1. Went over my calories
Calories in vs calories out. That’s the secret folks. In order to lose fat, you have to be in a calorie deficit. If you don’t know what a calorie deficit is, here is a video by Eric Roberts, a fitness and nutrition coach, giving you the details. There was a time when I didn’t believe this to be true. I was always looking for a quick fix and the next fad diet. The diets I chose all had one thing in common. I was able to fit alcohol into the guidelines of the diet. For example, low carb diets, I would drink zero carb drinks. I was a binge drinker, so while I would be meeting my goals by staying low carb, my calories were always over the weight loss range. With Weight Watchers, I would save up or earn points through exercise so that I could indulge in drinking on the weekends. As you could imagine, starving myself during the week so I could drink was a recipe for disaster. It was not sustainable. Hear more about why these strategies failed me in my interview on the Eric Robert’s Podcast.
2. No self control
When drinking alcohol, you lose your inhibitions. I talk about this in my blog “Why Moderate Drinking Didn’t Work for Me” There would be a tipping point where I no longer cared about my diet. The attitude became “I will just start over on Monday.” Once I reached that point not only did I continue to over consume calories with alcohol, but the greasy, fatty foods all seemed to be calling my name. I would snack with my eyes half open right before going to bed. By morning I was feeling so shitty that the only thing I wanted to do was eat more fatty and greasy foods to settle my stomach. And since the diet was off I would binge out knowing that Monday I would be restricting all over again.
3. Low energy
While a calorie deficit is the driver for fat loss, exercise, particularly strength training helps build lean muscle and healthy bones. Getting out and walking everyday also helps with cardiovascular health. These things are very important for a healthy life. But when I was a drinker I wasn’t getting adequate REM sleep which led to overeating and opting to watch Netflix on the couch all day. Also, because my body had to prioritize detoxing the alcohol out of my system there wasn’t much energy left for anything else. I was dehydrated, weak, and exhausted. This all made working out much harder to navigate.
4. Lack of interest
I never stuck to a workout program for very long. I was caught in a cycle of instant gratification with alcohol and soon I expected everything else to be instantaneous as well. Because I was usually running on fumes from the night before, I had to work extra hard to get through a workout. In turn, these workouts became torturous and it didn’t take long for me to give up. I also would give up on whatever diet I was on because I wasn’t seeing results. As I mentioned above, I wasn’t paying attention to the calories consumed. These were all things working against me solely caused by alcohol. But yet, I made every excuse to keep it in my life. When a workout program or diet didn’t seem to be working after a few weeks I would quit, binge out on alcohol and food, and then find something new to try.
5. Cortisol Levels
Why is cortisol important for weight loss? High levels of cortisol can increase appetite. Guess what makes your cortisol levels spike? Yep, Alcohol. This explains the inability to calm your hunger when you are hungover. In my blog post “Which Came First, Anxiety or Alcohol?” I talk about my personal experience with alcohol related anxiety. It was caused by my cortisol levels spiking when I would drink. Not only does it cause weight gain, but the weight seems to go right to the stomach area. In my blog post “Drinking Was a Problem for Me” I write about visceral fat and how that impacts our organ function. Not only that but according to healthline.com it also increases your chances of developing serious health conditions like heart attack, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Since I quit drinking 9 months ago I have lost a total of 15lbs. I would say I have 10-15 more lbs to go, but it has come off fairly easily. Now that I eliminated alcohol I am able to eat my calories and keep my body fueled properly. I am building muscle mass by implementing a strength training program and have adequate energy to push heavy weights. I get a good night’s sleep and my body is hydrated. The best part, I have been able to sustain this new lifestyle for 9 months. I am getting this body ready for the second half of my life. That is something alcohol would never let me do.
Your’s Truly Sober,