The Truth About Alcohol: A Heart to Heart

by Belinda on March 25, 2016

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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 working Mom who eats well but needs her two glasses of wine at night to “take the edge off the day”, the stressed executive who eats less so she can drink more 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.

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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 (especially around our tummy).

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.

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If you’d like help turning your lifestyle join my 90 Day Get Lean Program for Women.

Why?

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.

Bel

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* Effects of Alcohol on Women  www.drugfree.org.au

P.S.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences, please leave me a comment below.

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Keanda June 3, 2017 at 9:47 am

I have been with my partner a year and he loves to share a bottle of red with me every evening and two bottles on a Friday, Saturday night. I have put on lots of weight especially on my tummy. I lack in energy every day and can’t be bothered to exercise. I used to be a Zumba Instructor but now lost my mojo. I live in Spain and like going out socially for a meal and drinks on a weekend too but if trying to not drink wine what else can I have? I have been advised to drink white spirits and low calorie coke or tonic(I hate tonic) even if you decide not to drink alcohol, what can you drink in a bar? Then of course there are the Indian, Chinese, Italian restaurants. Must one stay in on a weekend?

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Belinda June 3, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Hi Keanda, I’ve spent time in Spain and I understand the drinking culture. I think there are two aspects to this. The drinking at home in a environment that’s easier to manage – and then social drinking. My philosophy is manage what you can (at home) and then give yourself more leeway when socializing. Leeway meaning, stop at two drinks. Drink water in-between. People will assume you’re drinking. Or just sip your wine and drink half a glass. Most won’t notice. At the bar, sparkling mineral water is great with lemon as an alternative or lemon, lime and bitters. You can also order a mojito and after one drink go back to the bar, add more ice and fill the glass up with water. I hope these tips help. The key is if you moderate your drinking when you can you’ll probably find you drink a lot less than you are currently. Big hug! XO

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Titi January 13, 2017 at 9:21 am

This absolutely hit home as it describes me as well. I think that also with the recent discussions about how red wine in moderation can be a health benefit, i gave myself permission to abuse it and use it to channel emotions the wrong way.

New year and a new me with new beginnings and new approaches. I will make the change.

Thank you Bel for sharing this great information.

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Belinda January 13, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Hi Titi!! So happy to hear this resonated with you. Yes the health benefits of the antioxidants can create a misperception – well done on committing to this change. I am excited to follow your progress on Get Lean!! Hug, Bel XO

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Katie January 1, 2017 at 4:27 pm

This describes me, i drink about 4 bottles of wine a week and exercise and eat pretty well. I know I am undoing all my good work with bad but it really helped reading this to confirm. 2017 will be different!

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Belinda January 1, 2017 at 5:16 pm

Hey Katie, so awesome to hear you’re going to moderate your drinking and make 2017 a GREAT year!! XOXO

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Julie L November 1, 2016 at 4:52 am

Hi, I didn’t drink alcohol for 28 days and didn’t lose weight and didn’t feel any real difference but what I did see was the change in my heart rate on my Fitbit. I know they aren’t the most reliable but it did show my bpm drop from 68 to 59 over the month. I drank on Friday last week and heart rate now back up to 63. It worries me that just one night of alcohol makes this difference😞

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Belinda November 1, 2016 at 3:14 pm

Hi Julie, the benefits are cumulative…..and well done on taking that break. The key thing is listening to your body and focusing on your wellbeing. The extra toxins in the alcohol take their toll on our health over time. Everything in moderation! XO

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Stephanie September 21, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Hi I love all the updates on health this is really useful, I just want to add that i am half mediteranean, my family make wine and as a young child was given a glass of red wine once a week usually mixed with lemonade at the weekend. I am in my 50’s and I am more or less the same weight as I was at 20 maybe a few pounds heavier no more I have never been overweight and have always kept very fit and active I empathise with those of you struggle with weight and think alcohol does not help or is causing your weight gain. Lifestyle has alot to do with weight gain I drink 3 glasses of wine a week work out 6 days out of seven and there are alot of benefits to drinking red wine as long as you are not drinking 3 bottles a week, red wine is proven to be beneficial to your heart and has anti oxidant properties if you totally give up a glass of wine or two I am sure you could be causing more stress it has been said by scientists that a glass of red wine a day is beneficial /medicinal for the heart I think there is too much hype about alcohol if you have a problem with alcohol then that is different you need help but if you do not have a problem with alcohol then enjoy in moderation.

