Alcohol and weight loss – can it be done?

Firstly, I’ll be honest – I enjoy a good pinot grigio as much as the next middle-ish-aged suburban Australian woman. But I also know that if I’m going to achieve my goals, I need to keep the white wine to a minimum. For personal reasons, I also avoid drinking at home and during the week, and try to keep the wine as a special weekend treat.

So how much alcohol can you drink if you’re trying to lose weight and improve your fitness? That all depends on how much weight you want to lose. If you’re really serious about losing weight, you’ll need to cut back. I’m not saying you need to cut it out completely, because one or two glasses of vino on the weekend isn’t going to make a huge difference overall, and you may as well enjoy a good glass of wine with your friends – life is short, after all!

Remember though that alcoholic drinks usually always contain high amounts of sugar, and very few nutritional benefits. There’s also the hangovers, and nobody likes those.

Consider these numbers:

  • 1 glass of red wine (125ml) = 85 calories
  • 1 glass of champagne = 90 calories
  • 1 glass of a sweet white wine = 110 calories
  • 1 bottle of dry cider (375ml) = 161 calories
  • 1 lager (250ml) = 110 calories

Now consider that to burn 100 calories, on average you’d have to walk 15 minutes at a pretty brisk pace. And with every glass of wine or beer you down, that walk gets longer and longer. How far are you willing to walk to make up for those drinks? Okay, some days you might be willing to walk to Mount Everest and back. But how likely is that to happen?

The other thing to remember about drinking alcohol is that it dehydrates you. The hormone in your body that’s used by the body to reabsorb water – the anti-diuretic hormone – is depleted by alcohol, and so you lose more fluid than usual through peeing. You know the feeling – you hit the wines and hold off as long as you can, but before you know it you’re joining the massive queue for the ridiculously small number of female toilets available (seriously, who designs these toilets?). We used to call it ‘breaking the seal’ … but that’s another story for another day.

Then there’s the whole drinking-to-excess thing, causing vomiting, which also obviously results in further dehydration.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that if you are prone to bouts of depression or anxiety, you should really steer clear of alcohol as it’s a complete downer.

The short story is – you won’t get any nutritional benefit from drinking alcohol, and it will contribute to weight gain. But remember, it’s also about being realistic and enjoying life. Everything in balance!


This blog is a short excerpt of my new ebook that will be coming out this year! Stay tuned…

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