Here at our personal training studio in the Lakeville/Burnsville/Apple Valley area many of our personal training and group training clients have major weight loss goals but into one big hurdle. ALCOHOL.
“What’s wrong with having a few drinks? There are studies that say alcohol can be good for your health. ” You might say.
Here’ the deal. The last thing I want to do is take something someone likes away but my job is to get my personal training clients results not lie to them so they feel good about doing something that sabotages their efforts. To me that is lack of integrity on my part.
“You might not always like what I tell you but I’ll always tell you the truth.” I tell them.
So why is alcohol so bad for people trying to lose weight and get healthier?
Here are the reasons why.
1.Excess calories. Alcohol is 7 calories per gram but unlike carbs, proteins, and fats it is really not a macro nutrient it is just putting empty calories into your body. Each beer can be 60-250 calories depending on what you are drinking. So if you are having a few brewskis eah night you can be adding up to 500 extra calories per day excess. On the flip side cutting 500 calories out per day will yield an extra pound of fat loss per week. What about wine and hard liquor? Wine is 50-125 calories per glass and hard liquor can be up to 200 calories and add in your sugary mixer with let’s say a margarita and you can have up to 150 calories or more with a lot of sugar.
2.)Blood sugar instability-Drinking booze creates an environment similar to eating a high carbohydrate meal and lowers blood sugar making you feel hungry. Why do you think Perkins and Dennys are packed on Friday and Saturday nights. Remember we’ve addressed this over and over unstable blood sugar program your body to store fat and makes virtually impossible to burn it.
3.)Liver stress-One of the liver’s main roles is fat metabolism. When you put alcohol into your system it forces the liver to basically shut down the fat metabolizing switch and turn on the detox/processing switch.
4.)Poor sleep. Sleep is important for recovery for workouts and the everyday stress of life. Alcohol affects valuable REM sleep we need to recharge our brains and our bodies. Plus when your lack quality sleep Ghrelin levels raise this is the hormone that tells you your hungry adding more cravings. Not good for trying to stay on your eating plan. So having that drink before bed to relax is hurting not helping you.
5. Neurotransmitter disruption. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that are important to keep you mentally sharp, focused and motivated. When you consume alcohol it inhibits the response of these powerful chemicals. So now you know why you might feel lazy and unmotivated after a night of tying one on. This will also affect your ability to push yourself in your workouts.
There you go five reasons not to drink. Personally you have to decide what is more important. Is having a few drinks to appease your friends more important than conquering your goal? Is that glass of wine more important than looking your best and feeling good about yourself at the beach this summer? You have to decide but if you think you can get result and drink alcohol regularly quit lying to yourself. If you are truly serious you will severely limit or ditch the booze.
If you are going to drink limit it to once per week and follow these guidelines:
- Consider low calorie or calorie free mixers. Request soda water, diet soda or light fruit juices that may only contain up to a few calories per serving.
- Budget your calories. If you’re on a diet, you might want to substitute a nutrient sparse, sugary cheat snack with a drink later in the day/week. By no means should you exchange entire meals or a day’s worth of eating for a night of binge drinking
- Before you embark on your night of drinking, be sure to eat a balanced meal to slow the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol. Also, eating beforehand will provide a sense of satiety that may prevent overconsumption through rapid drinking.
I’ll leave you with this. Sometimes we get bummed thinking we miss out on social stuff and fun but this quote really sends it home. “The pain of discipline now is far less than the pain of regret later.”