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Belinda September 21, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Hi Stephanie, thanks for sharing your story!! Three glasses of wine a week together with healthy eating and exercise is fine. It’s when that sneaks up to daily drinking or more days drinking than not that I often find there are health implications. And of course balance in everything including healthy eating and exercise. In my experience most women know whether or not they need to cut back…and this blog is some encouragement for those that do :) Thank you for sharing!! Bel XO

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Wanda September 20, 2016 at 10:21 am

I have just turned 40 and weigh more than I did when I was full term pregnant with my last child. I am carrying so much weight in saddle bags, love handles and my belly but its everywhere else too and I don’t like it. I live in an environment where drinking is very social, I am also in a routine of having a couple of drinks at home of an evening. I need to stop and your blog has popped up at the right time. Really hoping I can make some changes, I’m not happy in myself and I have four young children who need a happy, healthy mum. Thanks for this informative blog.

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Belinda September 20, 2016 at 3:25 pm

Hi Wanda, you’re not alone and well done on recognizing this needs to change. It’s very easy for too many drinks to creep up into our daily schedule…and it affects our weight, sleep, moods, skin and energy – just to name a few. All the best and please keep me updated how you’re going!! Bel XO

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Danielle July 27, 2016 at 7:46 pm

I somehow landed on your website, looking desperately for help to lose the weight that perimenopause is putting on – I am only 38 years old. I love my red wine. Red wine and coffee are my two vices. My only ‘sins’. I have one (large) glass of red wine most days. I have gone weeks without any wine, but did not notice a difference at all in my weight or in how I felt. How long would it take to truly see the difference in my body or in how I feel?

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Belinda August 2, 2016 at 1:51 am

Hi Danielle, I usually find women start feeling the seeing the differences are a few days – at the most a week. Could you please message me via my Help Desk so I can find out a little more about your eating and exercise and why the scale may not be moving for you? Talk soon! Bel XO

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Jeni August 2, 2016 at 10:32 am

Hi Danielle… I have cut alcohol out of my diet for 6.5 weeks now and have been noticing dramatic changes! I’ve now lost 10 Lbs! It seems after the first 2 weeks the weight then just started to fall off, and is continuing to do so! I once new a guy we cut out alcohol and lost 35 Lbs within a year… The crazy thing is that I am a student during the day and work in the evenings and have no time for exercise. ( I am usually very active, but being in my last month of my coarse I am very busy! I stumbled on Belinda’s site as well, read this blog and it’s really helped me stick with not drinking. I feel like I really resonate with what Belinda is about as I Am 42 years old and she is such an inspiration! One of the tools I use is that I drink Kambucha in a wine glass instead of wine in social situations. This relieves any peer pressure, or feelings of being left out. The Kambucha is so delicious and super nutritious for your gut, that I feel good about putting something good into my body!
I also eat very healthy being a nutrition student, and this helps as well! I can’t imagine what my body and mind will transform to once school is over and I start exercising in September! ( gonna try HIIT as per Belinda’s recommendation, she has an awesome blog about this too!)
Good luck and stay strong! You can do this!
❤️Jeni xx

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Jeni June 21, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Very helpful at a time when I’ve just decided to give up alcohol as its not good for me! Especially as it is contradictive to my studies and new direction I am taking in a career in holistic nutrition! Thank you Belinda, I am on a mission to fill my mind with more information like this to validate, educate and support myself and this decision! ?
Jeni

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Belinda June 21, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Hi Jeni, great to hear and well done!! You’ll really noticed the difference on so many levels…energy, sleep, fitness and weight loss. Please keep me updated on how you’re going and all the best with your studies and new career :) Bel XO

