What To Do If Alcohol Is Getting In The Way Of Your Weight Loss

After various lockdowns and perhaps the increase in negative emotions during the last 12 months, you may find you are drinking more than you would like to be. You may be feeling a little out of control with your drinking and finding it impacts you losing or maintaining weight.

Can alcohol make you gain weight?

Alcohol can affect your sleep, leaving you tired and needing that ‘quick fix sugary treat’ the next day. Equally unhelpful is the morning fry up to cure the foggy head. You know what I am talking about, right? The one where you pack your plate full of toast and put more food on it than fits comfortably in your stomach in the hope it will make you feel better. You might find that alcohol affects your motivation and attention the next day, and you find yourself making more ‘mistakes’ in your normal eating regime.

Reward and alcohol control

You might say alcohol “Is my reward,” or “It makes me relax at the end of the day.” Why do you feel slightly out of control and perhaps drinking one, two, or three more glasses a night than you feel you should? You may be starting to feel like you are drinking against your will, against your better judgment, and starting to feel like alcohol is controlling you. Alcohol was meant to make this experience better.

But you are not feeling better. You are probably feeling worse. A feeling of guilt, or a bit of self-loathing for not being able to stop after a few drinks, and before you know it, you have finished the bottle. You might find that the more you drink, the less effect you get from the alcohol to ‘take the edge off, so you drink an extra glass to get that same feeling.

Culture and alcohol control

As a culture, we like to have a couple of drinks. It is seen as normal behavior in many societies throughout the world. It does not become a problem until you feel like you are out of control or experiencing results that you don’t want in your life. Results like not sleeping well, stumbling into things, a foggy head in the morning, or not feeling alert the next day. You may find this has a knock-on effect that may affect your mood with the family, your working productivity during the day, your patience while homeschooling your kids, getting your daily jobs done, or following the normal eating plan.

You might think the only way to deal with this is to give up alcohol. But you don’t want to. You want to drink less.

You Are Not Alone

When you think you are alone and that you should handle this, judgment and shame sets in. As famous researcher Brene Brown states, ‘shame loves being alone’. It festers and is not helpful or useful. It keeps you stuck.

 

How to cut back on alcohol to lose weight 

  • Plan for the week, or at least 24 hours in advance. Could you write the plan down somewhere? In your phone is fine. How many nights will you drink in the week? How many glasses do you want to drink that will help you reduce your intake? Follow your plan. Planning uses the smart part of your brain. The part that is looking out for your future wellbeing. You will not be as reliant on willpower at the moment if you make the plan the day before and are conscious of your plan before you have your first drink.
  • Decide on the results that you don’t enjoy. For example, the foggy head or the disturbed sleep and experiment with your plan to see what improves your results. Is it cutting back to 2 glasses instead of 5? You can choose to cut back a little at a time.
  • Understand that the more alcohol you drink over time, the more your body downregulates the effect of the alcohol to maintain the homeostasis or balance in your body. This is the reason you feel like you need more to get the same result. This increases your desire for alcohol.
  • Don’t beat yourself up; this may cause you to drink more alcohol to escape the bad feelings.
  • Share your concerns with someone you trust – talking about it gives you more perspective, reduces shame, and will help you identify areas that are difficult and create strategies for obstacles you are experiencing.

I work with clients to help them uncover the thoughts that are causing their over-drinking. Together we look at strategies and plans to decondition desires for alcohol and get back on track to drink in a way where you feel you are in control of your drinking.

Support

If you feel like you are over drinking but unable to function in your day to day, due to alcohol addiction, then some great organizations can provide you the support you need. One of the bigger groups is Alcoholics Anonymous or google ‘Support groups for alcohol addiction in your area. Whichever stage you are at, if you need some support, seek help.

In another article, I will be sharing my personal experience in achieving my goal to reduce alcohol. I will offer tips that I have used personally to reduce my drinking and manage what may be perceived as ‘difficult situations’ like moving house, countries, quarantine, lockdown, and children without over-drinking.

If you are interested in finding out more about my Stop Overdrinking Program, lets jump on a call and see if it is a good fit for you. Click here to schedule a 20 minute zoom call. Or click here to find out more information. 

Have a beautiful day.