Can You Lose Weight If You Stop Drinking Alcohol?
By: Zack Mathews
If you are wondering if cutting out alcohol with help you lose weight, there’s a good chance that it will.
But it’s not a 100% guarantee.
There’s even a chance that you’ll gain weight by eliminating booze.
I’m about to break it all down for you!
The only way to lose weight is by being in a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit is when you bring in less energy (in terms of food and drink) than your body needs to maintain its weight.
Let’s take a look at this example of Rob.
Rob consumes 2500 calories a day from food and alcohol. If 2500 calories was the amount of calories his body needed to maintain his weight, the scale would not move for Rob.
To create a calorie deficit, Rob cuts out alcohol, which saves him 500 calories.
Since he is only eating 2000 calories and his body wants 2500 to maintain his weight, he will lose weight!
Does that make sense?
It’s important to note that you don’t have to think about a calorie deficit on a day by day basis.
You can also think of it on a week by week basis so if you tend to only drink on weekends, cutting those calories will be eliminated from your weekly calorie total.
This is a simplified example of how your could lose a pound of fat if you were drinking 3500 calories worth of alcohol per week.
The main takeaway from this section is you should understand that your weight loss will always be dictated by how many calories you are eating and drinking. The nice thing about that is that you could technically keep everything else the exact same, what you eat and how much you exercise, and you could lose weight if you stopped drinking alcohol.
I just showed you how you can lose a pound a week from cutting out alcohol.
Maybe you drink less than 3500 calories, so you would lose less. Maybe you consume more than 3500, so you actually lose more!
There’s another piece of the puzzle that you have to take into account when you cut out alcohol and that is all the other benefits you are going to gain.
How many times have you had a few too many and your next day is ruined?
I know I have been there many times!
You start with the late night food run full of greasy, delicious food.
The next morning you feel awful so you sleep in and don’t move much.
Maybe you skipped your workout and ordered another round of fast food to help with the hangover.
Do you see what’s happening here?
The calories are racking up fast from the damage you did from alcohol the night before.
Because I love examples so much, here is another info graph breaking down a hypothetical night of drinking and eating that I have definitely experienced before.
As you can see, those calories started adding up fast once the alcohol began.
When you start thinking about how much weight you can lose, the numbers can start adding up quick because of extracurricular activities and missing workouts.
It all depends on how many calories you’re consuming from alcohol, how much extra food you’re eating because of the booze, and how much your movement is affected the following day.
It’s not always about if you can lose weight if you stop drinking alcohol. Maybe you still want to enjoy yourself from time to time in moderation.
If you’re new to my website, this is my belief on how your nutrition should look.
That 20% of the time you enjoy food and drink you love can be alcohol.
Since it’s always about total calorie consumption, you can definitely have alcohol and still be able to make amazing progress with your body.
If you think about that example of drinking versus no drinking, imagine that if instead of 1000 calories form alcohol, you kept it to 500.
Since you only drank 500, maybe you’re not as drunk and don’t feel like you “need” that late night munchie meal, so you skip it!
That’s how you incorporate alcohol into your routine without sacrificing progress!
We are always going to go back to the topic of calories, so in theory, yes you could gain weight when you stop drinking alcohol.
Maybe you drink to cope with something going on in your life.
If you stopped drinking and never found a new way to cope with that situation, there’s a possibility you could resort to food.
Maybe you drink 1000 calories worth of alcohol a week and now you eat 3000 extra calories from food on top of what you normally eat after you give up drinking.
Since your total calories went up from what you were bringing in before, you’re going to gain weight.
If something like that resonates with you, you might want to talk to a professional about the deeper issue going on.
Find What's Best For You
At the end of the day, it’s going to be your choice whether you eliminate alcohol completely or have it in moderation on your weight loss journey.
I remember a quote that I really like that I believe was from Dr. Tom who said “The best diet cannot be found, it’s created.”
If you found the best diet ever that required you to cut out alcohol but you really enjoy having a glass of wine with your partner on Saturday night, it’s probably not the best diet for you right?
On the other side, if someone tells you that you should have moderation with food and nutrition, but you know your relationship with alcohol is not good, you probably don’t want to listen to that person.
Know what I mean?!
You got this!
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or reach out here.