For a couple of years now I raved about how you can totally keep drinking and still lose weight. I did! I was drinking beer every weekend, at happy hours, it was like college all over again (except without the beer pong and fear of the cops showing up). But lately, I must admit, especially with my new-found love of red wine, that continuing to drink alcohol on a regular basis isn’t getting me over this plateau any faster (it’s only getting me upset over the scale). When you’re considerably overweight and you start to change your eating habits and actually workout, the pounds melt off, fast. The heavier you are, the faster and more revved up your metabolism is. Well, once you start getting down to a weight you’d like to maintain where vanity pounds are more or less your only “issue” that’s when it gets tough.
I’m not saying you should never drink alcohol again or cut it out completely, but to start, try cutting it out during the week. Then when you do go out on the weekends, make an effort to only have a couple of drinks, avoiding tons of sugary martinis if you can, too. Still, it can be hard to adjust to a social life without beer, going out suddenly you’re “that guy” or “that chick” who seems so uptight, über religious maybe, or just annoying “so are you gonna judge US if WE drink?” NO! Not that! For me it’s always been out of habit to drink when I’m out. I even realized that just having something in my hand makes me feel more confident in a bar or public setting, who established that!? If that’s also the case for you, get something different to drink like diet soda (although I’d prefer you chose water – with lemon if you want).
Alcohol is not only dense in empty calories but it also significantly slows down your metabolism. Since your body doesn’t have a way to store alcohol, it works to metabolize it immediately. This leaves other metabolic functions in the dust, so all that food you’ll end up eating because of the drunk munchies will only stick to your body that much easier and be harder to get rid of.
Even though cutting back on alcohol consumption can seem daunting at first (how am I gonna pick up people at the bar now!?) it’s reassuring to know that it works and fast! Without changing anything about my normal diet and exercise routine, I usually drop as much as 2-5 lbs in about 2 weeks when I cut out alcohol. That just from NOT drinking, for NOT doing something, pretty encouraging. Getting a buddy to keep you on track and join your efforts can help, too. That way when you might feel like declining a social outing that’s riddled with booze you’ll still have someone to hangout with. Sadly, when I googled “fun things to do without alcohol” I was presented with limited results with desperate 18 year olds asking for advice before they have friends old enough to buy beer for them. That, and “have sex” – thanks Google, you’re a gem.
Alcohol in general, but especially wine, can also greatly decrease the functionality of your hippocampus, responsible for memory and other functions. There are obvious reasons why our body is not a fan of alcohol and these reasons can aid in your decision to cut back and further your weight loss.
Whatever you decide to do – whether its cutting out drinking during the week or embarking on a no-alcohol journey for a month or more you will notice some awesome things:
- Improved sleep quality
- Clearer skin
- Feeling more alert and less sluggish
- Better mood (less depression)
- Improved memory
Let me know how it goes and feel free to leave tips that you’ve discovered! (and when you do decide to let yourself drink again – in moderation of course – there’s a lot of bomb ideas out there for drinking games and outings)