A Nutrisystem Journey: Can You Drink Alcohol And Still Lose Weight?
Many health experts have indicated the possibility of a single alcoholic beverage per day promoting lower blood pressure, but what if you are trying to lose weight? Can you drink a few alcoholic beverages and still lose weight?
Alcohol is Used By the Body First
When you do not have alcohol in your system, your body will take energy from the calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins as they are slowly digested in your stomach. When you drink, the alcohol does not need any digestion time, and can diffuse through your stomach wall just as soon as it arrives — reaching your brain and liver within a few minutes of drinking it. The liver will focus 100% of it's attention on processing the alcohol, so any carbohydrates, glucose or dietary fats in your body, or consumed while drinking alcohol, are immediately changed into body fat rather than used for energy.
Because of how alcohol is metabolized in the system, you don't even have to overeat in order for it to sabotage your weight loss goals — although that is another problem with alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the less inhibitions you have, and you could be snacking away without a thought! Alcohol stimulates your appetite, and that combination of hunger and reduced willpower is never a good combination for people trying to lose weight.
Can You Skip Meals to "Save" Calories to Drink Later?
Most people know if they're going out later in the day for a few drinks, and when you're dieting you may think you'll just save some of your calories by eating less, in exchange for a few drinks later in the day. This isn't the best idea! First, you will go to the party, friends' house or bar hungry and be tempted to munch on the snacks available. Drinking on an empty stomach only helps your body metabolize the alcohol faster, therefore moving anything you already had in your stomach digesting into body fat quicker. If you're planning on a few drinks later, eat healthy throughout the day. You'll be fuller, which might keep you from drinking too much, and that should make it easier to skip the snacks. Instead of "saving" calories throughout the day to enjoy drinks later, just increase your exercise to balance out the additional calories from the beverages.
Two weekends ago, I had two drinks with alcohol in them. I didn't alter from my meal plan at all otherwise. I also didn't snack while drinking. Two days after the drinks, my weight had increased 3.5 pounds. I call this alcohol sabotage!
Friday Weigh-in: November 12th
November 12th marked my 12th day on Nutrisystem. Even with my alcohol gain from the weekend before, I lost a total of 9 pounds. So far, the weight loss has been a result of the change in eating habits because I have not yet been able to incorporate any extra exercise into my schedule than what I was already getting prior to starting Nutrisystem. This week, I hope to visit the gym or walk two extra days — bringing my grand total of exercise up from one hour a week to three hours a week, in an effort to accelerate weight loss a bit more. I am quite happy with the rate at which I am losing weight; however, I think increasing exercise will make it possible to enjoy a drink or two, or maybe a small snack off-plan once in awhile without such a noticeable weight gain!
You can follow my overall experience and progress weekly here at HealthyTheory.com. If you want a more detailed, day-to-day account of the challenges and successes I experience as a single-mom-business-owner on Nutrisystem, you can follow along at BestOnlineWeightLossProgram.com, or @debbiedragon on Twitter.
Nutrisystem is providing their program free of charge for my participation in the Nutrisystem Nation Blogging Program, but the views expressed in these blog posts are my own.