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Tracey June 2, 2016 at 7:47 am

I appreciate the reminder and so hard to give up cocktails,wine when everyone encouraging it ..seems the norm these days! I put on at least 20 after divorce..stress also keeps me wanting take edge off. I believe in addition coffee raises cortisol and the vicious cycle of coffee,wine morning night hurts women. Years ago I gave up both and dropped like 30 lbs. anyway thx for the reminder:)

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Belinda June 21, 2016 at 4:06 pm

My pleasure Tracey, I am sure many women can relate to your experience. There is a lot of social pressure around alcohol. And it’s easy to use it to relieve stress and emotional pain. But there are far healthier ways! One step at a time in the right direction. Big hug, Bel XO

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Mary D Thompson May 8, 2016 at 4:44 pm

Thanks for the information and inspiration. This explains everything! Although I was told it had an effect, I did not think it was such a big one. I love my wine, love my vodka and love my bourbon….. but will cut way back to fight the cellulite and body fat.

Mary D

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Belinda May 8, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Hi Mary, my pleasure :) I’m very happy to hear you’re going to cut back! Please let me know you’re going. I think you will be quite surprised how great you feel and the changes with your body. Bel xo

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Tamme May 2, 2016 at 5:38 pm

I’m not a wine drinker, and while I have gone thru periods of heavier drinking in my past (7-10 margarita a night). Now I just don’t drink, with one exception. Each year we go on a cruise. I limit myself to one drink a day, however I also am not watching my diet during this time either. Would it be of great benefit to forgo the alcohol and perhaps drink virgin drinks for the “cruise experience”?

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Belinda May 8, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Hi Tamme, good question. I am a firm believer in balance in all things. Enjoying your cruise, a glass off wine and good food in this context is perfectly fine and healthy and won’t affect your big picture results :)

Hug, Bel XO

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Ashley April 30, 2016 at 8:43 am

If you still love red wine, when do you have it? I know my wine consumption is the culprit, I eat clean, lift weights 4 times a week and do cardio 4 or 5 times a week and cannot lose weight. If I eat one meal that isn’t perfect (which i should be able to afford with the amount of exercising I do) I gain 2 lbs. Very frustrating

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Lynn March 27, 2016 at 8:10 pm

Excellent article. I knew it, but needed to really “hear” it. I cannot get this weight off. I also consume too much red wine. Thank you.

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Belinda March 28, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Hi Lynn! I understand….it’s common to know things deep down but “hearing it” really helps us move from a thought into action :)

All the best with making these positive changes – you CAN do it!

Bel xo

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Kathy January 30, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Fantastic blog, I am guilty of slipping into the routine of drinking a glass of wine most nights with food and to help me relax. I’ve trained/ate clean 14 years however wine is my vice. I decided to have 4 weeks without alcohol in the new year. I felt amazing full of energy full of life and no depression/anxiety. The other day I decided to have “a few” turned into over a bottle and the next day I was full of anxiety and paranoia. The positives of no drink far outway the ones for drinking. I have been on HRT following cancer treatment (from being 24 years old) and I believe drink effects me far worse than ladies without HRT / hormonal problems. So I’ve decided to just have the odd glass of wine in the future and focus on being happy rather than masking my unhappiness with a bottle of wine. Thanks for your blog and all the best. Kathy xx

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Belinda January 30, 2016 at 5:25 pm

Hi Kathy, thank you for posting your experience and encouraging others reading this blog. It’s really easy for that glass of wine (or two) to slip in at night, every night. I am over the moon to hear you had 4 weeks alcohol free!! Congratulations and great work. I agree that hormonal changes make you more alcohol sensitive. Just another reasons to go easy :)

There are so many other ways to comfort and nurture ourselves (and deal with emotional pain and unhappiness) which have positive health benefits: a massage or facial, a warm shower with a lovely aromatherapy body wash or exfoliant, a nature walk, time in the garden, buying and reading a good book, gentle stretching/yoga/pilates while listen to your favorite music…anything that is reenergizing your spirit to make you feel good about yourself.

