If will power alone was enough to give up certain things in our lives we would all be skinny athletes turning up to the Olympics to give our national competitors a run for their money – but we’re not!
Will power is not very powerful in fact it is designed to help us survive rather than give us the means to be healthful, by today’s measures.
We give into indulgent foods easily because they contain lots of calories hence keeping us alive – these cravings date back a very long time when food was scarce and we chased it to survive, ‘eat when you can’ is hard-wired into our DNA, more ‘energy’ the better!
Will power is therefore a poor means of continued success if you are giving up the booze for a period of time. Dry July is currently underway and people are giving their livers a rest to either raise money for charity, see if they can do it or just to have a change. If success for the 31 days is your goal then you need other processes in place – Will power alone will not work – because it’s not designed to!
Of the three biochemical means of metabolising alcohol, none result in its direct conversion to fat. However, research from several centres shows that our inhibitions go down when we have a drink. Hence those fattening salted peanuts look more appealing, and the means of resisting are less after a few drinks. Food intake also tends to increase when alcohol is drunk with a meal. Some studies show this could be as much as 200 calories (840 kilo joules) per meal, which could mean an extra kilo (couple of pounds) every month or so. This is particularly so if the meal is preceded by high fat pre-dinner snacks and alcohol (e.g. beer and peanuts or chips/crisps).
Your body’s ability to burn fat drops after alcohol consumption – Why? Because when the alcohol in your blood is broken down by your liver, it is converted into a waste product called acetate. When acetate levels rise, your body burns acetate for fuel instead of the fat you are trying to lose. Your liver can only do so many jobs at once, removing toxins is always at the top of the list above all else, if you keep pouring booze in, a number of other process take a back seat….. = weight gain.
Strategies to assist:
- Have a “go-to” drink for the times when you feel like a glass of your preferred tipple (no coloured fizzies!)
- Keep tempation out of the house – same rules as for the chocky biccies
- Go for a walk or play a game – if you get to that point in the day when you might normally have a drink
- Distractions – start cooking dinner, drink more water, break the habit you have built up over time
- Realise there are times you would normally drink – also realise it’s just a habit
- At social occasions don’t feel you have to justify – “I’m not drinking tonight” should be enough, people may be curious but it’s up to you how much more you say
When it’s all over:
Celebrate your success but don’t go overboard and fill the extra space you have gained in the recycle bin otherwise it really was for nothing, binging is worse and a couple each night. Having said that at least 3 to 4 consecutive days of AFD’s (alcohol free days) per week is a great thing for your body. Not only your liver will thank you but so will your skin – want to stay young, there you go.
Good luck – help each other.