Everything you eat and drink affects your body. Alcohol, especially in large quantities, can change your brain chemistry and have physiological effects as well. It can interfere with your cardiovascular system, alter your regular heartbeat and increase blood pressure. Other changes that alcohol causes in your brain can affect your weight, too.
How Does Alcohol Affect Your Weight?
When drinking alcohol becomes a habit, it starts to crowd other activities out of your schedule. You may find yourself spending more time each week drinking, and then drinking becomes a daily occurrence. Like any addiction, alcohol begins to consume your thoughts and take a primary position in your daily priorities.
Alcohol and Weight Gain
Here are some reasons that people who drink large quantities of alcohol may experience weight gain:
- Sedentary lifestyle: The more time you spend with a drink in hand, the less time you have for physical and social activities. People who consume alcohol regularly often do not find time to exercise. Drinking can leave you feeling relaxed and even sleepy, and it may drive you to a more sedentary lifestyle.
- Calorie consumption: Most people do not realize how many calories they consume while they are drinking, either. Adding these extra calories to your diet and eliminating physical activity is a recipe for weight gain. Some people are motivated to exercise due to the anxiety of gaining weight. Alcohol reduces the anxiety and, therefore, that motivation. When the effects of the alcohol wear off, you may be too disappointed with yourself to exercise.
- Metabolism: When you drink alcohol with a meal, your body metabolizes the food differently. Your body burns the carbohydrates in the alcohol first and may ignore the food. When food intake is not burned for fuel, it is stored as fat. In this way, consistent alcohol intake can redistribute the fat on your body, causing you to pack on more pounds from the same diet.
Alcohol and Weight Loss
For some people, alcohol promotes weight loss. This is also not a healthy condition. Alcohol can make your stomach feel full, but the calories in alcohol cannot replace food, and it does not carry any nutrition.
Alcohol consumption can raise the acidity of your stomach, too. The increased acid level may promote vomiting, which is corrosive to your digestive system. Too much stomach acid can also disturb digestion and cause bowel troubles or ulcers. Poorly functioning digestion can lead to weight loss or gain, depending on how your body reacts to these conditions.
Know When to Seek Help
Alcohol consumption that is excessive or consistent will likely affect your weight. It can be difficult to realize that you have a problem because changes in your weight may happen slowly. Here are some signs to look for:
- More than one alcoholic drink per day
- Exceeding four drinks in one session more than once a week
- Changes in your exercise routine
- Weight gain without a change in food consumption
- Skipping meals when you are drinking
- Digestive issues, especially after drinking
- Weight loss without change in your diet
- Puffy appearance without any discernible cause
When you are consuming enough alcohol to affect your weight and the shape of your body, you have a problem. It is not possible to adjust your food intake or exercise routine to balance the metabolic changes caused by alcohol, you must address your drinking habits.
It is difficult to recognize this problem in yourself. Most often, someone close to you will notice these signs before you do. Understand that when you reach this point, you need help. These are indications of alcoholism, and addiction does not resolve itself.
If you have the strength to realize you need help with your alcohol problem and the courage to reach out for help, Brookhaven has the expertise to guide you through recovery. You deserve to look and feel your best, but that cannot be achieved with alcohol.
At Brookhaven Retreat, we will help you heal your brain and regain a healthy lifestyle. When you need help with addiction, Brookhaven is the comfortable, supportive environment you deserve.