Sending you a big hug of encouragement and thanks for posting! Bel xo

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Anne weimer February 5, 2015 at 3:24 am

Found u on Facebook UR picture now sports my cover foto. I will never look like you but at 47 and 5’1″ isn’t easy. I was in top notch shape in 09 had a horrible accident on wY to work. 3rd shift layed for 3 mnths in hospital. List so much of wat I had and no motivation to get it back and reAsons for that are I can say it now is alcohol. My mother murdered In 2005. Single mother of 3 I am oldest 28 youngest 15 and 3 grandkids. I found UR page and I’ve been in rehab over a year now thru the military where I work and I want it more n more NOW!!! After some legAl issues in 2014 it’s time to stay focused and I wNn do it. Worked as a sheet metal mechanic since I was 18. It’s a mans world but I’m good. Just now not as good since the accident!!! I have a few xtra pounds. All in the belly. My legs are tough. Bein 5’1″ isn’t easy but I still have great muscle tone in my arms. Sorry if rambling my thing is UR program doesn’t just come in mail it says u hafta download and do that way. Please tl me how hard that is. I think with some motivation it will help. And I will tell you the alcohol is a no no. For me anyway. I have another chance and I know I can do it I’m just lil weary of the way UR program comes. Workin for military we are given free gym memberships if we wNt. I have one is UR program designed for use of a gym or all at home. Ok l close for now. Anxious to hear back. Thanks and you look amazing!!!

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Belinda February 9, 2015 at 5:48 pm

Hi Anne, I apologize for the late reply, I was away on a short surf trip. I am so sorry to hear about all the tragic circumstances you’ve faced but good on you for being ready to make some positive changes to get the body you want (it’s never too late – I turned 50 this year)! My program is downloadable with videos you can watch on your computer, ipad or phone. I understand your concerns re having it all electronic…but many women find once they get into it they really enjoy having the portability and regular updates that being online offers. Also, you’ll receive 30 days free coaching from me to help you get started via my membership coaching site. Re the workouts, you can do them at home with no equipment or in the gym using equipment – I offer everything from beginner through to very advanced. I hope this answers your questions – please let me know :) Bel xo

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Debbie February 2, 2015 at 11:23 am

Thanks for this again! I had started having a couple of glasses each night after my first husband passed away 3 1/2 yrs ago. Unfortunately it became a habit. Flash forward and I am now battling 10 unwanted pounds mostly due to the wine, I’m sure. I have cut back a by about half but I think I am going to give the 6 weeks without wine a good go. Maybe start for Lent which will help me keep to it. I work too, too hard in the gym and eat too clean to have this blub hanging on my belly! I’m 53 and any extra calorie goes right to my abdomen. I’m looking forward to NO more hangovers and sporting my bikini at the Jersey Shore this summer!!!

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Belinda February 2, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Hey Debbie, my pleasure and thank you for sharing! I am sure many women can relate. You will be AMAZED once you get those toxins out of your system how you start losing weight and toning up! Just by making this one powerful change to your lifestyle. There are so many other lovely ways to relax and pamper ourselves apart from drinking :) Great idea to give yourself a 6 week break – you won’t look back. Bring on that sexy summer bikini body!! Bel xoxo

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dawn February 1, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Thank you so much for posting this…all of it is truth! I had fallen into the routine of drinking on a regular basis and splurging on the Wknds. I always work out hard and you’re right, the scale wouldn’t budge, but kept creeping up. Right before Christmas this year I had an event that put me into being forced to stop drinking, and have been sober for over 6 weeks. The weight is coming off and my mind is clear and I feel so much better every day!! And you are right, the urge to want to drink has left…I feel so much better and look so much better!

