Can alcohol stall weight loss? | Shape Up with Jo

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Would it surprise you to learn that I eat sweets and enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time?


In our video series For the Health of it, Joline Atkins provides health and wellness advice.


While many wine connoisseurs will cringe at my palate, a crispy Moscato is my wine of choice. When out and craving an adult beverage, you’ll find me drinking a white Russian, (also known in some establishments as a “Caucasian” which is new to me, but perhaps a politically correct twist on this drink?). A local friend, knowing of my love for a refreshing Bay Breeze, is always quick to mix me up a tumbler of her specialty at social gatherings.

How often do I indulge in alcohol?

You’ll either applaud or laugh.

I rarely drink, perhaps enjoying only two or three drinks over an entire month’s time.

While taste is one reason I hold back — I truly don’t enjoy many alcoholic beverages — that is not the primary reason.

Perhaps I’m overly sensitive to my role as a wellness coach, but it would feel very awkward to publicly promote health and wellness during the week (specifically, fitness and nutrition) and then find myself overindulging on alcohol come the weekend. This is not because I disagree with drinking. My reasoning is more pragmatic.

My alcoholic beverages of choice are often sweet and laden with calories. As managing sugar intake is important to me, I prefer to keep my alcohol consumption low. Sure, there are occasions/holidays where I may indulge a bit more, but as a regular practice, I do not.

Taste. Sugar. How about one more reason to reconsider how much alcohol one drinks?

While alcohol doesn’t actually kill brain cells as commonly thought, overconsumption of libations does damage the nerve endings (dendrites) that are responsible for our brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of body.

As someone who is considered a “lightweight,” it doesn’t take much alcohol to compromise my emotional, mental and physical comprehension. I prefer to keep my wits intact in order to make the most of my personal exercise each day. More important, I am responsible for the safety and well being of those I teach in my classes. An “off” day, due to a hangover, means I’ve abandoned both these personal directives for myself.

However, just as I believe food is amoral — not good or bad — I take a similar approach with alcohol. It is not right or wrong, though personal, relational, professional and even financial consequences can occur if alcohol is misused. For those of us committed to specifically improving our health, there are a few other risks.

1. High in calories but low in nutrients, a glass or two of alcohol simply adds empty calories, which provide no extra nourishment, to one’s total calories for the day.

2. Alcohol impairs performance. Those who prefer to engage in challenging daily workouts may experience a decrease in overall intensity the day after a night out with drinks.

3. When consumed in large quantities over extended periods of time, alcohol will negatively affect the major organs, ultimately interfering with a healthy metabolism.

4. If lean muscle mass is a personal goal, note that alcohol lowers testosterone which is essential for doing so.

5. When I drink, I eat. A lot. I eat to ward off the effects of alcohol on an empty stomach. I eat because I usually drink in social settings. I eat because alcohol increases the appetite.

The answer is, yes, alcohol can stall weight loss.

So drink responsibly, my friends!

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Can alcohol stall weight loss? | Shape Up with Jo

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