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Alcohol Causes Weight Gain

This Is How You're Undoing All Your Weight-Loss Progress

You're eating healthy, you're working out, and you're still not losing weight. Why?

First question: how much did you have to drink last night? Last weekend? Last month? Alcohol could be having a serious impact on your weight, creating a significant roadblock on your weight-loss journey.

What I've noticed with many women in my age group (post-college 20s) is that the metabolism may slow, but the lifestyle certainly doesn't. Binge-drinking at the bars every weekend paired with happy hours galore during the week (and possibly a bottle of wine a night during an at-home Netflix bender) is the perfect storm of weight gain, and it's all par for the course when you're a young woman with a packed social schedule. At that point, it doesn't matter how much kale you're eating or how many times you went to barre; the alcohol is ruining your weight-loss progress . . . even your weight maintenance.

When a friend of mine asked, "How did you stay so thin after college?" I knew right away my answer wouldn't be well-liked — "I don't really drink," was received with a particularly horrified expression from my befuddled friend.


Here's the thing: your body metabolizes alcohol before it metabolizes other things, so not only does this keep you from processing what you've eaten (fat, carbs, sugar, etc.), but it also slows your metabolism. Your body cannot store alcohol (and it's received as somewhat of a poison) so it's the first thing to be eliminated from your system.

Fats and sugars that would have been metabolized at that time are neglected because your body is busy working out the alcohol. In other words, you're giving your body extra work to do, and over time, you're destroying your overall metabolism (read: ability to eat pizza and not worry about it).

Another factor is the liquid calories: you're significantly upping your caloric intake without the nutrition or satiation, so they're essentially empty calories. And thirdly, if you're frequently getting drunk, how often are you partaking in drunchies? Are you eating Taco Bell at 2 a.m. (not judging)? How often?

We're by no means suggesting you eradicate alcohol from your diet (unless that's what you want to do!), but we are saying to be more mindful of how much you're consuming, and what kind, especially if weight loss is atop your priority list. Think about it: are you pounding frozen margaritas and moscow mules on the weekends? Perhaps followed up by mimosas and a Bloody Mary for brunch? You might want to consider what you're sipping, and switch to something lighter, or control your portions.

For me personally, I wasn't trying to lose weight, but the pounds started to fall off when I cut back on alcohol post-college. Do I say no to happy hour or a couple drinks at a concert? Heck no! Will I have a bellini with my eggs Benedict on Sunday? Absolutely! But I don't seek out alcohol as my primary activity, and my social schedule doesn't revolve around alcohol, either. And you know what? I'm in even better shape than I was in college, I feel better, and I'm more able to enjoy that drink when I do have one. If you're struggling to lose weight, consider how much you're drinking, and adjust accordingly.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim
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