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Belinda February 1, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Hi Dawn and my pleasure. I am over the moon to hear this and so happy you’re feeling all those wonderful benefits from having a break from alcohol. Isn’t it amazing how that urge goes away? Alcohol is such a compelling habit once you get into the routine of having a glass or two a night and drinking on the weekend. I found once I realized all this – drinking very moderately and occasionally – was easy. Thanks for posting your encouraging experience! Bel xo

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stephanie February 2, 2015 at 4:24 am

Hi after reading the blog Ladies I want to share something with you it may work for you and it may not. there is no way I am going to give up red wine ( only drink at weekends and share with my man over a meal) Yeras ago when I was competing at swimming I had alot of vegetarian food in my daily eating plan as I could not afford meat or fish often.
Now I am 55 and kept fit and slim or so I thought one day a month ago I noticed some fat round podginess around my waist and my abdomen and felt bloated and uncomfortable, I knew I was not overweight but was not happy with this podginess..
So what did I do I have decided that in the week I cook recipes that are soya based, I have gluten free products soya is fantastic and does not overwork your digestive system.
I do this alongside what I always eat daily which is fresh home made soup and I always make a fresh salad and eat daily even in winter.
After two weeks I dropped a dress size and most of the weight was fluid, my energy is better, and eating the soya recipes and gluten free products I feel satisfied after I have eaten, it may not work for everyone but I feel so much happier that the podginess has gone and my abdomen is not bloated I can see my abdominal muscles now and my dresses fit so much better. I eat fish in the week and maybe organic duck breasts or organic chicken at the weekend, the best thing is is that I did not need to increase my exercise routine which is yoga daily in the morning for 40 minutes and then a fitness class/ DVD when I get home in the evening. so if you like red wine and don’t want to give it up just stick to the weekend a couple of glasses on a Saturday.I hope this helps some of you ladies, and don’t be put off by soya products because you can make it tasty with herbs and seasoning.

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Belinda February 2, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Hi Steph, awesome advice and thank you for sharing! Everything you’ve done makes sense. I also favor fresh whole foods and gluten free carbs..and given your lower estrogen levels – soy would be a natural balancer too. Well done! It’s amazing how a few tweaks like this can make all the difference in the world… It sounds like you’re really tuned into your body…I LOVE that! Thank you for sharing, I know your post will inspire other women to make some healthier choices. Bel xoxo

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Steph January 31, 2015 at 6:50 pm

I am so glad this blog has popped up in my newsfeed. This is exactly where I am at the moment. After shedding weight after my 2 babies, the weight is slowly creeping back on. Over indulgence at Christmas and thinking I can have a couple of drinks every night has damaged all my hard work. I feel very uncomfortable, the wobbly bits are back, I use to walk around proud, now I am self concience about myself. I will get back there, and your blog is the perfect “wake up call” I needed. I’m doing it..6 weeks no alcohol. Thanks Belinda !!

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Belinda January 31, 2015 at 6:58 pm

Hey Steph! Great to hear from you and thanks for sharing. I felt prompted to post this on Facebook today…I just know it’s a message that many of us need to hear. You absolutely will get your toned body back – and your confidence! You’ve already taken the most important step today, by deciding to have a break. You’ll be amazed how fantastic you feel..especially when you wake up in the morning full of new energy, happy about the changes you’re seeing in the mirror. Sending you a big hug of encouragement, Bel xo

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Michlle January 30, 2015 at 6:49 pm

Today I weighed myself and cried. I’ve put on 10kg in a year and I owe it all to red wine. And it’s not nice fat either, I have for the first time a podgy belly, wobbly love handles and huge saddle bags on my thighs. My skin is dry and dehydrated. Today after reading your blog I realized the wine has to go. You have inspired me to get back on track and not use alcohol to hide behind. Thank you.

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Belinda January 31, 2015 at 1:54 am

Hi Michlle..I am feeling your emotion – I’m so sorry you cried like that, I can imagine how alone and sad you must have felt. Sending you a massive hug of encouragement. BUT…I am over the moon to hear my blog post has given you guidance and hope!! You absolutely can get back on track, you can put alcohol aside and start focusing on your health, happiness and wellbeing as Number 1. You are not alone, many women have walked this same path, myself included. During some very dark times of my life I used alcohol as an emotional anesthetic…and at other times to relax and de-stress. But I discovered it only made things worse in the long run and there are better ways of dealing with the difficulties of life – exercise not in the least being one of them lol! You made my day with your courage and honesty…you will be rewarded by seeing your body respond to the love the kindness you give it going forward. Please stay in touch and let me know how you’re doing.

