Cut alcohol, boost weight loss

With a pint of cider containing as many calories as the average chocolate bar, it's easy to see how alcoholic drinks can get in the way of losing weight. Alcohol affects our bodies in many ways, and impacting our weight is a biggie. 

How alcohol affects your weight loss 

Alcohol is high in calories at 7 per gram, higher than the 4 per gram that protein and carbohydrates offer. They’re also what we call ‘empty calories’, calories of little, or no nutritional purpose. On top of this, alcohol is often served with sugary syrups, sodas and cordials which add to the calorific value. 

It’s not just the calories 
Consuming alcohol can lower inhibitions and alter your perceptions regarding food choices and portions. Have you ever started a meal out with the best of intentions, and ended up diving face first in a creamy tiramisu after half a bottle of red? Or popped by the local kebab shop on the way home from the pub? Then there’s the hangover, that can only be satiated by a full, greasy fry-up or a drive-thru meal. It’s a slippery slope. 

Other benefits  

Decreasing alcohol consumption can lead to: 

  • Lower risk of stroke, heart disease and some cancers.  
  • Sleeping more soundly 
  • Improved appearance of skin 
  • Increased sense of wellbeing  

Should we all give up then? 
Not necessarily, it’s a personal thing. Government guidelines advise what is safe for men and women to consume but we each need to find what’s right for us. Some abstain for religious reasons, others find alcohol a trigger for destructive habits like binging, so avoid it completely. Many more people find they can enjoy alcohol in moderation on high days and holidays – and a few in between.  

If you’re trying to lose weight, you might find your will power disappears after a few drinks, so it may be wise to cut back to stay on track. Try: 

  • Saving calories by choosing low-cal soft drink as mixers (vodka & diet cola, gin & slimline tonic) 
  • Interspersing alcoholic drinks on a night out with low cal soft drinks 
  • Alcohol-free beverages, they’re mostly lower in calories too 
  • Omitting a bottle or two in your weekly shop, if it’s not in the cupboard, you can’t drink it 

Keep tabs on the calories 

If you don’t want to avoid alcohol completely, start being mindful of the calories in your chosen drinks and work them into your plan. You can limit the impact on your weight loss and be prepared by deciding what you’re going to drink in advance.  

There’s no legal requirement for manufacturers to print calorie information on labels, so you might need to research online to find details. Handy resources include Drinkaware, where you can calculate the calories in drinks as well as the units of alcohol. 

So, if the scales aren’t budging or you’re seeking a way to cut calories, why not try cutting alcohol for a week or two and see how much better you feel.  

If stopping is right for you  
Whether it’s a long-term commitment or a choice to give your body a break, it is possible to have a good time without alcohol. If you want to do it, we’re here to help. Flip the questioning and disbelief from friends and family so they see it as a positive change for your health and mindset. Also, you can be the designated driver so they’re onto a winner. 

If you’re a resident of Nottingham city and need support on your weight loss journey, why not join our free Lose Weight programme? Gain access to personalised guidance and support tailored to help you reach your goals. Let us help you set meaningful targets, track your progress, and celebrate each success along the way.