We all know that there are many empty calories in alcohol. We also keep seeing articles that recommend moderate drinking for health benefits. The social aspect is hard to avoid. Then there is the addictive nature of alcohol.
Clearly, the subject of alcohol intake is conflicted.
I have gone through periods of drinking far more than any recommended limits. I have certainly endangered my health. During the periods of heavy drinking I have also tended to be closer to my higher body weights.
I think from a rational point of view, giving up alcohol altogether is the best option. I find it hard to believe that there are any health benefits at all from something that is, after all a poison. Alcohol is a known carcinogen, it kills brain and liver cells amongst others. It slows your metabolism, causes depression and negative thinking. Alcohol is an element in many accidents, road deaths, domestic abuse, rape, murder….The list goes on.
Of course you will say that you can control it, you don’t have a problem. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones…
… But we never really meet many people who admit to having a problem with alcohol … Do we?
As these posts are about weight loss, I expect that you have a weight problem and have wondered about the question of alcohol.
Do some research and you could see that the amount of calories in alcohol is high. Wine and vodka is better than lager. If you drink to get drunk (to a greater or lesser extent), like most people do, then alcohol is contributing to your weight problem.
If you literally have 1 glass of red wine with a meal, and do this a few times a week; then this will be OK for your weight loss plan. If you ‘binge’ on alcohol, which technically means more than 3 glasses of wine or 3 bottles of beer in one session; then you will be adversely effecting your weight loss goal.
(P.S. If you think that 3 glasses isn’t the ‘red line’ to cross into bingeing then think 4 or 5, go on, kid yourself!).
I find that even drinking just a few alcoholic drinks will effect me the next day. I will have a headache and have that ‘oh no it’s morning’ feeling when I wake up. Then I will feel mildly depressed. (Alcohol is a depressant.) Whist feeling a little gloomy I have less motivation to keep working towards my goals. I am also more likely to eat unhealthy food both for convenience and comfort.
So for me, it is not just the number of calories in the alcohol itself, it is the negative effect on my willpower the next day.
Also while drunk you are likely to eat a large kebab, pizza, or burger and fries.
Are you the type of person who uses food to modify your moods?
Then you will also use alcohol to do the same. Under this circumstance, quitting is the best option. For me it is easier to stop drinking than to try to limit myself to 3 drinks for example. After 3 drinks I don’t care about my goals anymore.
Cutting down on any addiction is really difficult. Stopping it altogether is far easier because you stop feeding the monster. Ask someone who is addicted to gambling whether it is easier to go to the betting shop or casino and stick to a budget, or simply to go to the beach.
What I find is that during periods of personal growth, I hit targets in different areas of my life during the same period. You just experience positive feedback loops.
Losing enough weight to drop a clothing size will give you a boost that will make you happier …
…This extra happiness will be bounced back by the people you spend time with …
…This extra sense of well-being could lead you to put in a better performance at work …
… A better performance at work can get you promoted …
… The extra pay could mean that you can afford a special family holiday …
… Which will then lead to a closer relationship with your family …
… That makes you feel more secure and less likely to comfort eat …
… Which helps you drop another clothes size …
When you hit your target weight you will find that many other areas in your life will be improved.
This will happen, partly because of the extra energy and self-confidence, but also because you will be a more disciplined person. Someone who can set targets and goals then achieves them. This is a valued trait, one of the most important ones in life if not THE most important one.
So, back to the alcohol…
-Have you ever got drunk on a regular basis?
-Are you more likely to eat junk food while drunk or the next day when feeling gloomy?
-Do you feel sluggish or less motivated after drinking?
If you answer “YES” to any of these questions then my advice is to make an effort to stop drinking alcohol altogether.
Do I follow my own advice?
I try my best. Just as I do with my diet. When I do drink, or eat unhealthy food I just get up, brush myself down and go back to my original plan of a better life. I don’t give in and go back to being an alcoholic and junk food glutton!
If I weaken once a month or even once a week, I am doing a whole lot better than before I started my ‘new me’ plan.