Quit Drinking Alcohol to Lose Weight: Here’s Why

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

When speaking about consuming alcohol we refer to alcoholic drinks, which include beer, wines and spirits. These wines, beers and spirits are depressants which slow the body’s responses in different ways, with a small amount perhaps making you feel more sociable but with larger amounts you may end up with a nasty hangover the next day. Over consumption of alcohol can lead to hospitalisation, comas and even death in some circumstances, so it is wise to be careful when drinking on a night out or at parties.

The alcohol content of many loved alcoholic drinks is as follows:
  • Beer  2 – 6% alcohol
  • Cider 4 – 8% alcohol
  • Wine 8 – 20% alcohol
  • Tequila 40% alcohol
  • Rum 40%  or more alcohol
  • Brandy 40% or more alcohol
  • Gin 40- 47 % alcohol
  • Whisky 30 – 50% alcohol
  • Vodka 30 – 50 % alcohol
  • Liqueurs 15 – 60% alcohol

Official guidelines state that alcohol should not be consumed until around the ages of 15- 17, with the guidance of a parent and in small amounts for special occasions. Those aged between 15 and 17 should drink no more than once per week and should never exceed the daily limits recommended for adults, trying to aim for below these ideals. For adults, or those aged over 18 years of age, guidelines are 14 units per week spread out over 3 or more days -not all in one night.

Binge-drinking is a growing problem in young people and adults, which exceeds the recommended allowances for alcohol multiple times over in one night in order to become intoxicated. Intoxication causes some individuals to become different in that they can become either loud, lary, violent,  suffer from reduced anxiety and can be stripped of their inhibitions. Although excessive drinking can lead to complications such as severe dehydration, high blood pressure, strokes, liver disease and even cancer for those unlucky enough.

Quitting drinking can not only help you to improve the health of your body, reduce the likelihood of the development of cancer and save you money it can also help those struggling with their weight to finally lose those extra few pounds or reach their goals. Alcohol is high in its calorie content meaning that for a drink which provides no nutritional value it is a pretty big factor in weight gain or plateauing for many individuals trying to lose weight. By simply cutting out alcohol from your diet you may finally see those changed you’ve been looking for in terms of your health and weight.

Many people try losing weight while still consuming alcohol, with very few being successful in doing so, here’s why:

Why you can’t lose weight while continuing to drink.

Alcohol supplies empty unnecessary calories.

The key to losing weight is to burn more calories

The key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you intake, however this becomes incredibly difficult when regularly consuming alcohol. Alcohol supplies empty calories with no nutritional benefit meaning that as alcohol is made up of sugars and carbohydrates these calories can cause weight gain for many. Furthermore, the body actually considers alcohol to be a toxin which causes the body to react accordingly. These drinks can slow down the process in which the body burns fat by producing acetate which is processed first, therefore as long as you have alcohol present within your body proper metabolistic function cannot occur. The more alcohol you consume the longer it is present within your body and the more likely you are to gain weight by consuming excess calories and preventing the correct functioning of the body.

Alcohol also dehydrates the body which causes problems such as lowered immune function, headaches and ‘hangovers’. Being dehydrated can also be confused with being hungry causing those who drink regularly to consume more as a result of being dehydrated.

Alcohol stimulates your appetite.

As previously mentioned, causing the body to become dehydrating can result in hunger like feelings to manifest and therefore increases the likelihood of you consuming ‘bad’ foods or overeating.

Alcohol not only slows down your metabolism, but actually results in a larger appetite, as well as reduces our will power to choose between healthy and unhealthy foods. There are even many reports on the internet, as well as some of my personal friends doing so, of lifelong vegetarians becoming so intoxicated that they actually turn to eating meat in a drunken decision.

Suppresses lipid oxidation.

Alcohol suppresses lipid oxidation, with non-oxidized lipids being deposited into the abdominal (stomach) region being stored as fat. Abdominal fat is the very kind that most of us are trying to target with our weight loss and can actually be dangerous when it becomes excessive. Research has even shown that for several hours after drinking vodka, whole body lipid oxidation dropped by as much as 73%.

Even though the occasional tipple or so may be acceptable, it is important to realise that consuming alcohol is mainly counterproductive to any weight loss or muscle gain goals. Therefore quitting alcohol can have brilliant effects on the way in which the body’s metabolism works, causing the system to become more effective in terms of weight loss by processing the correct substances rather than the acetate produced by alcohol.

Slows down weight loss overall.

Alcohol slows down many bodily functions such as the immune system and the metabolism, meaning even if you are exercising well and eating healthier,  your weight loss may become stunted or really slow in comparison to those who are not regularly drinking.

Encourages bad decision making.

As we previously stated alcohol encourages bad decision making which could relate to eating unhealthy foods, choosing not to sleep, getting yourself into stressful situations and choosing not to exercise. All of these bad decisions can have negative effects on a person’s weight, finances, fitness and overall health.

