Alcohol: Is It Really Worth It?

by | Dec 1, 2018

One of the first things I get asked is, “Do I have to give up alcohol?” Good news, no. Bad news, you may change your mind. It may take some time and that is OK.

When I started my flexible dieting journey, I was not willing to give up my nightly cocktail (or two or three or four) because I was sure it was a stress reliever. It isn’t.

Alcohol isn’t as important as you think …

Alcohol is not an energy source. Your body metabolizes it straight to fat. There went my old “pork chop in every can” saying.

Alcohol does not help you sleep. Try it for yourself. Do you sleep better after drinking? Passing out is not restful sleep. The older I have gotten, the more disruptive it is to a full, restful night.

Alcohol is a depressant. Yes, you may get some perceived relaxation, but is that really the cocktail or hanging out with friends laughing your ass off or just sitting still and being mindful? What have you tricked your mind into thinking alcohol does for you?

Alcohol is irritating to your gut and can be inflammatory. If you have any gut issues from reflux to intestinal problems, avoid it. Autoimmune disorders the same.

Tips and tricks to replace the alcohol

If you are doing the nightly wind-down cocktail, switch to some herbal tea or flavored seltzer water. Baby step it or cold turkey, your choice.

Reduce the sugar and cola in the mixers. Try spiked seltzer, vodka-lime-soda water-stevia, low carb beer, or a wine spritzer. At least with a Bloody Mary, you are getting some vitamin C and some veggies right?

Track ahead of time, so you have a line in the sand. Alcohol is 7 calories per gram. You can use an online calculator to convert that into fat or carb grams for tracking. When you know the cost, you might decide you prefer those calories from real fats and carbs instead.

Don’t be fooled by the low/net carb beers and seltzers. They still have alcohol calories that those sporty ads don’t show you.

Drink a glass of water between cocktails. You will at least be better hydrated for the hangover in the morning.

Remember that alcohol is a gateway to other defeating behaviors such as too much pizza and wings and midnight taco runs. Macros blown.

Remind yourself what your goal is.

I just eventually decided that that nightly drink was too costly. I’m not a teetotaler by any means. I’m just more mindful about my alcohol now.

What has helped or hindered you from reducing the booze?

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