Just one small glass of wine a night per week works out to be around 2300 calories per week, and wine is one of the lower-calorie drinks alcoholic out there. This figure is an entire days recommended calorie for an adult male. I don’t know about you, but I can never stop at just one drink, I prefer to feel the effects of alcohol rather than just having the taste of it on my pallet. If I just liked the taste of the wine, then id not need to drink a whole bottle as I would not drink a whole bottle of Sprite in an evening, so it's got to be the effect that I'm after.
But with getting the effects of alcohol, I'm going to be drinking at least 3 or 4 glasses of wine, or 3 or 4 pints of beer if I decide to drink that night. It may not stop there as well, the more I drink, then the more I tend to want, so that’s going to mean extra calories on just the drinks alone.
I always find that I get pretty bloated from drinking beer, and I also get a puffy face. I've struggled with my weight for quite a while, and it's no coincidence that I've always drunk alcohol since I've been slightly overweight as well. If I continued to drink at the levels I did, then, sure enough, id be putting weight on week after week.
Since stopping drinking alcohol, I've managed to be more committed to losing weight and also not putting it back on again as I’ve continued to stay sober. So what I believe is, that the alcohol had a direct correlation to my weight gain.
I can not just put it all down to just drinking the alcohol though, there are several factors that made me continue to gain weight. Although alcohol does have a lot of calories, it’s more often than not the things I eat which make me gain weight. You see, we all get hungry after we’ve had some drinks. I don’t understand the reasons behind this is, some people say it’s a spike in blood sugar that makes somebody crave food when they have been drinking. But whatever it is, people often want to eat more once they have been drinking, or after they have finished drinking.
So you need somehow to reduce your cravings when drinking alcohol. The only way you could do this is to try and drink some water or low-calorie drinks if you are feeling hungry. This is very possible when you are sober, but if you put alcohol inside your system, then your inhibitions are going to be lowered and willpower will go out of the window. If you could prepare some low calorie, but still tasty snacks for yourself when you get home, then you could skip the trip to the fast-food shop after a night of drinking. The same goes for the day after, make sure you have some low-calorie snacks in the fridge for that morning after the night before breakfast.
TRACK THE CALORIES
I would also make a point of recording all your drinks when you go for some drinks, it's very important to track calories if you are trying to lose weight, and especially when drinking alcohol. You could have a set amount of drinks you limit yourself to so that you can track them before you start drinking.
I normally use myfitnesspal to track drinks, it has a great feature that lets you scan barcodes into the app, which is much easier to do if you are drinking bottled drinks rather than pints. If you are drinking glasses of alcohol, whether that be in pints or otherwise, you can probably find the correct brand of drink in the app as well. Everybody carries around a smartphone these days, so try and try your drinks accurately if you can. If you forget to track them on the night, then estimate on the next day.
It's going to be hard to stick to your daily recommended intake if you are drinking alcohol, so you are going to have to burn the calories somehow. I normally burn off extra calories in the gym by waking uphill. I don’t really like running on the treadmill, but working uphill seems to work pretty well for burning extra calories.
If you were not drinking, the task of tracking calories would be so much easier. I usually have a set of food scales to hand when I cook at home. If I am wanting to lose weight, I first find out what my total daily calorie expenditure (TDEE) is using this website https://tdeecalculator.net/. I add in my height, weight and age and it comes back with what I should be consuming each day to either lose or gain weight. Using this calculator along with myfitnesspal is the way I lose weight.
You can still use your TDEE to track calories if you are still drinking alcohol, but you will see that it's going to be a lot harder to get down to your daily target if you are adding in the extra calories from drinking. If you are trying to lower your body fat percentage, then you are going to need to find out what it is before you begin. There are several ways to do this, but the measurement is not always accurate. I use an InBody machine at my gym, it uses something called a bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) body to measure my body fat. This machine is one of a few which can give you a good gauge of how close you are to your goal when it comes to weight loss and body fat.
The other machine is a DEXA scan which is normally not as common as the InBody machines. Most DEXA scans machines are in hospitals, and some people recommend them over the InBody machine for a more accurate representation of your body fat percentage.
There are many more ways to measure your body fat. Unless you are very serious about lowering your body fat and not just losing weight, then it's probably best to just use a full-length mirror to see if you are losing weight.
If you are serious about losing weight, I would personally recommend giving up alcohol. You could try only giving up until you hit your weight goal. I normally go off BMI (body mass index) charts to give me a good idea of what I should weigh. A lot of people dismiss BMI when it comes to finding your correct body weight, stating that all bodybuilders would be classed as morbidly overweight when going off BMI. Is there really that many bodybuilders that you meet on a day to day basis though?
So if you can successfully give up alcohol, you are definitely going to have more success with losing weight. This will work in many ways. Firstly, when you first give up alcohol, you will lose cravings for food when you are drinking and after you have finished drinking because your blood sugar levels will not be spiked. The second benefit you are going to have is fewer calories going into your body from the calories in the alcohol. The final reason that you will achieve your weight loss goal quicker is that you will have more motivation to go and do something else other than drinking.
I joined a gym at the same time as I decided to give up drinking. I thought firstly, I’m going to need something else to do when I’m not drinking, and what better thing to do than improve my body, rather than ruining it by drinking alcohol. Now that I have successfully quit, I have dropped about 15% in body fat and lost 20KG in weight. As well as this I've added 3KG of muscle and feel much better in general.
TRY AND DO SOMETHING ELSE OTHER THAN DRINKING
Why not suggest to your friends that rather than spending the night in the pub, go for a walk instead. I know that spending time with friends can often include alcohol, but your friends will still be your friends if you're not getting drunk together. At some point in your life, alcohol is going to become a problem if you are putting on weight by consuming it. It's going to be better in the long run if you decide to make some changes now, rather than later about changing your habits regarding drinking.
Alcohol can cause liver damage which is not something that the body is able to repair, so trying to cut back or even give up is going to extend your life and improve your mood as well. I'm not against people who want to drink alcohol, it's your personal choice to do this. If you are actively trying to lose weight, then you are making it ten times harder on yourself if you continue to add the extra calories when drinking.
Factor in all the extra calories from alcohol and then the extra calories you will get from the food that you are eating after you have a night on the town and the sums talk for themselves. To get started on your weight loss, firstly decide if you want to get to your goal sooner rather than later. It's going to be an uphill struggle to keep on drinking alcohol and lose weight at the same time. Try and make life easier on yourself by not listening to that voice inside your head which tells you that you need to drink to enjoy yourself, it's just not the case.
The next step to increase your chance of shedding those pounds is to track all your calorie intake, from drinks to food. After a few weeks of tracking calories (food and drinks), you are going to have a good idea of what your meal size should be. You won't have to keep on going to the food scales to see if you are eating too much, you will get an understanding of what a correct portion size looks like, If you are correctly weighing all your calories, then you are going to see how much more difficult it's going to be to continue drinking if you are serious about losing weight and keeping the weight off.
Do you have any tips on cutting back the calories if you are still drinking alcohol? I’d love to hear them, but for me, giving up drinking has been the one thing that has made me succeed in my weight loss goal, and now, tracking calories is so much easier.