Nutrition3 Reasons Why Alcohol is Bad for Weight Loss

March 15, 2022by Mike Phoutrides0

If you’re a current or former client of Cornerstone Weight Loss and just read the title of this blog post you’re probably very confused right now, if not pissed off.

You’re confused -and maybe pissed- because you were told that you can drink alcohol and still be in an effective weight loss program. To those of you who have worked with Cornerstone Weight Loss and achieved your weight loss goals while having the occasional drink, then you most likely know there’s more to this blog post than the title leads you to believe.

Before we begin, this is mostly an opinion piece and has little to do with the mechanisms in which alcohol affects your body. This is more of a pragmatic way to look at how much involvement alcohol ought to have in your effective weight loss program. 

Additionally, if you want a breakdown of how to treat alcohol while tracking macronutrients, please go here.

First things first

First things first, if you didn’t already realize from the first couple of paragraphs, drinking alcohol and weight loss are not mutually exclusive. There are many former clients who will agree that as long as you account for the alcohol consumed and remain in a caloric deficit (expending more energy than you consume), weight loss is a sure-thing.

In order for you to have the right context, it seems best to show you the caloric density of a few different alcoholic beverages. 

*Side Note: in order to be the most conservative, only the lower-calorie options will be shown.

Tequila: 1.5 ounces = 70 Kcal (calories)

Light Beer: 12 ounces = 100 Kcal

Wine (Pinot Grigio) 5 ounces = 120 Kcal

As you can see, adding one or two alcoholic beverages can be managed while staying on track to achieve your weight loss goals, but one bad night or two could certainly get you off track in a big way.

100-200 calories can be shaved off breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner to account for one or two Friday night drinks.

1000-2000 calories will find a hard time sneaking in anyone’s daily budget to account for a weekend bender! 

The challenges with trying to get to your weight loss goal while indulging in alcohol will be discussed in this blog post. Much of the difficulty, as you will soon read, comes down to the individual.

Let’s get to work!

Some people just can’t stop at one or two alcoholic drinks

This is sounding judgmental already. 

Some people have every intention in the world of getting to the bar and having only one or two drinks. They even go so far as to tell the bartender to cut them off after their limit is reached. 

These tactics have some obvious holes in them and it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to think of a few extra moves that can be made in order to get around those seemingly weak barriers.

You don’t need a scholarly article to understand that the more you drink, the less inhibited you are. One alcoholic drink seems to beget more alcoholic drinks. 

This is not complicated to understand when you’re sober, but as you become more and more inebriated, the longterm vision for your weight loss plan takes a back seat to the immediate fun you’re having in the current moment. 

It is for this reason that it is recommended to just put drinking on hold during the time you really want to get serious about your weight loss goals. 

What is the point of all the time, effort, and money you have put into your effective weight loss program if you’re just doing to throw it all away for a night you probably won’t remember anyway?

If you need to drink alcohol on a regular basis, you’re probably not serious about your goals

OK, this is really sounding like pissing you off is the mission of this blog post.

In order to help this section be a little more digestible, I’ll use myself as the example.

When I used to drink, I used to drink heavily. I drank to get drunk. I was a full-blown alcoholic, though, in the past, I would only ever admit it in jest. 

On a near daily basis, I would set off to the bar and promise to only have one or two drinks, knowing I was lying to myself and others. I would usually have at least ten drinks and get extremely drunk, however a funny thing used to happen the more inebriated I became.

As the drinks flowed, so did my ideas. In fact, the amount I used to talk about my goals and dreams was in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol I consumed.

Honestly, how close to home is this hitting for some of you?

The fact is this: the distance from not-knowing to knowing is small, but the distance from knowing and doing is huge.

The problem with drinking alcohol is that it has a peculiar effect on inhibition. It seems to release you from your short term inhibitions that, ironically, are the things that get you to your longterm goals.

Drinking alcohol destroys the inhibitions that are there to safeguard your future from inhibition.

It’s dark humor at its best, and, I’m sorry, no one is immune to this.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. Proverbs 20:1 (KJV) 

In very simplistic terms, alcohol turns you into a talker, not a doer.

When I was drinking alcohol I talked all night about the weight I was going to lose, the degrees I was going to get, the businesses I was going to start, on and on…

All talk, no do.