You’re a champion! Bel xo

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Jennifer January 11, 2015 at 12:16 am

Hi Belinda,

Another great blog! And this one really hits home. Alcohol has become my daily routine. After reading this I think it is time to put down the drink and start a new routine. Thank you for writing this inspiring piece.

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Belinda January 11, 2015 at 12:37 am

Hi Jen! Thank you…you won’t look back, in fact – I think you will be surprised, maybe even shocked how amazing you feel, without those toxins slowing you down, aging you prematurely and making you prone to weight gain. You’ll wake up in the morning full of energy, glowing and ready to face the day feeling on top of the world. Thank you for posting and encouraging me to keep writing!! Bel xo

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Stephanie October 7, 2014 at 6:24 am

Hi Belinda just read your blog very interesting regards to alcohol so many over do it and I have on occasion , though exercised all my life and competed at swimming until I was 38(54) now I am in pretty good shape but alcohol is just negative calories and as much as I like a glass of wine with dinner I prefer to share a bottle at the weekend with a couple of friends, I always eat well and cook all my meals though I live alone, I also feel some people may drink and just have a snack at night with a glass of wine don’t eat properly or cook for themselvest if they live alone. I know so many people who live alone who do this which is not good

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Belinda October 7, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Hi Stephanie, you’re absolutely right – that glass of wine at night with a snack is a habit that easily creeps in, especially when we live alone. Hey I love a glass of red as much as anyone, especially the Central Otago Pinot Noirs in NZ! BUT I balance it with healthy eating and no drinking 5-6 nights a week. Drinking alone isn’t much fun..I’ve been there, especially when I separated and divorced. I think that contributed to me realizing having a drink to fill a void, de-stress or numb bad feelings – isn’t really the long term answer. An occasional drink to celebrate, relax with friends – and when you’re feeling in a good place on the other hand is lovely. Thanks for sharing!

Bel xo

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Chule June 5, 2014 at 8:35 am

For many years I was having that same problem not being able to lose weight no matter the workout due to drinking beer every weekend.
I just had a beautiful daughter which now she is 7 months, that encourage me to quit drinking for a while.
I now started to take an occasional drink. I drink whiskey with natural water for occasional events.
I see that this does not bloat me up and I don’t over do it, just a couple of glasses to enjoy the social event. I have lost 30 lbs and I am still up for losing 15 lbs more. Motivation is the key to succeed!

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Belinda June 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Hi Chule, thank you for sharing your story. I know it will inspire others. It’s so easy to drink every weekend and undo everything you’ve done right during the week, sabotaging your weight loss. Well done on quitting drinking during your pregnancy and now that you’ve broken the drinking cycle, stay strong and yes enjoy that occasional social drink even more, because it’s a treat. I’m proud of that fact you’ve taken control of this area of your life and lost so much weight, that is a huge achievement – on top of being a new Mum!! Hug, Bel

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Lori March 18, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Oi! The truth hurts! I’m new to your blog and I thank Joey Atlas! I’m glad I found you Belinda! I don’t need the drink! Honestly! I’m ready to soar! Thanks for the heart to heart!

Much love,
Lori♥

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Belinda March 18, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Awesome Lori!! Your body is going to thank you, over and over again!

Big Hug, Bel xo

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Mark White March 6, 2014 at 9:02 am

Well, some studies say that alcohol is moderate amounts actually boosts your immune system. Of course large amounts of beer, or whiskey will hurt anyone’s weight loss goals among other things. I used to party a lot, waking up with a hangover, but I find that not abusing alcohol and just having one, two drinks a week is more than enough for me.

