Step 1 To Losing Weight – Sober Up and Stop Drinking Alcohol

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When I made the decision to transform my life and reinvent myself, I understood that it required the willingness and a desire to change everything. The very first thing I had to commit to change about myself was to stop abusing alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol held me back from everything I had once been, and anything I wanted to become. As long as I continued to drink I would never control the path of my own destiny. Once I changed this fundamental aspect of my behavior, I was able to take the next step forward.

There are different reasons that individuals choose to change. For some, it is gradual. For others, the choice to correct certain aspects of one’s life comes with a price that weighs heavily upon the spirit. For me, it took a crisis which came to climax over several years of abuse and personal neglect, only to end when divine intervention stepped in and forced me to stop.

For several years, I let myself go. I was just too busy caring for others who were ill and I neglected to make the necessary effort it took to care for myself. I depended on alcohol and other prescription medications to numb my senses and relieve the anxiety, fear, and worry that filled every cell in my body. Over the course of about six years, I had gained 100 pounds!

In order to lose the weight, I had to stop drinking. I had tried to lose weight many times before, but I refused to give up the booze, so I was unsuccessful. One day, I decided to sit down and add up the calories I consumed in alcohol on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Because I didn’t drink as much during the work week, but drank huge quantities on the weekend, I averaged out the numbers to cover the entire week. Here is what I learned.

weight-loss-steps-beer-bread

On average, I consumed 4 large drinks per day. I drank beer, wine and hard liquor. The beer I drank was not low-calorie and I preferred pints to bottles. I also drank 16 ounce cans served from a large glass with a tequila shot. I prepared my cocktails in 16 ounce glasses with 4-5 shots of alcohol per glass. I also drank it straight from the bottle to get an extra kick! I had once appreciated fine wine and champagne, but as my dependency grew, I no longer purchased wine to enjoy for its flavor. I was drinking only for its effect. I hid the extent of my drinking as well as I could, but as my life began to evolve around booze, my health suffered because of it and I began to look like a drinker.

It’s really impossible for me to give you an accurate accounting of the alcohol calories I consumed during my drinking days, but as I stated earlier, I averaged four large drinks per day. I’ve come to the conclusion that I consumed approximately 1,000+ calories per day alone, in alcohol. I consumed 7,000+ extra calories per week in alcohol, or 28,000+ extra calories per month. One pound of extra body fat is calculated at 3,500 calories stored. If this calculation is correct, I was consuming about two extra pounds per week, or eight extra pounds per month in alcohol calories alone! Because the body doesn’t technically store the calories from alcohol, I assume I stored every single calorie from the food I ate in body fat. The calories in alcohol do not reflect the calories I also consumed in snack foods that I ate because I was drinking. When you think about the numbers, it’s no wonder I got so fat over the years. Once I quit drinking, I also stopped overeating.

Here are some facts for you to consider if you find yourself drinking more than you should and are wondering why you aren’t losing the weight.

Alcohol and Weight Loss
Each year, many people attempt to lose weight but continue to drink alcohol. Very few individuals are successful at losing weight until they give up the booze. Here is why:

  • weight-loss-steps-beerAlcohol supplies only empty calories and offers no nutritional benefits. Alcohol is made up of sugars and carbohydrates that are metabolized in the liver and burned off first by the body. The body considers alcohol to be a toxin. Alcohol actually slows down the process by which your body burns fat because it converts it into acetate, which is burned before any other calories. As long as you have alcohol in your body, you will not metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, or fats. The more you drink, the more alcohol must be metabolized before other calories, therefore, all other calories will be stored as fat.
  • Alcohol stimulates your appetite and reduces your will power. Alcohol not only slows down your metabolism, it actually makes you want to eat more of the foods you would not be inclined to eat if you didn’t drink. Because alcohol relieves your inhibitions, you make increasingly poor choices that undermine your weight loss goals and endanger your health. Alcohol impairs your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the foods you eat, so many people who drink too much, are malnourished. Alcohol also inhibits your body’s ability to make glucose and to maintain healthy levels within your bloodstream.
  • Alcohol suppresses lipid oxidation, with non-oxidized lipids being deposited into the abdominal region and stored as fat.
  • Alcohol slows down weight loss by suppressing the brain’s ability to know when to say enough is enough! Alcohol also can cause poor sleep patterns, which by itself can cause weight gain in mature individuals. Sleep is imperative to good health. When you don’t sleep well, you make poor diet choices, you don’t exercise, and your metabolism slows down, too.

