Sit back, relax and take a deep breath. We’re going to talk about alcohol.
Whenever I bring up the topic of drinking in my workshops, the room suddenly gets very quiet. As I share anonymous stories from clients I’ve worked with over the years – the forty year old mother who does everything right yet can’t lose weight because of her two glasses of wine every night, the young executive who drinks half her calorie allocation per day in alcohol and the hard core gym girl who every weekend puts on the weight she’s lost during the week through social drinking – I see the look on their faces– “yep that’s me”.
Maybe today this is you, maybe not – but hear me out.
Let me start out by saying, I love my glass of red, and still do. But, self-awareness is a powerful thing – how much do you really drink? Only you know.
Although I never exercised or ate right until my late 30’s, up until that point, I didn’t drink. My Christian beliefs held me back. I was afraid of losing control. I lost control all right, after my divorce when I decided to make up for lost time. Alcohol was a pain-killer and helped me let go. The party-girl was unleashed.
Backpacking solo in Central America where rum is sweet, cheap and plentiful, I became quite the shot master. Once I’d got that out of my system, I fell into a routine of enjoying a couple of glasses of wine with dinner. And this continued on into my early fitness days.
But because I obsessively scrutinized everything that was a contributing factor to my physique – I began to notice the adverse effects just one or two glasses had. My body fat slowly crept up no matter what I did and my training the next day suffered.
As much as I loved my glass of red, I knew it had to go. And this is why.
Alcohol affects women differently than men due to their body makeup and chemistry:*
• A woman’s body has more fat and less water than a man’s. When a woman drinks, the alcohol is less diluted. It becomes more highly concentrated in her blood.
• Women process less alcohol in the stomach than men. That leaves more alcohol to reach the bloodstream. The higher concentration and amount of alcohol in the blood causes women to become intoxicated faster than men.
• We don’t metabolize alcohol as quickly as men so we’re more prone to storing the excess calories as fat.
Alcohol is a toxin.
Once consumed, our body places a priority on getting it out of our system, which means our digestion and metabolism slows right down. Add in the killer-combo of unrestrained eating while intoxicated and yep, more calories stored as fat. And it’s harder for us to burn off those extra calories due to having less muscle mass than men. No wonder so many women limit their food so they can keep drinking & not gain weight.
Alcohol also has an adverse hormonal effect. It raises the levels of cortisol and adrenaline, the hormones that are released when you’re stressed. That’s why when the alcohol wears off you feel even worse than before – emotionally and physically.
No. Not all calories are created equal.
Skipping lunch and having three glasses of wine after work does not work. Full stop.
A lifestyle that includes alcohol several times a week, especially if you restrict your calories to compensate – results in a higher body fat percentage no matter what your weight and makes you more prone to cellulite.
If you’re reading this today, I know you place a priority on your health and fitness. You’ve probably exercised most of your life. You may even eat super clean. But you’d be surprised how many super fit and clean eating women still allow alcohol to undo all their hard work.
Maybe you’re a successful career woman or busy mother who needs a drink to take the edge off at the end of the day – you’re not alone. The statistics are frightening and I am not going to sprout them off here. Just look around you, amongst your friends – you know what I’m talking about here.
My heart to heart with you today is this – stop and think about your drinking.
Is it really helping you achieve the goals you want in life?
Is it taking away more than it’s giving you?
Has it slowly crept into the routine of your life to the point where it’s hard to say no?
Today this blog is written for you. You can change, you can cut back on your drinking and you can start today – you won’t look back.
If you’d like help turning your lifestyle around check out my Get Lean Program.
Imagine the incredible feeling of waking up day after day, full of energy, clear headed, being able to train harder than you ever have, feeling your metabolism firing on all cylinders and seeing your body become lean, toned and strong.
That’s all the motivation you need right there.
P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences, please leave me a comment below.