How To Lose Weight Without Giving Up Alcohol

How To Lose Weight Without Giving Up Alcohol

Booze and weight loss don’t usually mix as seamlessly as vodka and club soda. There are various reasons why drinking too much alcohol can impede weight loss, but there are three keywords there: too much alcohol. There’s no reason you can’t enjoy a few drinks while powering towards your health goals, as long as you tap into some useful strategies. Here, experts explain how to lose weight without going cold turkey.

Hold up. Why exactly does drinking alcohol make it harder to lose weight in the first place?

As wonderful as it can be, alcohol is calorically dense. Although alcohol has seven calories per gram, which is less than fat’s nine, carbohydrates and protein only have four calories per gram each, Ashvini Mashru, R.D., L.D.N., author of Small Steps to Slim, tells SELF. That’s part of why a few seemingly simple drinks can rack up hundreds of calories. When you add mixers on top of that, a cocktail’s calorie count skyrockets.

You may have heard that alcohol messes with your metabolism. While that’s true, it’s nothing to freak out about. “Because your body cannot store alcohol, it becomes a priority in the metabolic process,” Christopher D. Still, D.O., director of the Geisinger Obesity Institute, tells SELF. In turn, that slows your body’s lipolysis, or breakdown of fats, and your body’s digestion of other nutrients like carbs and protein. But putting those processes on the back burner doesn’t automatically translate into weight gain. There are multiple biochemical pathways for metabolism, so your body can still handle things like fat and carbs even when it’s working on alcohol. It just won’t do it as efficiently. “Alcohol slows down the rate [at which you digest nutrients], but it doesn’t stop it, and those nutrients will still get processed in the same way,” says Still. While that’s something of a relief, alcohol’s calorie count—especially when combined with mixers—can still make it harder to reach weight-loss goals.

OK, then how is it possible to drink and still lose weight?

The beauty of long-lasting weight loss is that it’s rooted in moderation. “Most people can lose weight and still have a drink or two here or there,” Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Nutrition Starring You, tells SELF. The first step is evaluating how much you already imbibe, then determining if simply decreasing it a bit might do the trick. “If you’re drinking two glasses of wine each night, cutting it down to one can help you see some results,” says Harris-Pincus.

Booze and weight loss don’t usually mix as seamlessly as vodka and club soda. There are various reasons why drinking too much alcohol can impede weight loss, but there are three keywords there: too much alcohol. There’s no reason you can’t enjoy a few drinks while powering towards your health goals, as long as you tap into some useful strategies. Here, experts explain how to lose weight without going cold turkey.

Hold up. Why exactly does drinking alcohol make it harder to lose weight in the first place?

As wonderful as it can be, alcohol is calorically dense. Although alcohol has seven calories per gram, which is less than fat’s nine, carbohydrates and protein only have four calories per gram each, Ashvini Mashru, R.D., L.D.N., author of Small Steps to Slim, tells SELF. That’s part of why a few seemingly simple drinks can rack up hundreds of calories. When you add mixers on top of that, a cocktail’s calorie count skyrockets.

You may have heard that alcohol messes with your metabolism. While that’s true, it’s nothing to freak out about. “Because your body cannot store alcohol, it becomes a priority in the metabolic process,” Christopher D. Still, D.O., director of the Geisinger Obesity Institute, tells SELF. In turn, that slows your body’s lipolysis, or breakdown of fats, and your body’s digestion of other nutrients like carbs and protein. But putting those processes on the back burner doesn’t automatically translate into weight gain. There are multiple biochemical pathways for metabolism, so your body can still handle things like fat and carbs even when it’s working on alcohol. It just won’t do it as efficiently. “Alcohol slows down the rate [at which you digest nutrients], but it doesn’t stop it, and those nutrients will still get processed in the same way,” says Still. While that’s something of a relief, alcohol’s calorie count—especially when combined with mixers—can still make it harder to reach weight-loss goals.

OK, then how is it possible to drink and still lose weight?

The beauty of long-lasting weight loss is that it’s rooted in moderation. “Most people can lose weight and still have a drink or two here or there,” Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Nutrition Starring You, tells SELF. The first step is evaluating how much you already imbibe, then determining if simply decreasing it a bit might do the trick. “If you’re drinking two glasses of wine each night, cutting it down to one can help you see some results,” says Harris-Pincus.

 

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