Weight Loss After Quitting Drinking Wine
Skipping your nightly 2 glasses of wine would spare you 7750 calories in 31 days, which could help you lose a little over 2 pounds.
I’m a big fan of reducing my alcohol consumption for health reasons. I used to drink about two glasses per night (a glass is 12 ounces), and now I rarely touch it.
But there are some nights when I crave the comfort that comes with drinking red wine — like after a stressful day at work or if I have guests over. The solution? Skip your nightly glass of wine, and instead try this sneaky trick to lose weight fast.
The idea behind this strategy is based on the concept that skipping a single meal can cause you to eat more later on. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that people who skipped breakfast ate up to 500 extra calories during their next meal.
Similarly, a 2016 University of Alabama at Birmingham study showed that women who drank one alcoholic beverage were 50 percent more likely to overeat compared to those who didn’t consume any booze. And a separate UAB report found that moderate drinkers gained less fat than abstainers over a three-year period.
So what’s the magic trick for cutting back on your alcohol intake without missing out on having fun socially? It’s easy. Just switch to sparkling water, tea, coffee or soda when you feel the urge to order a glass of wine. You’ll save yourself 7750 calories over the course of an entire month. That means you’d be burning off around 2 pounds!
To see how effective skipping drinks could be at helping you drop pounds, I spoke with David Levitsky, Ph.D., director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Research Center on Aging. He told me he had done extensive research into caloric effects of various beverages, and was able to isolate exactly how many calories certain types of alcohol would add to your daily total.
“Generally speaking, most alcoholic beverages contain more calories than other nonalcoholic options,” says Dr. Levitsky. “A typical serving size of white wine has 150 calories; gin and vodka serve 100 calories each; rum serves 80 calories; tequila serves 70 calories; beer serves 60 calories; etc.”
If you’re not sure how much you typically drink, check out sites such as Drinkometer, which lets users enter their favorite type of liquor and gets back information on its calorie content. Or just look up the number of calories in your favorite drinks online.
Dr. Levitsky also noted that while studies have shown that moderate drinking may reduce cardiovascular risk by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, binge drinking can significantly raise these risks. So even if you don’t consider yourself an active drinker, you should still limit your alcohol consumption.
When I asked him whether skipping a glass of wine every once in awhile might help speed up my weight loss efforts, he said it definitely could. Here’s why:
1. Skipping alcohol causes you to eat healthier food choices.
When we skip eating our normal evening snack, it leaves us feeling hungry. If we then go straight to dinner, we tend to choose foods high in carbohydrates, sugar, and fats — all things that will pack on the pounds, explains Dr. Levitsky. But when you opt for a bottle of wine instead of a bagel or chips, you give yourself permission to indulge in something healthier.
2. When you do drink wine, you won’t get drunk as quickly.
You know those nights where you just need a quick pick-me-up and pour yourself a glass of merlot? Unless you’ve been drinking regularly, you probably won’t want to down a whole glass before you realize how much better you feel.
3. By skipping a glass, you’ll increase your willpower.
Research shows that willpower is significantly weakened when faced with temptation. For example, researchers tested participants’ ability to resist temptation by offering them $100 and asking them to keep track of how long they resisted taking money from the jar. In the first condition, subjects received $20 so they felt tempted to take the cash right away. In the second condition, however, they got nothing. They were simply instructed to count how many times they took the money. Researchers found that the amount they chose dropped by 20 percent when they were given money but no instruction to record their actions.
4. You’ll avoid the post-binge crash.
After you finish that third glass of merlot, you may find yourself feeling too tired to cook healthy meals and stick to your diet plans. However, if you wait until the morning, you may wake up hungrier and ready to make changes. This is because hunger peaks sometime between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., according to a study published in the journal Obesity.
5. You’ll boost your mood and energy levels throughout the day.
Alcohol contains several nutrients that provide essential benefits, including B vitamins, antioxidants, chromium, zinc, and magnesium. These nutrients play a key role in regulating metabolism, stabilizing blood sugar levels, enhancing memory, balancing hormones, and increasing energy.
6. Your body will actually metabolize alcohol faster.
In general, scientists believe that humans process alcohol differently depending on how much is consumed. According to a 2013 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, alcohol enters the bloodstream at different rates depending on the type of alcohol consumed. One way or another, though, your liver breaks down alcohol very efficiently.
7. Your taste buds will thank you.
Many people love the taste of red wines. Even if you hate the smell of alcohol, you may enjoy the flavor when you sip it through a straw. But if you’re trying to cut back on your drinking, sometimes you need to adjust what kind of alcohol you prefer.
8. Water is cheaper than alcohol.
Although you can buy low-calorie mixers to blend spirits with seltzer, they cost quite a bit more than buying fresh ginger ale or sparkling water. Plus, your blender doesn’t come with a convenient handle, making it difficult to bring to parties, picnics, or tailgating events. With water, you get everything you need in one package.
9. It’s good for your wallet.
Depending on where you live, you may notice that alcohol costs far less than bottled water. Some states tax alcohol sales heavily, but in places like New York City, the price difference isn’t significant enough to justify stocking up on expensive bottles of sugary sodas. Also, unlike alcohol, soda companies aren’t allowed to advertise on television.
10. Seltzer water isn’t addictive.
Most people think of alcohol as a highly addictive substance, but seltzer is nowhere near that category. While it does contain bubbles and carbonation, like other bubbly liquids, most experts agree that seltzer is safe to drink. Unlike alcohol, it doesn’t affect brain chemistry in the same harmful ways.
11. There’s a silver lining hidden inside your favorite bottle of red.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 percent of American adults are overweight or obese. We spend billions of dollars on diets and exercise programs, yet Americans continue to gain weight. Why is that? One reason is that obesity rates are skyrocketing among children, especially those under age five. Children who are obese are twice as likely to become obese adults.
12. No matter your gender, you can benefit from quitting alcohol.
Women generally weigh less than men. Although men naturally produce higher amounts of testosterone, both sexes respond to alcohol in similar ways. Men and women alike experience lowered inhibitions, increased sexual desire, decreased pain sensitivity, and feelings of euphoria after consuming alcohol.
13. Alcohol isn’t linked to cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, anxiety, dementia, or suicide.
Despite what you may hear on late-night TV commercials, alcohol isn’t the devil. “We often hear that drinking leads to poor decision-making, risky sex, and poor job performance,” explains Dr. Levitsky. “These claims are false. Moderate drinking is associated with reduced risk of mortality due to cardiovascular diseases, cancers and mental disorders.”
14. It’s easier to quit cold turkey.
While gradual reduction works for some people, others need to kick the habit completely. If you decide to stop cold turkey, it’s best to consult your doctor before doing so. Otherwise, you run the risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Most importantly, you must remember that quitting alcohol altogether is a lifelong commitment.
15. People who binge drink are usually already abusing other substances, too.
Binge drinking occurs when someone consumes four or more drinks over a short time span. According to the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey conducted by the CDC, only 3.8 percent of adult males reported binging in the past year. Meanwhile, 23.0 percent of adult females admitted to the same behavior in the previous 30 days. People who binge drink are typically heavier drinkers overall.
16. Alcohol abuse can lead to serious medical conditions.
Heavy drinking can damage your organs, particularly the liver. Too much alcohol can interfere with your immune system, causing infections and/or inflammation. Long-term use can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, pancreatitis, hypertension, and heart failure.
17. Your life expectancy
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