After a long day, what could be better than putting on your favorite pair of sweatpants and hitting the couch with a cold, refreshing beer, crisp glass of wine, or your favorite liquor on the rocks?
Something in alcohol puts us in a relaxed, feel-good mood that other things just can’t seem to match, except for the feeling of meeting weight loss goals and muscle gains. Alcohol can affect your gym goals so you might want to consider cutting back before swimsuit season.
How Alcohol Affects The Diet
We’ve all been hungry, but have you been drunk hungry? For some reason when people drink it’s like their “Stop, don’t eat that!’ diet alarms break. You suddenly consume all of the snacks you see around and sometimes even eat a late night meal before passing out. Chances are that if you would have stuck with water you wouldn’t have gorged on a ton of extra calories.
Sometimes it’s not the extra eating that comes with alcohol that’s bad, it’s the fact that being drunk causes you to not care about your diet! For example, instead of picking a grilled chicken wrap the alcohol in your system makes you really want some pizza.
Plus, alcohol is full of calories and carbs that lack nutrition. They don’t help your metabolism, and can actually speed up fat storage. The carbs in alcohol also release insulin, which speeds up fat storage, helping you store fat faster.
As you drink your body freaks out because it sees alcohol as bad. As a result, the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) pathway in your body breaks alcohol down into acetaldehyde which is further broken down into acetate. Your body still don’t trust acetate so it tries to get rid of it by burning it for energy.
This means that whatever you do while you’re drinking, from sitting on the couch to intensely shaking it on the dance floor your body is essentially burning alcohol instead of carbs and fat for energy.
Then the liver becomes overwhelmed and so does the stomach, slowing digestion. While your liver cleans alcohol from your blood it becomes too busy to filter out the fat from your food, leading to tummy aches and extra fat. Basically, whatever you eat while drunk gets stored as fat.
Another thing alcohol does is lower your testosterone, which can lower your muscle means and metabolic rate, to slow down how quickly you gain muscle and burn fat. It also slows down your protein synthesis which plays a major role in muscle recovery, so instead of muscles that are recovered and ready to go, they’ll be sore and weakened.
After a night of drinking aren’t you usually tired? That’s because alcohol keeps your body from getting restful sleep. Alcohol also decreases motivation, so you may wake up tired and not feel up to working out.
When you drink heavily it could actually take up to 48 hours for your last sip of alcohol to be broken down. That means up to 48 hours later less glucose could be going to your brain and muscles, leaving you feeling more quickly fatigued and weakened, putting a damper on your workout even days later.
Now we aren’t saying don’t drink. We know there are some stressful days where only a drink can help. We’re simply suggesting that if you’re dieting or watching your figure to drink in moderation. Try to only have one drink every few days or limit your weekend drinking to 2-3 drinks.
Maybe on the days when you know, you’ll be drinking plan extra healthy snacks and meals, or surround yourself with healthy options while you’re drinking.
While drinking is great, so is losing weight, building muscles, and feeling good. Make sure to drink with moderation if alcohol could be keeping you from your fitness goals. Also, for more healthy tips visit HealingRadiusPro.com and share your diet tips in the comment section below.
Allison Barfield is a content writer for Span Enterprises and has been writing since she first learned to hold a pencil, shortly after birth. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a B.A. in media arts she fell in love with marketing. She's been copy writing and managing multiple blogs ever since.