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Elena November 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Hi dear Belinda!!!!! :-) I already knew alcool is bad for diet and doesn’t help at all to reduce cellulitis. Unfortunately I do love drinking hall a glass of wine or some more at dinner, now I’ll try to stop for sia weeks as you suggest…. I Thank you in advance, love for you.
Elena

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Belinda November 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Hello Elena, this is great news, I am proud of your decision. I know you will feel and see the benefits. Please let me know how it goes :)

Bel xo

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Lola October 25, 2013 at 10:09 am

Oh Belinda—there are many reasons I love you, but this article is truly one the most inspiring you’ve ever written. The truth hurts. I’ve wasted an awful lot of time ignoring the truth, MY truth, that drinking can and does affect my overall health. As one of your readers wrote, I too am in my early 50’s, and convinced myself I “deserve” those couple of glasses of wine at the end of the day, and the drink (or four) on the weekends. “Why am I not losing the last few pounds?” “I exercise like I’m supposed to! My diet is great!” I’ve ignored the most offensive part of my diet for much too long. I love my wine. But I’ve worked waaaaaay too hard to allow alcohol to interfere with my progress. I’ve NEVER heard anyone complain that giving up alcohol ruined their life. Thank you for addressing the truth, (and the obvious). Please keep doing what you’re doing—YOU are the only sane voice that I respect and trust in this industry . Cheers!

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Belinda October 25, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Hi Lola, thanks for sharing your experience – I know it will encourage others reading this. When I sat down to write this blog, I decided to write from my heart and give the message I believed was important to many, many women – to talk about the topic no one really wants to. I’m over the moon it’s just what you’ve needed to draw the line and do what’s best for your health and fitness. I guess it’s a little bit like delayed gratification – we give up something we love now so we can enjoy the benefits tomorrow, and the next day, and the next lol! Then as we find that balance, we can enjoy the occasional drink in moderation. The best of both worlds.

Please stay in touch and keep me posted on how things are going.

Bel xo

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Tia October 23, 2013 at 6:47 am

Hey Belinda,

Your email couldnt have come at a better time. I’ve been working hard for a month and eating super clean, total calories under control. Last week, couple of friends hit town, I drank a lot one night, 3 glasses of white and two beers. I continued to eat clean, and over the next four days had one glass of white and a beer. Just two drinks. Todays weigh in, 1 kg up and fat that took so long to creep down, back up by 0.8.
I cried.

Sigh, back to drawing board, so sad, want to join my friends but it just isnt possible is it? Is there anyway I can go around this? Silly question I know, I read the article.

I’m not throwing in the sweaty towel and trading down for the bottle but i cant help but wish there was a way, especially on holidays.

Thanks for the post again, am forwarding to my gals.

T.

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Belinda October 23, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Hi Tia,

Oh noooo! How frustrating and disappointing after all that hard work. No – don’t throw in the sweaty towel lol.

Listen, there’s a time to relax and enjoy a drink or two – but that comes after we’ve achieved our goals and feel on track. I’ve found, if I am at my ideal weight and fitness level, I can enjoy a couple of drinks one night a week (or one drink two nights a week) a week without it affecting my conditioning. All things being equal. But, if I want to lose even the tiniest bit of weight or body fat – or improve my performance – the alcohol holds me back.

So the short answer is – focus on your goals, achieve them, then enjoy your sweet reward in moderation :)

You’ve still got a good couple of months before Christmas so why not knuckle down and do it!

I know it’s not easy – especially when in the party zone, but you’ll thank yourself the next morning :)

Bel

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Debbie October 22, 2013 at 10:17 am

Thanks for the article! Although it is something I knew, reading it has hit home. I am 52 and started drinking 2-3 glasses of wine each night 2.5 yrs. ago when my husband passed away. I eat really clean and up until about the last 6 months it hasn’t seemed to affect me too too much. Even though I know I’d be in much better shape without it. I have recently cut back (very recently) because I know it is not good for my health or my physique and at my age now I find anything extra cements itself to my abs and it’s freaking me out. So, I’m working on this and this article is a HUGE help and wake up. I am in a new relationship and we tend to go out a lot and wine is always on the menu. This will be a challenge for sure! You are right- it is very hard to say no.

