May 02, 2024

Why Women Should Cut Alcohol to Lose Weight

The Qilo Team avatar
The Qilo Team
Dr Victoria Abbey avatar
Medically reviewed BY
Dr Victoria Abbey
Weight Loss
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Picture this: You've spent countless hours at the gym, diligently tracked every calorie, and yet the scale stubbornly refuses to budge. If you find yourself in this frustrating scenario, there's one often-overlooked culprit that could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts: alcohol. Whether it's a casual glass of wine after work, weekend cocktails with friends, or festive drinks at celebrations, alcohol can stealthily undermine your hard-earned progress. This article uncovers why significantly reducing or cutting back on alcohol is pivotal for women aiming to achieve their weight loss goals.

How Alcohol Affects Weight

Let's delve into the multifaceted ways in which alcohol can hinder weight loss:

  • Empty Calories: Deception in a Glass Alcoholic beverages, while enjoyable, offer little to no nutritional value – just a deceptive abundance of "empty calories." Each standard drink packs a caloric punch. For instance, a regular beer has around 150 calories, a glass of wine around 125, and a margarita can set you back by a whopping 300 calories or more. These liquid calories add up rapidly, contributing significantly to your daily intake without providing any genuine satiety.
  • Impaired Judgment: The Downfall of Inhibitions Alcohol diminishes inhibitions and alters your decision-making abilities. The "loosening up" effect can easily lead to late-night binges on high-calorie comfort foods or greasy snacks, choices you may not have otherwise made when clear-headed.
  • Fat Burning Takes a Backseat: Your body prioritizes metabolizing alcohol before other substances, including fats. This means that, whenever alcohol is present, your body's fat-burning mechanisms essentially hit the pause button.
  • Appetite Stimulation: Cravings Amplified: Research suggests that alcohol can activate areas of the brain responsible for hunger, making you feel hungrier than usual. This can lead to overeating and consuming extra calories.
  • Sleep Disruption: The Weight Loss Saboteur: While alcohol might initially make you feel drowsy, it interferes with your natural sleep cycles. Chronic sleep deprivation disrupts the balance of hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism, such as cortisol and ghrelin. A rested body is far better equipped to manage cravings and make healthy food choices.

Alcohol and Weight Gain

woman drinking wine

Don't be fooled into thinking that only excessive alcohol intake leads to weight gain. Regular, even moderate drinking, can be a major roadblock on your weight loss journey:

  • Social Calories: The Trap of Conviviality: Alcohol is frequently consumed in social settings, often accompanied by appetizers, meals, and snacks. While the food itself might be on your "approved" list, when combined with the additional drink calories, it can quickly derail your efforts.
  • Dehydration: Mistaking Thirst for Hunger: Alcohol's diuretic nature increases urination, leading to mild dehydration. This can masquerade as hunger, encouraging unnecessary snacking and unwanted calorie intake.
  • Hidden Sugars - The Sweet Deceivers: Many popular cocktails, wine coolers, flavored beers, and ciders are surprisingly laden with sugars, pushing their calorie content through the roof.
  • Gender Differences - Why Women Are More Affected: Women's bodies generally metabolize alcohol less efficiently than men's. This means alcohol lingers in a woman’s system for longer, potentially maximizing its negative impact on weight management efforts.

Mindful Drinking for Weight Loss

Reducing alcohol doesn't have to mean eliminating it altogether. Here's how to practice mindful drinking for weight loss success:

  • Set Realistic Limits: Decide on a weekly limit for alcoholic drinks and stick to it. Aim for at least three or four alcohol-free days each week.
  • Hydration is Key: Alternate between alcoholic drinks and plain water to slow down your intake and prevent dehydration.
  • Choose Wisely: Low-Calorie Alternatives Opt for light beers, dry wines, clear spirits with club soda and lime, or vodka sodas.
  • Manage Portions: Measure and Stick to It Avoid oversized glasses and stick to standard serving sizes to keep calorie counts in check.
  • Don't Drink on an Empty Stomach: Alcohol-induced cravings are harder to fight off when you're hungry. Have a light, nutritious meal or snack before consuming alcohol.
  • The Power of Mocktails: Explore the exciting world of non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Shift Your Social Focus: Instead of always meeting friends or potential dates at a bar, suggest activities that don't center around alcohol. Grab a coffee, try a fitness class, visit a museum, or go for a hike.

Benefits of Reducing Alcohol Consumption

The perks of minimizing alcohol intake reach far beyond the numbers on the scale:

  • Improved Sleep: The Key to Balanced Hormones Better quality, undisrupted sleep naturally leads to a more balanced hormonal profile. This is crucial for healthy weight management and overall well-being.
  • Reduced Visceral Fat: Protecting Your Health: Visceral fat, the kind that surrounds internal organs, is particularly harmful to health. Cutting back on alcohol significantly aids in reducing this dangerous belly fat.
  • Liver Regeneration: Give it a Break Your liver plays a vital role in metabolism and breaking down toxins. Reducing alcohol consumption allows your liver to recover and function optimally, which helps support your overall health and weight management.
  • Mental Clarity: Focus and Productivity Better sleep and reduced alcohol intake lead to improved concentration, sharper focus, and more efficient decision-making.
  • Increased Energy: Power Up Naturally When alcohol isn't taxing your system, you'll discover greater energy reserves. This makes workouts more enjoyable and productive, and your daily tasks easier to tackle.
  • Glowing Skin: Natural Radiance Dehydration wreaks havoc on your skin. By reducing your alcohol consumption, you allow your body to rehydrate effectively, giving your skin a healthy, luminous glow.

Tips for Success

Alcohol lifestyle

To successfully navigate your alcohol reduction journey, consider these tips:

  • Track Your Progress: Awareness is Power Keep a log of your alcohol intake using a food journal or a dedicated app. The act of tracking in itself can be a strong motivator for change.
  • Consult Your Doctor: Especially for Heavy Drinkers If you're concerned about your relationship with alcohol, or if you typically consume large amounts, speak to your doctor. They can give you personalized support and guidance for safe reduction, including help with withdrawal symptoms if needed.
  • Find Your Support Group: Strength in Numbers** Enlist a friend, partner, or family member to join you in this journey. Mutual support significantly boosts your chances for success.
  • Celebrate Non-Alcohol Victories: Reinforce the Positive Reward yourself for milestones reached, whether it's a week of being alcohol-free or choosing mocktails at a big event. Use treats and experiences that don't involve food or alcohol to stay motivated.

It's vital to remember that abstaining completely from alcohol might not be the best or safest option for everyone. Conditions like pregnancy, breastfeeding, use of certain medications, or specific health issues warrant absolute avoidance of alcohol. Always consult your physician before significantly altering your alcohol intake.


Weight loss is often a complex journey, and focusing on nutritious food and exercise is essential. However, paying attention to your alcohol consumption is equally important, especially for women. By understanding how alcohol impacts your body and mind, and by implementing strategies for mindful drinking, you'll be far better equipped to smash your weight loss goals. Remember, it's not just about the numbers on the scale; it's about unlocking a healthier, more vibrant, and energized version of yourself!

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