How alcohol affects weight gain

And what happens inside your body when consumed.

It’s a Saturday night, and you’re at home, hosting a party with a bunch of your friends and family. As you’re chatting away with everyone, and dancing around, you start to smell something burning. This sets off alarms in your brain… “what the heck is that smell? Where’s it coming from? What’s happening?” Your focus shifts immediately to the burning smell. Soon enough, everyone notices it. It doesn’t take long for you to locate it — it’s coming from the kitchen — the oven is on fire.

You now have two options — you either ignore it completely, allow the fire to do its thing, keep dancing, and enjoy yourself, or, you drop everything you’re doing, you stop chatting, and you get all your focus on getting that fire out. After all, it’s toxic to your home, to your guests, and to your belongings, right? Do you care about what your guests think at this point? Do you care about their judgment of your party? Of course not, you’re house is in danger of going in flames — it’s time to do whatever it takes to put that fire out!

You do everything you can to put it out — fire extinguishers, fire blankets, you call the fire fighters just in case. Luckily enough, you’ve put the fire out before it got bad. Calmness is restored, and the damage is minimal. Thank goodness for that — the fire is out.

Now, you must be thinking at this point of the story — “what does this have to do with alcohol causing weight gain?”

The metaphoric fire invading the house, and setting off your mental alarms to get it out as quickly as possible, dropping everything in the process, and focusing all your attention on that fire, is exactly what happens in your body when you drink alcohol.

You see, the body recognises alcohol as a poison. Alcohol is toxic to the body. Whenever you consume alcohol, alarms set off in your brain, and tell the body to forget everything you’re doing, and do whatever it takes to get rid of this poison.

At this point, the body is using alcohol as the energy to fuel your activity, in order to get it out of your system. This means that whatever food you’re consuming at the time will be put to the side and forgotten about for a while, until the alcohol is dealt with. Much like in the story, where your attention is taken off the enjoyment of your guests, and full focus is put on getting the fire out.

The body puts food energy aside, to place a priority on using the alcohol as energy, and this leads to body fat being put on. The reason for this, is due to what I call the ‘carbohydrate dam’, or ‘carb dam’ for short. This is a metaphoric dam in your body, where food energy goes to be stored. When you have excess energy for what you require, that excess energy will go in the carb dam. The more excess energy you have, the more this carb dam fills up. Once it gets to the top and overflows, all the overflow turns into body fat.

My best advice when it comes to consuming alcohol, is firstly, to limit as much of it as you can. You don’t need to cut it out completely to live a fit and healthy lifestyle — but you do need to moderate it. Have it on special occasions, or have some every once in a while. And when you do consume it, do your best to avoid high-carbohydrate foods.

Lastly, let me just remind you that fitness is not a state of being, but a state of action — your fitness success lies in the small actions and decisions that you make on a daily basis — form a habit of making the right decisions, and you will already be on the path to a fitter, healthier you.

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