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Belinda October 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Hi Debbie – my pleasure :)

Sorry to hear about your husband – but thrilled that you’re in a new relationship. A great time to be channeling those good feelings into positive decisions for your health. You’re so right re alcohol and hormones – and belly fat lol. Those drinks really do sneak up on you.

It’s really all about how high we want to set the bar for our health and well-being longer term – and giving ourselves the chance to have our best body.

Having dealt with saying no in many difficult circumstances – here’s a few tips:

– Fill your glass halfway – but don’t drink anything (stops all those pesky irritating questions and pressure to drink).
– Fill your glass halfway – but don’t drink any until well into the dinner, half way through the main course for example. I often find after that I am satisfied and don’t want more.
– Drink your favorite expensive mineral/sparkling water :)

It’s quite normal to eat a little more and drink a little more at the beginning of new relationships (first couple of months), so don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy this special time – but know where to draw the line and get on track with your goals.

Good luck!

Bel

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Kristin October 22, 2013 at 7:57 am

Great blog post, and wonderful, inspiring info. My only question is the fact that there are validated studies out there showing that red wine is not only a benefit for the heart and cardiovascular system, but helps to prevent cancer. I have a couple of friends who are very renowned doctors who tell everyone to drink two glasses of red wine per day for their health. I’ve read studies out of Harvard on this. Your info makes total sense, and yet what I’m also hearing and reading makes for much confusion. I’m a marathon runner and want to make the best choices,….but what to believe??

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Belinda October 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Hi Kristin, thank you!

Awesome question. I’m not a doctor lol – but these are my commonsense thoughts.

No doubt red wine contains wonderful antioxidants with great health benefits. But it also contains many other chemicals and the antioxidants don’t change the physiological effect of those in our system.

And the context of consuming daily alcohol needs to be considered – lifestyle, nutrition, exercise and our physique goals. I think in the fitness lifestyle, getting our anti-oxidants from other sources (there are supplements based on the antioxidants in red wine for example) and foregoing the daily drinks is a wise decision. It doesn’t mean you don’t drink, just that you do less frequently and in moderation, understanding that your body will be working hard to recover afterwards and you build factor that into your routine.

I’m curious to know how drinking the night before affects your running – I imagine your pretty in tune with your body.

I’m big on listening to our bodies and being guided by that.

Thanks for posting and adding to the value of this blog!

Bel

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Thora October 22, 2013 at 6:04 am

Great article Belinda !
There are so many dear ones in my life who have been adversely affected
by alcohol .
It’s so socially accepted !
Thanks for your continued inspiration xx

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Belinda October 22, 2013 at 6:38 am

Thank you Thora and lovely to hear from you.

You’re so right, that’s the danger zone – how socially acceptable drinking to excess is.

Here’s to living life in balance, living a long, healthy life – enjoying every moment with a great quality of life:)

Bel xoxo

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Ewa October 22, 2013 at 2:13 am

Thank you for writing this, i stopped some time ago and my perfprmance through the day, vitality, body shape got better about 25% without even going to gym, i used to do 2 crazy things years ago, before i found your blog : i used to run everyday and drink- the heart attack recipe. Now im tripping on green tea:)

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Belinda October 22, 2013 at 2:18 am

Hi Ewa, yes I remember you :)

So happy to hear you’ve made such powerful lifestyle changes – I am so proud of you.

I love green tea lol. My favorite tea at the moment is 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, with the juice of one lemon and a dash of stevia and manuka honey – yum – great for the digestion and very cleansing.

Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work, Bel xo

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Bobbie freeman October 22, 2013 at 1:32 am

Spot on ! You have just described me and many of my friends!
Just bring reminded of what alcohol is doing to our bodies even though we have heard it
Many times before is KEY.
Thank you ! I’m On It to keep the balance !

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Belinda October 22, 2013 at 1:37 am

Hi Bobbie! Thank you so much for commenting. It takes some courage to speak out – so it’s rewarding to hear this has helped inspire you to keep the balance. Awesome!

Bel xo

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