My 30-Day Alcohol-Free Journey
Stop drinking to lose weight. And stop drinking, I did. I put this myth to the test and said no to alcohol for 30 days.
- Day 1 – I was stoked, feeling a bit excited. My starting weight was 240 lbs.
- Day 5 – Still happy, telling myself, “I can do this.”
- Day 10 – I haven’t drunk alcohol in more than a week and I’m getting through it. It’s still cool. I went to a party and haven’t had a drink.
- Day 15 – Two weeks have passed now and I’m struggling. No more smile on my face but I still haven’t drunk.
- Day 20 – I’m starting to think I’m missing out on certain parties and socializing… things I’d like to do.
- Day 25 – A frown on my face.
- Day 30 – A tear on my face. I started at 240 lbs. Didn’t drink for the entire month and at the end, I lost a whopping ZERO pounds. I still weigh 240 pounds.
I struggled. Not only did I not drink, I didn’t enjoy it. I suffered through this whole time to lose NOTHING.
So, what gives?
Why I Didn’t Lose Weight
Well, I think we have already debunk this statement: “You have to stop drinking to lose weight.” I stopped drinking and I didn’t lose weight. The myth is a complete bogus baloney. That’s what gives.
First of all, it’s important to understand that to gain weight, or to lose weight, or even to stay in the same weight—this is all about physics—the fancy sciencey stuff of thermodynamics. Remember, to lose weight you need to have less calories going in your body than are going out through the activities that you have at the course of a day. Now, if you want to gain weight like some other people, I don’t know who those people are but anyway, that means you have to have more calories going in than going out—so moving much is not necessary.
The reality is, when I did the 30-day experiment, I cut out my alcohol consumption but I replaced it with something else, not knowing that I was doing that—because I was paying attention to NOT DRINKING ALCOHOL and not the other aspects of my food. Somehow, I managed to make up the difference on the reduction in alcohol calories with additional things such as proteins, carbs maybe even fats that took the place of my Duff beer. And that’s why my weight stayed the same.
It is very important to know that the process of losing weight is very simple. It’s not rocket science by any means. You just need to have more calories going out of your body than calories going in, to lose weight. So the things that you can put into your body and consume, any forms of liquids and foods, you have different amounts of energy associated with them. The way we measure food intake or energy that goes in your body for gaining or losing, is measured in calories.
Most of us are familiar with the word ‘calories’ but we don’t necessarily know what it means. It’s just purely about energy. So food has energy. It’s like the gas that makes your car go, right? So, when you consume things like bread that has carbohydrates in it, there’s 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate. A gram is about the size of the tip of your pinky. That’s how big a gram is. Every gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories. Every gram of protein, the one you can find in T-bone steak, has also 4 calories per gram. For alcohol—the topic we’re talking about—there’s actually 7 calories per gram, so almost twice as many as carbohydrates and protein. That’s a lot right? But still, not as much as calories found in fat which has 9 calories per gram. More than double than that of carbohydrates and protein.
So, which one of these is the bad guy? None of them. There really is no such thing as a bad food. But if your goal is reducing weight, that means you need to have less amount of food going into your body versus what you’re using on a daily basis.
Pay Attention to Your Food Intake
I didn’t lose weight on my 30-day NO ALCOHOL experiment because something else went up. Probably, carbohydrates because I like those things. Those are my friends.
You need to make sure you pay attention to all of the macronutrients not just one. I did a great job of cutting out the calories from alcohol but I wasn’t really paying as close attention to the other three macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats).
So ultimately, if you want to get the results you’re looking for, pay attention. Don’t just focus in cutting out your intake of one particular thing, like alcohol. Because even if you cut it out but compensate the calorie-reduction with calories from other foods, your goal will not be achieved.
The Better Alternative
Let me ask you a question. Why do you drink? Is it because you; A) want to catch a little buzz, feel good around your friends, have some fun out there; or is it B) because you like the taste of it. Or is it combination? Which one is more important?
If it’s the buzz so you can socialize with your friends, be able to hang out with them, then my recommendation of what you can do to get a little bit less total calories going into your body—to achieve weight loss—is vodka-soda with a little lime in it. I would recommend to you to consume your alcohol more from vodka and a soda versus the beer because there’s less calories associated with the drinks. It will still give you a buzz if you do a harder alcohol than the beer.
Beer has alcohol plus some carbohydrates. It’s made from sugar sources, hops and wheat. And depending on what kind of beer it is, it still has such ingredients so it’s gonna have some sugars in there also. Vodka’s gonna give you the buzz you’re looking for but it is empty calories, if you will. Therefore, choosing a hard alcohol source to get your buzz is a better option for you. But most importantly, regardless which source of buzz you choose you have to have less total calories consumed. So, party foul bummer alert: you can’t have as much as you normally have.
That little change, cutting back in a couple of beverages when you’re tailgating on the weekend or hanging out with your friends wherever it might be, that’ll begin to make the difference. A little bit less calories here and there accumulates over time for long-term weight loss.
A Switch That Can Make a Difference
A regular beer usually has an average of 180 calories per drink as opposed to about 100 calories in a glass of vodka. Drink per drink, they have almost the same amount of alcohol but beer has a whole bunch more calories.
If you drink 8 mugs/bottles of beer a day, you’re consuming about 1440 calories (180 calories x 8) already. Now, having 6 glasses of vodka-soda gives you 600 calories (100 calories x 6). That’s a huge difference—over 800 calories you can be losing a day just by making that switch.
Now think about the amount of calories you can lose in a week or in a month. If you drink 3 times a week, you can be losing over 2400 calories a week. Sounds excessive but sometimes drinking comes more frequently than most people pay attention to. When we think about your normal week, maybe having a beer after you get back from a stressful day at work, Friday night fun, Saturday night, too. Keeping everything status quo, that’s 9 thousand calories or so for the month. Huge weight loss, huge difference.
One pound of fat is 3500 calories so you’re getting close almost three pounds of fat loss per month. And all you did was change from having 8 beers to six mixed drinks to get your buzz. That’s why they call it a beer belly not a vodka belly. And beer belly is easier to remember than vodka belly, sounds Russian.
- Be realistic. We don’t want to just cut out alcohol. We’re probably gonna have some alcohol some point in our life so don’t pertain to alcohol as the bad guy. Bastardizing a macronutrient or a food product by itself as being the culprit or the thing that has caused you to gain weight is not the answer.
- Pay attention to the total amount of calories going in versus going out. You might be reducing calorie intake by cutting out a particular item you think is causing your weight gain, but, unknowingly, you might be replacing it with calories from other sources.
- If you love drinking because of the buzz it gives you, then think of an alternative. Like choosing a hard drink over beer, for instance. You can still enjoy your drink, hang out with friends, and reduce your calorie intake all at the same time.