If you want to lose weight and improve your health, but find it a challenge to give up the alcohol, please contact me and we will work on a plan designed with you in mind. Remember that, “Because I’ve Gone Through it, I’ll Help You Get Through it!”

Step 1: Sober Up | Step 2: Improve Your Diet | Step 3: Condition Your Body
Step 4: Put Your Best Face Forward | Step 5: Get Rid of Clutter | Step 6: Learn to Relax
Step 7: Attitude for Success | Step 8: Go After What You Want

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About Author

Renee Haxby

Renee Haxby provides a diverse variety of personal lifestyle and wellness coaching programs to clients residing in the Pacific Northwest, and on-line in several different formats to women nationwide. The primary purpose is to teach others to overcome challenges, achieve goals, and reinvent oneself through healthy options for success. See my profile page for more information!

78 Comments

  1. I am suffering with a similar problem. I tend to care too much for others and neglect myself all together. Drinking started as a social event on weekends but with the increasing problems in my life and an on-off relationship, my drinking increased to pretty much every night. Went to work everyday and still am, exhausted without eating breakfast or lunch; only dinner. Over the course of time I gained 70 lbs and went 6 sizes up, most of the weight went to my stomach and I feel bloated all the time. Due to my relationship with (as of last week) now my ex (yes it is the on-off relationship i mentioned earlier) that lasted for 7 years, I have no social life. School is on hold until fall semester and that stresses me out as well because I still have no idea what to major in. I am not who I was before. All in all, I am just completely lost but I know I still have some fight left in me and the drive to make a change in my life. Reading your story made me remember that I am not alone in this, that many people go through trials in their life and overcome whatever problems they are facing. Your story gives me hope and the strength to admit that I don’t have it all figured out and I need guidance/help. Thank you for that. 🙂

    • You are not alone. We all feel this way at one time or another. The important thing is realizing we need change and taking control of our lives. As difficult as it may sound, we are not alone.

      • Michele Caldwell on

        I couldn’t agree with you more. I am in the same boat as the author of this article and was equaling the amount of alcohol that she consumed. I got worried because I was having memory blackouts. I was drinking strong alcoholic beverages (1 drink was the equivalent of 4 drinks). I liked my booze strong. Then after consuming it I would fall asleep. I also slept very poorly during the night. I eventually went to my doctor asking for help. I am 7 days sober and on the way to recovery. I do not want to be “that person” any longer. I want to lose weight, gain back my control and look after my body.

    • I also have experienced major weight gain over the years because of drinking myself into a stuper every night. Reading your story was very good for me because I have tried to lose the weight while still drinking heavy.

    • Oh wow, I can really relate to your story! I am 40 days sober now and I feel great. I have always been a caretaker. I think it is pretty natural for women to take this role on. We just need to add ourselves to this caretaking. We need care too. I do yoga now and take time for just me. I love my life sober. I also can’t wait got this alcohol weight off. Thankfully it’s just 20 pounds. At this point I’ll be thankful when I lose 5 pounds. My normal weight has always been 135-140 pounds. Do something that’s just for you every day!

  2. I have given up drinking wine and infuriatingly I have not lost any weight. It has been 5 weeks now! I used to drink between 30-50 units per week. I have definitely been healthier with my food choices as well. Does the weight take ages to come off? or what is happening?!

