You sit down after a hard day at work, relax into the sofa with a sigh of relief and reach for a glass of wine. And why not? You deserve it, right? And seriously, what harm is just the one glass going to do?
At about 9pm, you look up at the clock, contemplate going to bed but you've only just sat down and you don't want to feel like all you've done all day is work... so you stay up and watch that programme you like... and pour yourself just a little more wine. And why not? you've not even eaten that much today so those extra calories are hardly gonna make a difference now are they? And seriously, what harm is one more going to do?
It's 10pm and you look at the bottle... well, you might as well have the rest of it now, it seems a shame to waste it, it won't taste the same tomorrow. And why not? It'll help you sleep, right? And seriously, what difference does it make now?
Sound familiar? Of course it does... we've all been there whatever our poison of choice - red, white, gin, vodka, beer - 'just the one' makes us feel good... we deserve it. And this is fine, why not? We should enjoy ourselves and there's nothing wrong with drinking alcohol... but if our weight loss goals have stalled, we might want to have a look at what we're drinking as much as what we're eating!
Yep, it's that word again... moderation. There's nothing wrong with a sup every now and again but moderation is the key to whether we are able to also achieve our goals.
3 things you should know about alcohol
- Alcohol has 7 calories per gram (only fat has more than this at 9 calories per gram)
- Unlike fat, alcohol has no nutrient value whatsoever
- Your body will process alcohol first
So, what does this mean?
Let's ignore the detrimental effects of long-term or excessive alcohol consumption as we're not talking about alcoholism here. For the large majority of us, our alcohol consumption becomes an issue when we're looking to lose weight as drinking alcohol will definitely slow down our efforts, and for some people it can stall completely.
The key issue here isn't just in the number of calories per gram of alcohol, it's also in the fact that your body treats alcohol as a poison so it processes it as quickly as it possibly can. Chances are you're likely to be in a calorie excess by the end of the day from all the other carbs, fats and protein you've eaten which means these will be stored as fat. Add into this the fact that you're far more likely to reach for that pizza, kebab or burger when you're drunk, the chances are you've now ruined your weight-loss efforts.
But here's the other problem. If your body isn't processing those essential macros, you're getting none of the benefits from them so it's not just fat you need to worry about it's also a lack of quality nutrition. Do this often enough and your body is going to be lacking in the vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals it needs to function. Add to that the fact that alcohol disrupts our sleeping pattern, the stress on your body is just growing and growing; more distressing than de-stressing then!
And, if that's not enough, studies have shown that people who drink more than 4 alcoholic drinks in a day, are more likely to put on 'belly fat' which is the dangerous kind of fat that poses a greater risk of heart disease. This same risk wasn't found with people who drank at more moderate levels.
So What are you saying... I should never drink alcohol again?!
Errrr, no... not a chance! That would clearly be crazy! I love a glass (or two?!) of prosecco as much as the next person! However, I will just gently direct us back to that word that keeps rearing its head: Moderation!
I know, it's not an sexy word but in some cases it may be worth paying closer attention to it. Are you struggling to reach your weight loss goals? Do you wish you had more energy? Are you wishing you could sleep better? If so, perhaps it's worth cutting back a little bit. Moderation is actually a great word because it means we can just become a little more mindful about our intake, without denying ourselves something we enjoy.
Spark Fitness is passionate about helping you become the healthiest, fittest and most confident you. Providing in-home and outdoors personal training in north Manchester and nutritional advice, find out how I can help you to spark your fitness journey without stepping foot in a gym here.