Sometimes I’m quietly envious of people that are allergic to alcohol. I feel like if I literally had doctors’ orders stating that alcohol is quickly killing me or destroying my liver, it would be significantly easier to pass on alcohol. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Not that I overconsume, but like most people, I’m prone to a few glasses of wine over the course of the week. And these extra calories do nothing for me but add insulation to my body.
The ol’ spare tire for men and the wider hips or love handles on women is can be correlated to alcohol consumption. A single beer has over 100 calories and a glass of wine has about 125 calories. Now consider the number of drinks you might have in a week. It’s easy to see how within seven days, you’ve easily consumed hundreds if not thousands of extra calories from alcohol.
Table of Contents
Alcohol And Weight Gain
Here’s a quick breakdown of how alcohol is correlated to weight gain:
- How often you drink
- How much you drink
- What kind of alcohol you consume
- Medication that interacts with alcohol
- Genes (always play a role in weight gain)
- What you eat while and after drinking
- How much exercise you get
- Age and gender
Keep in mind this isn’t an all-inclusive list, but these factors will contribute to your weight gain.
Weight gain from alcohol is common. And it’s not always just the alcohol being consumed that causes the weight gain, but the foods you commonly consume with alcohol. Friday and Saturday night roll around and it’s easy to find yourself with a glass of wine, appetizers, and a calorie-dense dinner sitting in front of you. If 2,000 calories are your average daily allotment, getting close if not hitting that number just at dinner alone can be easily achieved.
I’m not saying this is what you eat every time you have a glass of wine, but on the weekends, with my friends, it happens frequently. Then the next morning when you wake up, you’re craving some kind of calorie-dense, caffeinated drink along with a greasy breakfast. Depending on how much you drank the night before, this calorie-dense breakfast is usually followed by some serious time on the couch. Eating a bunch of calories, with no activity to burn off the calories leads to increased bodyfat and weight gain.
And this is really what causes the weight gain. As your body is kicking your liver into overdrive, trying to process the alcohol, the food you have is being stored as fat. It’s the body’s natural reaction to process the alcohol before it processes the food.
Before you know it, you’ve consumed thousands of extra calories in a week from alcohol consumption, eating greasy junk food, and you haven’t moved a muscle.
Granted this scenario might give you a flashback to your college life, but as adults, I know people who still do this or something similar.
The worst part is, they complain that about not being able to lose weight even though they “go on 20 minute walks every day.”
The only good news about alcohol and weight gain is that it affects men more than it does women. I’m guessing this is primarily just because of the number of drinks men can consume vs women. I don’t know of many women that can drink the same amount or number of drinks that men drink.
How to Lose Weight Caused by Alcohol
There are two ways to lose weight caused by alcohol. Those are altering what you eat (and drink) along with committing to an exercise routine.
Some people like to count calories, some people like to cut carbs, others follow all sorts of “diets.” I would encourage you to do a bit of both. The good news is, once you stop drinking or significantly reduce the number of drinks you have, the weight will start to fall off. You won’t even have to do anything.
Simply consuming fewer calories will help. Soda is a great example of empty calories that people stop consuming and the weight falls off immediately. The same will go for alcohol.
Another positive effect of eliminating or greatly reducing alcohol from your intake is it will reduce the crappy food you might eat with drinking. Instead of appetizers, or calorie-dense meals, you commonly have with drinks, you can eat lean protein and vegetables instead. Also, you won’t crave that greasy calorie-dense breakfast the next morning either. So between, eating a healthier dinner and breakfast the next day, you’re avoiding thousand of calories.
Without having to do any drastic nutrition changes, reducing the number of calories from alcohol and foods, you’ll cut thousands of calories a week. This alone will provide significant weight loss and decreased body fat.
Within weeks, you’ll notice the weight loss, and it will become motivating for you. This motivation will have a compounding effect. Once you start to see real results it will motivate you to do more to lose weight or reduce your bodyfat. This brings me to my next point, exercise.
I’m actually going to keep this section pretty short because the amount of bodyfat we have on our bodies is primarily due to the food we consume. While exercise will definitely help with reducing weight and bodyfat, it takes a back seat to eating correctly.
That being said, burning calories with exercise can help prevent the body from storing food as fat cells.
Here are a few exercise ideas to get you down the path of losing weight from alcohol.
A high-intensity workout means your blood is pumping and you can only get a few words out at a time. High-intensity workouts necessitate the most exertion and you’re definitely breaking a sweat. If you’re new to exercise you’ll see the most improvement and weight loss doing a HIIT workout routine.
Taking a daily walk is an easy way to begin working out. If you’re against signing up for a gym membership, or intimidated by going to a gym, doing a daily walk or a couple of 20-30 minute walks sessions can help you get started. A brisk 30-minute walk can burn close to 200 calories. Between reducing calories and burning calories from walking, you’ll definitely start dropping pant sizes.
Intermittent fasting is just as it sounds. It’s the process of cycling between eating meals and not eating. Sounds kind of familiar right? Fasting is also called time-restricted feeding (TRF). The overarching premise of fasting or TRF is restricting the number of hours you allow yourself to consume food. The windows usually refer to 12 hours, 8 hours, 6 hours, and 4 hours.
Some people confuse intermittent fasting with forced starving. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You’re simply adjusting when you eat, whereas starving yourself says you don’t eat at all.
A lot of people use intermittent fasting to cut calories, but it also gives the body a chance to not digest food and work on repairing itself.
How Long to Lose Alcohol Weight Gain
This will depend on the person and your current calorie consumption along with how often you exercise. If you don’t really watch what you eat nor do you exercise much at all, then the change will be pretty quick and pretty significant once you start out.
One pound is about 3,500 calories. So if you’re cutting 10 beers a week (1,000 calories) and your burning 500 calories a day (7*500=3,500) you’ll easily drop a pound a week. Keep in mind if you’re eating fewer greasy calorie-dense meals which could easily be a couple of thousand calories a week, then you’re pretty easily dropping close to 10 pounds a month.
I’ve seen people stop drinking soda, and just soda. They didn’t really change any other diet plans and in a couple of months, they slimmed down. They lost weight in their face, they had to get new clothes that fit, and they were significantly happier. They did struggle at first, but after a while, dropping soda was all they needed to do to reach their weight loss goals.
Wrapping up Losing Alcohol Weight Gain
It’s not always feasible to live life like a fitness model or bodybuilder. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice food and drinks that we love. Everything in moderation along with a little bit of self-discipline and we can have a drink here and there while maintaining a healthy weight. Remember, alcohol does have calories, but it’s the food that is in your system that is being stored as fat, while your liver processes the alcohol that is causing the weight gain.