Repetitive bad decision making could even result in illnesses and conditions which have no cure such as diabetes or thyroid gland problems. It is wise to be aware of the effects alcohol has on your choices in life in order to determine whether or not it is a problem for yourself.

For example, bad decision making can be about various aspects of your life, not just your health, such as finances or family members. If your drinking is taking over your life, causing you to dissociate from family members and friends then this can become a big problem for many. Likewise, if you would rather choose to drink alcohol rather than buy food, pay the bills or go out with friends and family then this may be an indicator that you have an issue.

Alcohol can become addictive for many individuals. If you believe your quality of life is diminished and your bad decision making is a result of your alcohol consumption then visit your local health care provider for help, advice and treatments. Or see the Alcoholics Anonymous website for help, and an idea of what to do next.

Okay, so it’s not just all about the alcohol…

Getting a good night’s sleep.

Sleep plays an important role in the body’s physical health

Sleep plays an important role in the body’s physical health, due to being involved in the healing and repair of the heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiencies have been linked with increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Getting enough sleep helps the body in various ways to lose weight. For example, getting the correct amount of sleep stops problems such as late-night snacking. The longer that you stay awake for the more likely it is that you are to become hungry again at night and begin to snack. Research has been conducted into late-night snacking and had discovered that it can cause a weight gain of around 2 pounds per week, due to the extra consumption of late night calories.

When you have a good night’s sleep your body begins working harder to burn calories than that of a sleep-deprived individual. Studies have shown that a person who is well rested can burn up to 20% more calories after a meal in comparison to a sleep deprived person. Not only will your body be working harder to burn these calories but you personally will feel more refreshed, motivated and willing to exercise.

Sleep enough each night helps to keep your brain focused and in good working order. Those who have less focus and less sleep each night are individuals who are more likely to make bad decisions when it comes to food, favouring the unhealthy over the healthy. A sleepy brain is one that looks for convenience and ease, which many unhealthy fast food chains and microwave meals are. Whereas someone who is fully rested and not sleep deprived can consciously chose to cook a healthier alternative and more willing to do so. A Colombian study has also found that there is a difference in brain activity in sleep deprived people as opposed to rested people when responding to food stimuluses, making them more likely to make ‘bad’ food decisions.

Exercising well.

If you’re looking to maintain good muscle tone and a healthy body, exercising well is a key aspect of achieving this. Quitting alcohol can only go so far, however combined with various other healthy living factors you can achieve the results that you really desire. Aiming for around 30 minutes to an hour of exercise each day, trying to complete around 150 minutes of high cardio exercise each week, alongside two muscles training sessions.

There are various different forms of exercise you can take part in such as walking the dog, or a neighbour’s dog for them, going swimming, trying out jogging or simply cleaning your home from top to bottom hoovering and dusting!

You don’t have to pay expensive gym memberships or buy costly home gym equipment to exercise well and regularly, it can be both inexpensive and easy to do from the comfort of your own home or street.

Healthy stress levels.

Stress can cause numerous issues within the body and promote various illnesses such as anxiety, depression, lethargy and even cancers. High stress levels make us as individuals more likely to comfort eat, snack and suffer from conditions that may make weight loss hard. A stress free body is a healthier body and therefore one in which can easily and efficiently lose weight in the way that is wanted.

There are various methods designed to help relieve a person’s stress including yoga sessions, meditation, having a massage or simply partaking in your favourite hobby. My personal stress busting night starts with a nice hot bubble bath and watching a horror film with my partner!

A healthy diet.

You may want to choose to change your diet as a whole as well as cutting out the alcohol. A healthy diet is very important for those who are trying to lose weight correctly, providing the body with all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that it needs. One way to cut the calories without feeling too hungry between meals is to eat foods which will make you feel fuller for longer, such as those full with fibre such as wheats, fruits, broth-based soups and vegetables. Foods that are high in fats and sugars should obviously be avoided wherever possible, to avoid excess calorie consumption.

Final thoughts.

We hope that using this article you are now fully educated on why, when wanting to lose weight, it is important to quit drinking alcohol either completely or as regularly as you do now. We here at Balance Me Beautiful we love hearing from our readers so feel free to comment below your opinions on stopping the consumption of alcohol, and whether or not you could do it personally!

Many women and men across the world have chosen to live teetotal lives in the pursuit of healthiness, weight loss and staying fit. Those who consume alcohol are, on average, less healthy and more heavier as opposed to those who do not who also display more skills concerning self-control and awareness. If you’re looking to improve the state of your body, reduce the symptoms of an existing condition (alcohol can exacerbate many issues within the body), lose weight or simply never suffer from a hangover again, why not try it?

We always value hearing from our readers so if you have any questions regarding the website, this subject or would simply like to submit an upcoming idea for future articles please send us an email via our Contact Page submission form.

As ever, thanks for reading guys and don’t forget to see us again soon!
By Chess Taylor.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.