America’s obsession with alcohol is no secret. Drinking has become a part of our culture and is a daily habit for nearly a quarter of citizens—but alcohol could very well be the reason you aren’t losing weight.
Although it’s possible to lose weight while drinking alcohol in moderation, regular or excessive alcohol can drastically impede your weight loss efforts. Finding the weight loss strategy that works best for you should be your primary goal. With that in mind, going sober may be one of the greatest lifestyle changes you can make!
Alcohol is Empty Calories
The foundation of losing weight is to burn more calories than you intake. Our bodies, however, require a certain amount of energy and nutrients to stay healthy and function properly. Alcohol has no nutritional benefit to our bodies. Alcohol also contains seven calories per gram. This is why it is commonly referred to as “empty calories”.
A typical 4-ounce glass of red wine may have as few as 95 calories, but a margarita jumps up to 550 calories per glass. A standard weight loss diet calls for 1,200 calories a day. After your body receives the nutrients it needs from regular meals, you can’t afford the additional calories that often go unrecognized by alcohol.
The metabolic functions of your body work efficiently to make the most out of what you intake. As you eat food, your liver metabolizes fat calories and uses them for energy. When you drink alcohol, this process is disrupted. As alcohol enters the body, it becomes a priority for your metabolism to break down. Instead of using fat for energy, your body uses the large amount of calories that it recognizes from the alcohol. In this case, the fat will remain unused and create a buildup of fatty acids. In turn, you gain weight instead of losing weight.
It’s not just the calories in alcohol that can prevent you from losing weight. Drinking can diminish your overall health and energy. When you don’t feel healthy. You’re less likely to be physically active or exercise. Alcohol also lowers mental inhibitions about food choices and can increase appetite. This is a dangerous combination when you’re trying to lose weight. Weight loss often requires motivation and diligence. A strict diet can easily slip away after seeing a bar of chocolate in the fridge after a glass of wine. Indulgences become much easier when you drink.
If you are trying to lose weight, alcohol is high on the list for things to go. The calories and alternative effects of drinking can prevent you from losing weight. Ditching alcohol might require some cultural changes but will help you feel and be more motivated to lose the extra fat. If this is too big of a change, and you are going to drink while trying to lose weight, do so in moderation.