alcohol switches off fat burning.
When you drink alcohol your body views it as a toxin. In response to the foreign trespasser, your body wants to metabolise the alcohol as quickly as possible before any damage can be done by the said toxin. Your body is now in annihilation mode and will metabolise the toxin before it does anything else. Any other food you have consumed will be stored as fat until further notice, instead of being burned as fuel. Therefore, even though you are on a diet plan, and consume only good fats and protein, you will still switch off your fat burning. Alcohol can stay in your system for up to 3 days before your body reverts to burning fat for fuel instead of storing it.
Alcohol messes with your hormones.
Hormonal changes can inhibit fat loss and can result in weight-loss resistance. Alcohol raises cortisol and estrogen, among other hormones in the body. On another note, not in anyway positive, oestrogens are the hormones responsible for developing cellulite, as they are responsible for arranging fatty tissue. By interfering with the endocrine system, research has shown that alcohol can affect blood sugar levels, impair reproductive functions, interfere with calcium metabolism, and bone structure, affect hunger and digestion and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Alcohol disturbs your sleep.
Think a nightcap may help you get a better night’s sleep? Think again. Even though you might feel zonked out the quality of your sleep is inadequate for weight loss. Alcohol sedates us, but sedation is not sleeping. We burn most of our fat at night when we sleep, so getting enough REM sleep is critical for weight loss. In addition, alcohol before bed can significantly worsen our mood and hunger signals the next day.
Alcohol reduces your willpower.
After a few drinks, most of us throw caution and restraint to the wind and make bad choices. These choices include food choices. We are more inclined to eat snacks and overeat when we consume alcohol. In effect, alcohol makes us hungrier. Remember that super saver 2 am garage pies in your university days? Ja!! Then enter hangover, and we head for the worst remedy we can find, fats, carbs, and salt. A complete weight loss killer.
Most Alcohol contains empty calories.
In other words, these calories hold no nutritional value. Alcohol contains almost twice as many calories as protein and carbohydrates. This can throw your diet out of balance because you are taking in so much by getting so little out of it. Excessive drinking often leads to unhealthy weight gain. When available to the body, alcohol is used preferentially as an energy source and blocks the oxidation of other fuels such as fat and carbs, which can contribute to weight gain.
You get tipsy faster.
If you are on a high protein – low carb eating plan, then drinking alcohol will reduce your tolerance. It might take fewer drinks and fewer minutes for the effects of alcohol to kick in. In that waiting time, you can misjudge yourself and drink more than you “can handle”. So, before you declare your secret undying love, steal a “when we were so drunk” trophy, even worse engage in activities that include fire. Rather stay away from the Margaritas until you are finished and at your goal weight.
Ultimately alcohol is neither healthy, nor diet friendly. If cutting out alcohol isn’t realistic for you then make a conscious effort to significantly reduce your intake and consume “better” options. Spirits such as tequila, whiskey, vodka, and gin don’t contain any calories. Just make sure to drink them with still or sparkling water. Even better on the rocks.