In short, no.
However, if you feel like you are drinking more than you would like, and this may be having an impact on your weight loss, read on. There are definitely things that you can do to change your alcohol intake and feel more in control of your weight loss and achieving your weight loss goal. Like food...alcohol can also be planned in advance to ensure you stay on track.
If this is the first blog post you have read of mine, one of my big weight loss tips is to plan what you are going to eat, and drink, 24 hours in advance. Planning puts your prefrontal cortex, or your ‘smart brain’ in charge. Your smart brain is the part of your brain that makes plans for your future well being. In other words, it is thinking of you in the future at your ideal weight. If you haven’t got that image in your head, visualise it now.
You may want to resist planning, as you feel it makes you less spontaneous. Really, what planning means is that you can enjoy yourself without the constant negotiation you have in your brain, created by the thought of not wanting the drink AND wanting the drink at the same time. This causes stress. What do you do when you are stressed, probably drink another glass! Fascinating isn’t it. Reduce the chance of creating that stress by planning what you will drink 24 hours in advance.
Without the plan, your primal brain will take over which is wired to seek pleasure. Not only does this look like you drinking more than you wanted to, adding to an increase of sugar in the blood (and your body not being able to access it’s fat for fuel), but it also leads to that craving for stodgy food the next day. Raise your hand if you feel like a big fry up with 2 of everything the next day! Not to mention the sweet treat, that gives you energy to manage the daily grind and kids until you can fall into your bed that night.
This starts the spiral of disappointment and guilt which does not encourage actions to keep you committing to your weight loss goal. You can, however, use this as a valuable learning experience. Get curious.
Your smart brain can be used to plan how much you should drink before your body will experience that foggy head the next day, and before you feel the need for 4 slices of toast to quell that craving to feel better. Get conscious and curious in the moment when you are having a drink. How many do you actually need to relax? IF, that is the feeling you are going for. Another question I would like you to consider is whether you actually like the taste of the alcohol, or whether it is the fact that it numbs you a little, that you enjoy.
Alcohol does have the ability to allow us to escape from our real lives and dull experiences to make them seem better than they are. As a coach, I encourage you to move toward these emotions to find out what is real for you, and what changes can be made in your life to ensure that you are showing up as the best version of yourself. Join my coaching program to get personalised and real solutions to this.
When changing a pattern such as reducing the amount of alcohol you are drinking, your brain is going to offer you up many reasons in the moment why this is a bad idea. This is just your primal brain kicking into survival instinct. Remember it is wired for pleasure, (which served us when we lived in caves), and because alcohol gives it this increased feel good chemical response or numbing from a negative emotion it thinks it must be imperative for your survival.
Anticipate some of these excuses and recognise them as just that, an excuse. Practice new thoughts like ‘I can do this’ or ‘me and my weight loss goals are important’. Stay conscious during the experience of having your drink, what does your brain offer you, ‘I deserve this after a hard day of work and getting the kids to bed?’. When you are taking care of yourself, does being ‘deserving’ look like 1 drink or 3 drinks? Are you deserving of your weight goal? Which one do you want more? Delay that gratification - plan, follow your plan, and take care of yourself long term.
When you stay conscious, you may even decide on some nights where drinking has just been a pattern for you, that you don’t want to plan for it, or plan less. You can organise an enjoyable activity the next morning/ day and decide that you want to ensure that you feel like 100 % for the activity. Notice how you feel in your body the next day. Notice any changes to your emotions from not drinking or reducing your drinking.
If you feel like you are drinking and eating to avoid feeling a negative emotion, it is a good time to get some coaching. Negative emotions may be feelings of boredom, unfulfillment, stress, worry, overwhelm, or lonliness. Coaching helps you uncover the cause of the buffering and create new possibilities, thoughts and actions in your life that will change your results, and your life.
Food and alcohol may be providing you with a way to escape or buffer away from a negative emotion, however they only offer a temporary solution and the negative feeling does not go away long term. On top of that, you add more suffering to the pain of the emotion by adding negative consequences of: weight gain, feeling out of control (and beating yourself up), a foggy head, poor sleep or not being able to function on full mental capacity.
So, losing weight does not mean giving up your 8 o'clock glass of wine or gin, but stay conscious as to the reasons you are having the drink. Is it a relax in the evening, a pattern or is it a way to escape from the truth of your life. If it is the latter, take action and contact me now to create different possibilities for your life.
Click here now to send me a message and join me on my 7 week program to Stop Overeating and Become the You that You Love.