Learn from this blogger’s stupidity and let the drink alone for the time you’re on your effective weight loss program. Learn to better understand how food affects your body in a common sense way and get into control of how you look. After that, if you still want to drink alcohol, that’s your choice.

Drinking alcohol makes it more difficult to accurately track your weight

In order to let you cool down from some of the truth bombs you just read, this last point of why alcohol is bad for weight loss goes back to the mission of Cornerstone Weight Loss.

Working with Cornerstone Weight Loss will help you better understand how food affects your body in a common sense way that will put you in control of how you look. Part of that consists of the educational process of visually understanding how the food you eat affects your unique body by comparing your weight today to what you ate yesterday. 

For a free breakdown of where you stand metabolically, as well as a sample of what the previous paragraph described, click here (Scroll down, and wait for the pop-up). 

As you learn to watch the food you eat and see your weight on the scale every morning, you begin to truly grasp what an actual caloric deficit is and that you don’t need any magical tricks (detoxes, cleanses, purges, pills, powders, injections, etc) in order to achieve your weight loss goals. Additionally, you’ll begin to understand that there are no foods to fear and/or totally avoid.   

For example, do you need chocolate everyday in order stay on track for your weight loss goals?

Check, you can have it.

The issue with alcohol and your weight loss, however, is two-fold:

  • Drinking alcohol inhibits the breakdown of nutrients into usable molecules by decreasing enzyme creation of major organs. Check it out.
  • Drinking alcohol promotes dehydration and abnormal fluid retention. Check it out.

First, when you’re on an effective weight loss program and you are efficiently utilizing resistance training using the conservative incorporation of exercise, you will be intentionally breaking down your skeletal muscle. By ingesting the proper macronutrients such as protein, you are promoting the repair of that skeletal muscle. This requires more energy and therefore increases your caloric deficit (helping you get closer to your weight loss goal) with the added positive effect of increasing your lean body mass. 

When you drink alcohol your whole body seems to be affected, especially your kidneys. One of the biggest roles your kidneys play for your survival is fluid regulation. More specifically, these organs seem to help regulate the fluid that surrounds your cells called the extracellular fluid (ECF). Within the ECF, as well as inside your individual cells, are tightly controlled concentrations of electrolytes that help balance total water concentration, among other very important functions. 

*Side note: there is plenty of joking around about drinks that have electrolytes in them because of a certain popular comedy, however this is where the balance of electrolytes is very important.

It looks like alcohol plays a role in inhibiting (blocking) your body’s natural, hormonal, anti-diuretic response and causes a great deal of water loss in the form of dilute urine. This is why you pee quickly after drinking alcohol and more frequently as you continue to consume it. As you continue to lose this dilute urine from your system, the concentrations of electrolytes fall out of balance. This causes abnormal fluid retention and dehydration.

Leaving aside the potential medical issues that come with abnormal fluid retention and dehydration, these are huge problems for your weight loss journey. Getting your body into this imbalance ends up giving you wildly inaccurate body weight measurements for many days as your body works to regulate itself. Without an accurate body weight measurement you are essentially flying blind in your weight loss program. You and your weight loss professional will not have enough information to make a positive step forward until after your fluids are back to normal. Depending on how far you went with the alcohol consumption, you will be forced to sit on the sidelines for three days to a week as your body regulates. After that, another one to three day assessment ought to be made to make sure what your current weight loss program is still creating the caloric deficit that is required for you to achieve your weight loss goals.

Let’s review

It seems like this blog post is trying to steer you away from alcohol. It looks like if you have come to that conclusion by reading and absorbing the philosophy and the facts surrounding alcohol and your weight loss program, it may be the right route for you.

From many previous clients as well as collaborating with other effective weight loss professionals, three reasons why alcohol is bad for weight loss are:

  • Some people have a hard time consuming alcohol in moderation
  • Drinking alcohol seems to remove the seriousness needed to undertake life’s most difficult challenges 
  • Drinking alcohol makes it very difficult for you and your weight loss professional to accurately track your body weight

At Cornerstone Weight Loss we help you better understand how food affects your body in a common sense way that will put you in control of how you look. In order to get in touch with a professional who can help tailor your weight loss plan to you, click below, fill out the information, and a member of the Cornerstone Weight Loss team will reach out to you to get the results in weight loss you deserve. 

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Cornerstone Weight Loss is a leading health and nutrition training company that helps people better understand how food affects their body in a common sense way that puts them in control of how they look, forever.
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