Should You Drink Alcohol if You Want to Lose Weight?

Should you drink alcohol if you’re trying to lose weight? We’ve all been there. You want a glass of wine but dang it! You’re also trying to lose weight.


So what do you do? Either you chug it, feel guilty, and do a good old fashioned shame spiral afterward OR you decline the wine and then pity yourself while you watch everyone else enjoy it. Either way, it usually involves some type of frustration or self-hatred. 


So, should you drink alcohol if you’re serious about reaching your weight loss goals?


It sounds like a simple question. But I actually think you should ask a DIFFERENT question first.


Here’s the question:  What happens in my body WHEN I drink alcohol?


Once you know that answer, you have knowledge. And when you have knowledge, you have power. You can make a choice without so much emotion involved. 


Let me preface this by saying I’m not going to get all scientific on you. This is not a research paper and I’m not going to throw a lot of fancy terms or big words at you. I’m a women’s health coach who likes to simply break things down so people can get the answers they need and make whatever decision feels right to them.


When you drink a glass of wine or beer or vodka, your body automatically decides it needs to use that alcohol for fuel before it tries to use anything else in your body for fuel. Your body will focus on using all that alcohol as its primary fuel source BEFORE it starts to focus on using anything else. And by anything else, I mean your stored fat. So, if your body is busy burning through the glass of Chardonnay you just drank, it can’t be bothered to focus on burning through the fat stored around your waist. It’s occupied and it has priorities. Does that make sense? 


I’m not saying you should never drink. I still drink on occasion. I just want you to have all the information so you can make a conscious decision. 


Here’s how I personally think through whether or not to have a drink. If I’m out with friends and I think a glass of wine would be nice with dinner, I ask myself, “Do I want my body to spend its energy burning this alcohol or would I rather my body focus on burning the fat I’m trying to lose?” Sometimes just pausing and shifting to this question, gets me out of my emotions and lets me concentrate on the facts.


When I think of it this way, more times than not, I decide I don’t really want the wine after all and I’ll just order sparkling water. And you know how I feel after that? I feel really empowered that I have just given my body permission to keep burning fat for fuel. Yes body! You keep doing your thing! But, there are also times that I decide it’d be nice to relax and enjoy a glass of wine and I’m ok with knowing my body isn’t burning any fat if I do that. So, I order the wine and drink it without any guilt or shame. It’s just a choice I make. 


So, next time you have a decision to make about alcohol, instead try shifting the question and ask yourself, “What do I want my body to burn for fuel right now? This alcohol or my stored fat?”


Don’t think of alcohol as bad or good. It’s just a choice. Pause and give yourself the power to decide what YOU want your body to do for you.


Remember, you’re in charge.



Michelle Arnold

I help women over 40 get back on track with their food and fitness. Check out my Instagram for healthy lifestyle tips so you can burn more fat, get in the best shape of your life, and stay that way for good!

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