Drinking alcohol can have many detrimental effects on your health and well-being. One issue that people may not consider when drinking for a long time is the weight gain that often occurs. You’ve probably heard the term “beer belly.” While this may be just an expression, some connections exist between your weight and alcohol consumption.
Many people hope to lose weight when they quit drinking. If you’re thinking about quitting alcohol and wondering how much weight you might lose, read on for more details.
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How Much Weight May You Lose When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?
With the average American struggling with weight issues, many people look for ways to lose weight. Some people may go on the latest diet, while others hit the gym to exercise. Most doctors recommend making lifestyle changes that incorporate both diet modifications and exercise to lose weight.
If you drink alcohol regularly, it’s a part of your diet and may impact your weight. The amount of weight you can expect to lose when you stop consuming alcohol varies because several factors go into the calculation. Assessing how alcohol affects your weight is the key to determining how much you could lose if you quit drinking.
How Does Alcohol Affect Weight Gain and Weight Loss?
Different factors affect how any food or drink will affect your weight. The same is true for alcohol. Calories give you fuel, or energy, for the body. However, you gain weight if you take in more calories through eating and drinking than you burn off. The opposite is also true. If you burn more energy than the calories you take in, you’ll lose weight.
As a result, it’s important to know the number of calories in the various alcoholic drinks you consume to know how it affects your weight. Here’s a list of common alcoholic drinks and their caloric value:
- 12 oz. beer = about 145 calories.
- Shot of vodka = about 85 calories.
- Shot of rum = between 64 and 97 calories.
- Shot of whiskey = about 105 calories.
- Shot of gin = about 97 calories.
- 5 oz. wine = 12o calories.
Another factor that affects how many calories from alcohol you consume is the number and type of drinks you consume. For example, if you drank three 12 oz. beers, you’d take in about 435 calories, depending on the type of beer. If you drank seven beers, the caloric count would increase to 1,015.
Now, let’s compare the same number of drinks for a popular spirit — vodka. If you drank three shots of vodka daily, this would amount to 255 calories. If you had seven shots, this would add up to 595 calories.
The Relationship Between Calories and Weight Loss
You may be wondering how many calories you need to cut out before you see weight loss. One pound of body fat is equivalent to about 3,500 calories. In theory, that means that you might expect to gain one pound if you eat 3,500 calories more than the number you need to maintain your weight in a given week. In the same way, you can expect to lose about a pound of weight a week with a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories.
You can calculate how many calories you need to eat every day to maintain your current weight by multiplying your current weight by 15 if you’re fairly active. If you’re not active at all, you would multiply by 12. Other factors play a role too, such as:
- Your activity levels.
- Your age.
- Your gender.
- Your current weight.
Putting It All Together: Alcohol Consumption and Weight
Now, let’s put everything together to see how alcohol consumption, cutting calories, and weight loss work. First, let’s look at an example of how reducing calories might help you lose weight.
Let’s say the total calorie intake needed to maintain your current weight is 2,000. You could cut 500 calories a day for seven days to get the 3,500 calories necessary to lose about one pound of body fat.
You may expect to lose roughly one pound a week by cutting 500 calories every day and consuming 1,500 calories.
For someone who consumes four 12 oz. beers a day at 145 calories per beer, that’s 580 calories in total. This amounts to a total of 4,060 calories a week, which is over one pound of body fat.
Another consideration to keep in mind is that if you’re consuming mixed drinks, you have to factor in the calories from the other ingredients, too. For example, many people don’t drink rum alone but mix it with Coca-Cola. Others might prefer New York sours — a cocktail of red wine and whiskey that typically contains over 200 calories.
Other Factors That Affect Your Weight Goals
When cutting out alcohol, you can expect to drop some weight. The amount you lose will depend on other factors besides just your calorie intake. Your age, gender, activity level, and muscle mass will all make a difference. To ramp up your weight loss, you can increase your levels of activity and work on building muscle mass. Both these things will boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories.
When some people quit drinking alcohol, they may feel depressed or lonely. These feelings may be a trigger to eat more or indulge in high-calorie comfort foods. For this reason, it’s essential to have a strong support system as you go through the process of alcohol withdrawal.
Get Help To Quit Drinking
Making the decision to quit drinking is an important one, and doing so allows you to take charge of your health and well-being. It’s vital to seek help from qualified professionals when you stop drinking because doing so alone can be risky. Some withdrawal symptoms are best addressed in a rehab setting.
With the help of California Detox, a top-quality Laguna Beach rehab facility, you can begin the road to recovery. California Detox offers various treatments and services to assist people with an alcohol use disorder.
Several treatment options are available after you complete an alcohol rehab program. You may transition to any of the following levels of care:
- Inpatient treatment.
- Partial hospitalization program.
- Intensive outpatient program.
- Outpatient treatment.
Contact California Detox and speak to an admissions representative to get started on your journey today.