Alcohol & Metabolism: How Drinking Sabotages Weight Loss

Bartender crafting mixed drinks

You’re working out on a regular basis but still not losing weight. After partying it up with your friends on the weekend (or polishing off a bottle of wine while watching your favorite show), you can’t help thinking, could the alcohol you’re drinking be sabotaging your weight loss?

Besides adding “empty” calories, alcohol interferes with the way your body burns fat and can make it harder to lose weight.

How Drinking Alcohol May Be Sinking Your Metabolism

In addition to adding unnecessary calories to your diet, alcohol stimulates your appetite, lowers inhibitions, and contributes to dehydration, all of which can make you eat—and drink—more.

But the biggest effect of drinking alcohol, especially heavy drinking, is the way it affects your metabolism and stops your body from burning fat.

Alcohol and metabolism have a complicated relationship. Taken in moderation, alcohol has some positive health effects and can actually increase metabolism slightly as your body converts ethanol, a derivative of alcohol, into high-energy sugars.

Alcohol is actually a macronutrient with almost as many calories per gram as fat. And, drinking too much alcohol counteracts any positive health effects and “overloads” your system. Your body must stash all the extra calories somewhere, so it stores them as fat, making it harder to lose weight.

Your body views alcohol as toxic and works hard to get rid of it. Your liver, which plays a central role in burning fat for energy, is also in charge of filtering out alcohol and other toxins. And while it’s busy clearing alcohol from the blood, it’s not metabolizing carbs and fat.

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Research backs up the connection between drinking alcohol and gaining weight. 16 out of 31 studies done between 1984 and 2010 found a strong positive relationship between alcohol and weight gain. Heavy drinking causes the most weight gain, especially in men.

Bottom line: when your body gets too much of its energy from alcohol, it stores more of the total calories you consume as fat.

If you need a little help losing weight, you may want to skip that second—or third—cocktail.

Why Is It So Hard to Cut Back or Quit Drinking?

Cutting back on alcohol is easier said than done.

It’s a major part of socializing. We hang out with our friends at the bar. We drink a few beers watching the game. We have wine with our meals to improve digestion (and conversation).
Many workplaces use happy hours as a way to celebrate success.

Alcohol can also be a sign of sophistication. As experts, we know the best vintages, the smoothest single-malt scotches, and the proper glass for different beers.

Alcohol is a prominent part of almost every major celebration. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, even wakes—all involve drinking alcohol.

We drink when we’re bored or lonely. We drink to cheer ourselves up. We drink to relax. When we’re thirsty, we have a glass of wine or a cold beer instead of water.

So many facets of our lives connect with alcohol that it seems impossible to cut back.

If you want to move from over-indulgence to moderation in your alcohol intake, there’s hope. Approaches that may help include:

  • Check with your doctor. A Center for Disease Control study found that when primary care doctors ask about drinking during annual checkups, it can reduce drinking by 25% in people who drink too much.
  • Screening tools can evaluate alcohol use and give feedback on drinking levels.
  • Moderation programs that focus on mindfulness can help you get back in control.

There are many reasons you might want or need to change your relationship with alcohol:

  • You find yourself drinking out of habit or boredom and regretting it later.
  • You decide to drink less, but stress sets in and instead, you drink more.
  • You set limits and stick with them for a while, but fall back into old routines.
  • You worry about drinking and want to have better control over your thoughts.
  • You want drinking to be a decision, not a reaction.

Any or all of these are reasons to consider a mindful moderation program. Below, we review one of our favorite programs for changing your relationship with alcohol: This Naked Mind.

illustration of being overcome by thoughts of alcohol

The Mindful Way to Change Your Relationship with Alcohol [This Naked Mind Review]

Did you know that excessive drinking is at an all-time high? Social trends foster drinking. Companies use marketing and advertising tricks to manipulate our unconscious desires, which can keep us stuck. This Naked Mind helps you set goals that counteract these messages so you can drink more mindfully, or stop drinking altogether if you choose.

The unique program digs into why alcohol has become such a significant part of our lives. It explores the reasons why your unconscious desire for alcohol is undermining your decision not to drink so you can have greater control over your relationship with alcohol.

How This Naked Mind Works

This Naked Mind helps you to reclaim and maintain your personal power over alcohol.

It starts by showing you why willpower alone isn’t enough for most people to change their drinking. Instead, the program helps you apply strategies that leave you feeling happier and healthier instead of deprived.

The idea is to “trick” your brain into forgetting rituals, habits, and routines that trigger using alcohol.

This Naked Mind uses science-based research and techniques to show you how to deal with stress, boredom, and other drinking triggers. Learning when and how to tell yourself, “Now isn’t a good time to drink,” lets you find peace and feel in control without having to quit drinking.

The Benefits of This Naked Mind

This Naked Mind differs from other moderation programs in four important ways.

  1. The program works without willpower. You learn why setting limits has the opposite effect of what you want and actually makes you want to drink more.
  2. You learn the psychology and neuroscience behind your desire to drink. This rational approach helps you anticipate your desires before they become compulsions that you feel like you have to act on.
  3. The blueprint provided by This Naked Mind guides you through the process step-by-step, making the changes simpler and easier to stick with in the future.
  4. Going beyond Annie Grace’s book and audio program (This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life), This Naked Mind’s moderation program uses new, previously unpublished strategies and material learned from helping thousands of people shift their mindset and look at alcohol in a new light.

The program consists of:

  • The 28-day This Naked Mind Video Coaching Course
  • Making It Your Own, an interactive workbook
  • An 8-Module Living Naked Video Course

Bonus materials include:

  • 70+ Question and Answer Video Library (Annie Grace’s video answers to questions from program users)
  • “Advantage” bonus module, a web class with Andy and Ruari from One Year No Beer
  • “Hip Sobriety” Module that helps you negotiate your social life with less alcohol

You can test-drive the 29-day course and bonus resources for 60 days, and if it doesn’t work for you, your purchase price will be refunded.

Change Your Relationship with Alcohol for Better Metabolism and Weight Loss

Controlling alcohol intake benefits your weight loss goals by reducing calories, improving metabolism, and burning more fat.

And with the helpful modification course from This Naked Mind, there’s never been a better time to change your relationship with alcohol.

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