Alcohol is deeply entrenched in our culture as a way to have fun, let loose, and be social. But the truth is that alcohol, when not consumed in moderation, has a very negative effect on weight loss.
After your first drink, your body starts to get rid of the alcohol very quickly. Our body sees it as dangerous, as if it was an external poisonous substance, and wants to rid it from our system as fast as possible. The body begins to cease using our primary fuel sources (being fats and carbs) for energy and turns to burning the alcohol for fuel. So the issue here is that although no alcohol will be stored as fat in our bodies, the primary fuel sources we have been eating to maintain energy levels will not be able to be used until we expel the alcohol from our system. This creates energy storage that make it easy to store fat.
'The alcohol that we drink isn't the major contributor to weight gain, it is the poor food choices we make while under the influence of alcohol that is weight gain cause'
The other main issue with alcohol intake is the reduction in our abilities to make 'sensible decisions'. This doesn't mean turning up the stereo system and singing our favourite karaoke song, there is nothing wrong with that. I'm talking about the inability to make good decisions when it comes to eating. How many times have we had a few too many drinks and craved that late night kebab or that quick stop at McDonalds on the way home? We know we shouldn't but the inability to make educated choices is greatly diminished and has detrimental impacts on our diets and our weight loss goals.
However, abstinence from anything is never the way to make positive and sustainable lifetime changes. Especially over the Christmas period its naïve to think that alcohol will be a 'no go' for most of us. So here are a few simple tips to help reduce the impacts of alcohol intake on our bodies:
- While drinking make sure we eat but making good healthy choices. Go for snacks high in protein, fiber and good fats. This will help us feel satisfied and help regulate blood sugar levels and
- Sip on water in between drinks
- Opt for low calorie mixers (A personal favourite I recommend to clients is a vodka lime and soda)
A final piece of advice, and something to think about leading into the festive season. Limit your overall levels of alcohol whilst learning and developing strategies to allow yourself to be in the best position to reap some of the benefits of alcohol consumption, while not derailing your overall progress.
Ryan Barlett*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.