There’s one habit most midlife women find the hardest to shake to undermine their weightloss efforts. Make it work for you, rather than against you, and weightloss becomes so much easier.
What is that one habit?
A glass (or three) of alcohol every night. I can talk about this subject – because it was me a few years ago.
Why at midlife? In my experience of working mostly with midlife women, many of us have one weakness. We love a glass of wine (or three) with our evening meal. I’m not judging whether we should or shouldn’t, I’m simply going to give you the picture. (Sugar does the same thing, but for now, let’s talk about alcohol).
Here’s some stats to keep in mind before we go too much further.
White Wine – approx. 280cal/1170kJ per 375ml (3 glasses and you’ve almost blown your days calories). Many diet experts will say the average woman needs to keep her calories around 1200 to 1500 a day to shed weight.
So even with enjoying just a couple of glasses of light white wine, we can be consuming over 600 calories. Now, I’m not usually a calorie counter – I’m a waist measurer, but when weight LOSS is the goal, we need to think about where the bulk of our calories are being consumed. And if it’s in our social drinks of an evening, that means some pretty serious work needs to be done to burn it off or some major caloric depletion will need to happen with the food we eat. That’s NOT usually the way any of us want to go.
Other sneaky ways alcohol affects us. ….
- Promotes appetite – no wonder we feel extra hungry at night after a few glasses and our portion sizes are out of control.
- Decreases self control. I noticed this a few years ago when I made the decision my weight needed to shift. I’d start with a champagne while cooking dinner. That was lovely, lightened my mood, conversation flowed and it went down very easily. 2nd glass was with the meal. After all, isn’t every meal much more enjoyable with a glass of wine? By the time that glass was consumed, I’d lost any kind of will, so thought ‘what the heck, I’ll go a third glass.’ After all, I did want to sleep well and why put the bottle back in the fridge? It’s never the same the next day. But the thing was I woke up the next morning feeling thick, sludgy, headachey, dehydrated and it took forever for me to start to function into the day. I was watching myself age. See my ‘classes’ page and you’ll see the before and after pics.
Alcohol is not a good idea late in the evening close to bedtime – here’s why.
- Metabolic path for alcohol leans towards fat store. In simple language, if these empty calories are consumed late at night, they’re stored straight on our stomach, back and thighs. Our liver, which at midlife is often overworked, simply doesn’t process it well.
- It undermines our efforts physiologically and psychologically.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What purpose does the alcohol serve?
- Is it social, does it numb feelings, lighten your mood?
- Is it a habit that’s built over time?
- Do you love the taste or how you feel with a glass of wine?
- Does it relax you?
- Does the glass feel good in your hand?
Who we spend most of our time with could affect whether we stay healthy or not!
Who in your life keeps encouraging you to lose your resolve? This is a serious question because many women I work with will tell me their other half is a drinker and they feel the need to drink with that person. My own husband was a big drinker when we married but he’s seen what it can do to his health and even though it took a long time, he’s worked on his drinking habit and his health is so much better for it. Do you have friends, a partner, a workplace, a social calendar or some other pressure to keep you with a wine glass in your hand? I remember working in an office years ago that had a serious alcohol culture. Most evenings after work meant ‘drinks’. It almost always got into heavy drinking and many mornings were accompanied by a dull headache, and compromised thinking. While I was young, it was fun. It was something to laugh and joke about the next morning, but it was serious. That had to stop once I felt it’s hold on me.
So here’s a solution that worked for me without depriving me of the enjoyment of my glass of ‘wine’.
It’s soda water!!! Yes, really – stay with me here.
I take my favourite wine glass, fill most of it with soda water and put just a dash (like just a tablespoon) of my wine of choice in the soda water. I also squeezed in some lemon juice. This photo is not fabulous, but it’s actually a glass of soda water, a touch of pear cider, a squeeze of lemon and a slice of lemon. It looks like wine, it gives me the hint of taste, the ‘feeling’ of drinking my wine from my wine glass. It’s cold, it’s refreshing, and I’m consuming way less calories and it’s much better for my liver.
And it works!
I eventually got to the stage of just the soda water and lemon, and couldn’t believe how well I slept and how good I felt. I was waking up clearer, brighter and a pleasant side effect was weightloss. I actually still enjoyed myself while out with friends and no one needed to know what I was drinking.
Another tip for the party circuit: When you need to take your own wine to a party and don’t need the aggravation from well meaning friends or family – take an old favourite wine bottle, fill it with soda water, a splash of apple juice and a dash of the wine you love if you want the taste. If your tipple of choice is vodka – take an empty bottle, fill it with purified water, have a few slices of lemon in your glass and no one need know unless they take a mouthful out of your glass.
I dropped almost 2 kgs every 10 days or so simply by dropping my alcohol habit. My brain fog cleared, my skin looked better, my energy increased and I started to like the way I looked in the mirror again.
Then a client asked me – So once the weight is off – how do I work my way back again?
I’d hope that by the time your weight is off, you’re also noticing a boost in health and energy and your liver is happier, your hot flushes have reduced, your mind is clearer and you’d find going backwards a not so sensible move. Could you manage to NOT go back to the full 2 or 3 glasses of wine a night? Have a deep and meaningful discussion with your liver, your waistline and your brain. I knew if I did my weight would not creep back on, it would run back to find me and not only would I put the weight on that I’d lost, I’d find more. I also know my liver would be compromised, my energy levels and concentration would suffer and my skin would start to aged. Nothing ages us more than sugar and alcohol. Maybe smoking, but they’re the top 3!!!
But I do get it, so if you need to have a real drink, how about keeping it to just the weekend and don’t go on a binge. Give your liver at least 4 alcohol free days a week – trust me it will thank you.
How I work with my clients
We start by giving the gut and liver some help with quality pre and pro biotics and a liver support supplement. We talk about the emotion and hook of alcohol and food and work out a plan to move forward. I often say when the scalpel or medication is not an option, come and see a holistic health coach. It doesn’t happen overnight, but when you feel yourself coming out the other side it’s a wonderful feeling.
As a Food, Nutrition, Yoga and Meditation Coach who’s also gone through my own journey, my passion now is working with midlife women to bring them back to a sense of wellness, vitality, strength and youthfulness that they thought they’d lost.
Want to talk to me about our Liver Detox and Support Plan? It’s simple, cost effective and you don’t have to change up what you eat. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Email me on email@example.com or let’s arrange an obligation free phonecall or coffee to see how we can work together.