How Does Alcohol Affect Your Body Weight?
It was about 6 months ago when I read an article in some diet magazine written by some guy that admitted he had trouble with booze and the occasional drugs, linking it to the reason why he was unable to lose weight no matter what diet he was on.
Can I be honest with you? I felt sorry for guy that he had a drinking problem but the article made me wonder if he was trying to get people to join AA or trying to give the rest of us a head’s up about losing weight.
Since I’m not much of a drinker, I was torn between being offended and taking his tips to heart.
One night when we all worked late, my work buddies and I went out for dinner and the very first thing we all ordered was … (you got it!) … a drink.
We sat there blowing off steam about working late, order a second and a triple order of wings to nibble on. After about 30 -40 minutes, we were starting to relax and the conversation switched to our favorite topic – family.
All of us really love our family so it wasn’t like anyone was bitching or sniveling.
Then, we ordered a 3rd and dinner. Me?
I ordered fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy and a salad with lemon only for the dressing.
I saw that fried chicken on the menu and drooled.
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d tasted that and what goes with fried chicken better than ‘taters with gravy? Yeah, you see where I’m going with this?
Not for one minute did it cross my pea-brain that those dozen wings, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy were never on my diet.
Not once did I calculate how many calories were in one bite – never mind an entire week’s worth. I enjoyed every crumb, too!
That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks!
Ever notice when you’ve trashed the diet you’ve been loyal too for the last 6 months that it’s easier to deal with if you can blame jumping off the wall on something or someone else?
Well, it is for me. And, that’s just what I did!
My reasoning: If I hadn’t had a few drinks, I wouldn’t have wanted the wings and I wouldn’t have let that damn fried chicken persuade me that I deserved something yummy for a change.
Pay the Piper Time!
I figured that when I got up the next morning that I would probably have gained a pound and I was prepared to deal with that.
Try 5 pounds! Yeah, you read that right. I had gained 5 pounds in one night.
Suddenly, that guy with the alcohol problem came rushing back to mind.
I only had 3 drinks and managed to screw up two weeks’ worth of lost weight. What would happen if I drank every night like that?
Get out the blubber suit, folks.
How Come Alcohol Cost Me So Much?
We all know that alcohol isn’t good for you or nether for your weight – I mean it’s not like eating a nutritious lunch or anything.
But, I didn’t know:
- My body thinks alcohol is a toxin that needs to be shoved out the system as fast as possible
- My body converts the alien poison into acetate
- Since my body is in jeopardy of dying, that acetate is put on the top of the list for destruction and my body takes it to the furnace – First!
Before I go any further and in case you don’t know, your body does a night shift while you sleep.
It needs a full 7 ½ to 8 ½ hours to do the work it is supposed to do – take any excess calories, protein and sugar to the furnace, burn them off and send them to the disposal systems by morning.
Whatever is left over is labeled as fat and stored in the one place you don’t want to see it – pick your spot.
It turns out that my body is as limited as my conscious self is and can only do one thing at a time (in spite of the hype around multi-tasking which is only a way of saying that you switch from one task to another in rotation instead of prioritizing).
So, while my night crew is getting rid of the alcohol – a 10-hour process minimum – those proteins, sugars and carbs are sitting around waiting for their turn.
Time runs out when I wake up and my night staff has 2 hours of left over toxins to process. As for the proteins, carbs and sugars I ate the day before waiting so patiently in line? Their turn never comes!
All that stuff is stored as fat – in case of famine, Fat is weight that takes weeks and months to get rid of!
Here’s the Kicker!
We all know that alcohol – all forms – are crammed full of calories and scrubbed clean of nutrients.
Did you know that a small glass of wine has about 90 calories and a Pina Colada has a mere 300?
My 3 little glasses of wine came in at 270 calories so I might as well have had the Pina Colada – which I like much better!
Here’s a few more facts that should come with warning labels next to the drink menu!
- Alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to make glucose that your red blood cells need in order to carry all the messages to your brain – that explains why we don’t think clearly!
- Alcohol suppresses the hormones that tell your brain when to Stop! – stop drinking, stop eating, stop dancing on the table with a lampshade on your head …
- Alcohol slows your metabolism for 28 hours after you flushed it down your throat … remember the 10 hours that it takes for your body to remove it?
But you know what else? Instead of those 3 little glasses of wine I could have eaten any of these:
- A sloppy joe with the bun
- An 8-ounce serving of Shepherd’s Pie with the mashed potatoes
- A Wendy’s Cheesy Cheddar Burger or a Burger King Hamburger with all the trimmings!
- 6 ounce Salisbury Steak with gravy
- Baked chicken with green beans, salad and dressing
What was I thinking? I wasn’t! So, does this mean that you have to give up drinking alcohol entirely? No! No! No!
Actually, if you drink one small glass of wine – about 5 ounces – just before or with a well-balanced meal – meaning meat, veggie, salad and beverage – you’re just as likely to lose more weight than if you didn’t have that glass of wine in the first place.
The Bottom Line is This
Alcohol will cause you to feel less inhibited and that will mean you’re going to make choices and excuses that will destroy your diet.
So, the next time you go out with your friends and think about ordering that Pina Colada, order an Ooey-gooey Sloppy Joe instead because alcohol & weight loss does not get along.