It’s summertime; the season of BBQs, pools, the beach, friends, fireworks, vacations, parties, BEER, WINE, and MARGARITAS! Oh my!
While I for one love a nice glass of pinot noir with dinner or a tall margarita beachside, it’s important as female fat loss practitioners to understand how alcohol affects our metabolism’s ability to burn fat. After all, sustainable and smart fat burn is what we are striving for right?!
Alcohol has a very direct effect on your body’s metabolic functions. Our bodies have no way to store alcohol and are not efficient in metabolizing alcohol’s enzymes (this is why we get drunk!). Once alcohol is ingested, the body immediately starts to find ways to rid itself of the toxin and all other metabolic processes are put on hold. The body does not metabolize other macro-nutrients (sugar, fat, carbohydrates) as efficiently when trying to metabolize alcohol; halting any fat loss potential during this period of alcohol oxidation in your bloodstream. Alcohol also impairs your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the foods you eat, irritates your digestive tract, promotes gastrointestinal problems and generates large dips and spikes in blood sugar. WHOA!
What does all this mean to practicing participants of the fat loss lifestyle? Here are some more specific insights into the topic.
Female Fat Loss and Alcohol
1. Human Growth Hormone (HGH): HGH is a key fat loss hormone. Your body generates HGH naturally during your 8-10 hours of Zzzz’s at night. This nightly build-up of HGH helps boost your body’s natural ability to burn fat. When you go to bed buzzed, alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns. This disruption reduces your HGH production; thus resulting in a decline in fat loss potential.
2. Inhibition: It’s no secret that alcohol inhibits our decision making abilities. Set that inhibition down in front of a desert table and you’ve got a recipe for fat burning disaster! Drinking alcohol will only make it easier for you to scarf down that second piece of cake.
3. Appetite/Cravings: Here’s the situation, the alcohol from last night has been metabolized by your body the best it could, now you’re left with low blood sugar and a headache. Maintaining adequate blood sugar for quality metabolic functioning is pretty much out the window and you’re HUNGRY! That dip in blood sugar is causing your body to crave carbs…the more the better. At this point in the game, it’s going to be very difficult to resist those carbohydrate cravings and stick to your fat loss menu.
4. Dehydration: Alcohol causes dehydration and water retention due to lack of electrolytes. You will retain water for several days after a long night of drinking. For those of us practicing the fat loss lifestyle, staying hydrated is a key aspect to curbing hunger and cravings. That night on the town (while fun) will only make it harder for you to re-hydrate your body to its pre-boozy state.
It’s important to note here that there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional adult beverage. Like all things in life, drinking alcohol is a lifestyle choice. However, for fat loss intensive purposes, alcohol consumption goes directly against some (if not all) of the goals associated with living a fat loss lifestyle.
My recommendation? Limit your alcohol intake to once or twice per week and don’t drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages in those sittings. Doing this will help you keep your metabolism on the right track and not de-rail all of your hard work & fat loss efforts!
Do you drink? What’s your method for enjoying social gatherings where alcohol is involved? Can you tell a difference in your body’s functioning after drinking/not drinking?