If you ask my friends, they’ll tell you I love my wine and I love my fitness. But sometimes they don’t go hand in hand. I say sometimes, because I continue to try to make that relationship work. The problem is that these days, I like the former way more than the latter. And with all the goals I have for myself, this habit is just not in alignment with the direction I want to take.
You know that quote:
if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.
It’s so true. My mom reminded me of it recently and it was just the thing I needed to hear. The reality is: I’m ready to get somethin’ else, darnit! Unfortunately, that means changing my actions and behaviors so they support my new values and goals.
My biggest goal right now? Getting back to a healthy place – both mentally and physically. It’s no secret now that Kyle and I lost our first [surprise] baby in August. I obvi gained preggers weight during those four months, and then gained what seems like double that trying to emotionally stay above water. Man, if any of you gals have gone through that, you know there’s no sugar coating it…it’s down right ROUGH. Like kick-you-down ROUGH.
BUT, I’m ready to get right back up, heal some more and then…GET PREGNANT AGAIN [did you expect me to say that? ;)]! It might have been only four months, but it was the BEST FOUR MONTHS OF MY LIFE! Even though I don’t know 1/16th of what it really feels like to be pregnant, I absolutely LOVED what I got to experience and CANNOT wait for the next go-around.
So that’s my “WHY!” That’s my motivation right there. I can own that I’m not healthy enough right now to even embark on that journey again, but I WANT TO BE. I know it will be a slow process, but I’m ready to get serious about it.
So I’m going to do what I have to do to regain my old self. And I’m slowly realizing that it’s not going to start until I put down the wine. No longer will it be a coping mechanism and no longer will it keep me from my goals. Yes, you can drink alcohol and still lose weight, but it’s hard. And I know for certain it won’t ever happen for me given how I depend on it…
If anyone else is in my boat, battling their love for chardonnay with wanting that STRONG [notice I do NOT say skinny] physique, then read on. I’m giving you the skinny on ALCOHOL AND FAT LOSS, why it usually doesn’t co-exist together and when to have it, if you really need it [like myself. No shame]. And don’t worry, I’m not pulling this info out of my butt. I’ve been a certified personal trainer and board certified health coach forever now, so what I’m about to say does have some credit 😉
[side note —> speaking of street cred, yall….I’m not buying any internet ab photos for this post, just using yours truly. This is me at my prime a couple years ago! Healthy, happy and fit. I still drank, but it wasn’t a priority, like it has become these days. I stayed active, got lots of sunshine, lifted heavy and ate clean with cheats on the weekend. It took hard work to get here, but once I arrived, life in moderation was all it took to maintain. That’s my goal.]
In a nutshell:
- The body can’t process alcohol and food at the same time – it’s too much work for the kidneys and liver. Even if you eat chicken and broccoli for dinner, but couple it with a nice glass of red, the body will store the food as fat while it works to process the alcohol [which usually takes at least an hour]. Yuck.
- Our bodies release HGH (human growth hormone) at night when we sleep so our body repairs itself – including the muscles broken down during the kick-ass workout that day. The problem is: when alcohol is present in your body, it halts this repair process. So even if you only have one night cap to relax, your body won’t heal and recover like it needs to tackle the next day. This is a problem especially when you’re going hard in the gym – you really need your muscles to heal properly so they can continue to grow and work in your favor.
- Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and alters your judgement [no secret there]. So even if you say you’ll stick to one glass of red wine [really not bad for you], it’s the decision making process re: dinner after that might challenge you. After a drink or two, you’ll likely reach for the sugary or salty carbs vs. the clean eats you were planning. I know most of us say that we have the will-power to fight this, but this phenomenon is fo’ real. I know from experience.
- Alcohol stops the fat burning process immediately. Enough said.
If you’re going to indulge, when is the best time?
- When you’re first starting a healthy routine, try to go cold turkey for AT LEAST the first week. Ideally it would be for the first two – three weeks. This will get your hormones back in order and your fat burning system in line and revved up.
- Separate food and drinking. So, happy hour is your best time. Make sure it’s at least an hour after your last snack and at least an hour before your dinner.
- No drinks AFTER dinner because your body is busy processing your food as fuel vs. storing it as fat. You’re body is also prepping itself for sleep, also known as your “recovery” time.
If you do splurge, what should you drink?
Red wine. White wine is higher in sugar, especially the rose’s and moscato’s. And “studies show” that a glass of red has a ton of health benefits.
Vodka or other LIGHT liquor, on the rocks/neat, without any sugary mixers. Squeeze fresh lemon/lime/grapefruit juice for added flavor. [Be aware that liquor will hit you hard, so that ‘lower inhibition’ thing I mentioned up above…that applies here!]
Who else is contemplating shaking up their lifestyle to really go for what they want? Don’t hesitate to reach out…the buddy system while cutting wine addiction and starting a health regimen is always a good thing.
I wanted to leave you with visual proof of what even ONE week can do for you. This is a before and after of me TWO years ago. The left is after a weekend full of lots of drinking, barbecues and little sleep. The right is the next weekend after cutting alcohol, cleaning up my diet and sweating out the toxins. Crazy, right?
Good luck everyone!!