    • shapefit

      I recommend looking at other areas of your overall diet to find the culprit. Many times it’s hidden calories in other liquids (coffee drinks, sodas, etc.) or added oils/butter when cooking meals. You should also look closely at your exercise program and make sure you’re using the right cardio exercises to burn enough calories to lose weight.

      • I don’t drink anything but water now. The point I am making is that I hear about people that stop drinking and lose loads of weight fast without changing anything else. I have increased my excercise and I haven’t eaten junk food for ages and yet no weight loss. Am I a freak or does everyone else have a much more serious drinking problem than I did before they quit hence the dramatic weight loss that I cannot get by giving up drinking alcohol alone.

        • shapefit

          It could possibly be a hormonal issue also. You might want to have your doctor do a complete metabolic panel via blood labs to check your hormones and other important items. If these numbers are off it could possibly lead to issues with continued weight loss.

        • Salena, Like you, it has been bang on 5 weeks for me also and NO weight loss. I am so disappointed and let down. I have, and am medicated forType 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure, because of my weight and the last 15 years of alcohol intake. I was drinking 1 to, some nights, 1.5 bottles of wine per night – 7 nights a week. That equates to minimum 5,250 calories per week just in alcohol. I have never been a snacker and NEVER nibbled on anything while i was drinking, i was just drinking. Other than that, my diet has always been very sensible and healthy. I stick to healthy portions and am very mindful of calorie content in what i eat. So as it is realistic and reasonable for the long term, i stick to around 1700 calories per day along with daily exercise. No sugary drinks – only water and the odd diet soda – that is my lot. Then why hasn’t my weight dropped? I am currently 103.1kg, 5’4″ and female and I am feeling so ripped off right now. All GP’s say “just cut down on alcohol, watch what you eat and excercise and the weight will fall off”. Yeah, right! Not so with me! Apart from my T2 Diabetes, my bloods all came back normal for thyroid function etc. It is very, very difficult to stay motivated when these major adjustments amount to no weight drop. With such a deficit in calories per month, honestly, you’d think some of this hideous weight would have shifted! It’s enough to drive you to drink!

        • Same here. Cut booze and kept everything else the same, with less junk food after midnight and I still gained weight. I think the alcohol was keeping my belly with a “full feeling” but I was actually eating less.

          • I have read that eating within a couple hours of going to bed can cause weight gain, regardless of being healthy or not

          • ShapeFit

            Hi Dave – It really depends on what you eat. If it’s starchy or sugary carbs (potatoes, bread, rice, fruit) which spike insulin then those foods will have a tendency to pack on body fat. If you stick to lean protein (egg whites, chicken breast) then you should be fine. Casein protein is also a great option since it’s a slow releasing protein and can be found in cottage cheese. You can also take a casein protein supplement later at night.

        • DaddyLongShanks on

          You could be gaining muscle and losing fat. So, the weight does not change much on the scale? Do you feel like your body is harder and you have less fat?

      • I have stopped drinking a few times in my life. I was not a very heavy drinker and would only consume about 1-3 light beers a day. At the time, I wasn’t working to lose weight, it just sort of happened. However, each time I noticed that after about a year I was 10-20 pounds lighter without having really thought about it. It didn’t happen right away. I think the first six months I just stopped gaining that half a pound a month that was barely noticeable. It’s not just the calories that are the issue. The hormonal and behavioral shifts that happen over time have slower results. Quitting alcohol just removes one barrier to developing healthier habits. You still have to work on making better food choices and getting in enough activity. Not drinking makes those things more likely.

  3. Just because you aren’t eating junk food, doesn’t mean you will lose weight. If you are eating breads, pastas and high carb foods, they pack on the pounds.

    • People keep missing the point I was making which is that alcohol isn’t as bad for your waist line as they say especially white wine.

      • That’s all I drank and I’ve been sober since January 1st. I’ve already lost 5-10 pounds in just 19 days! White wine on average has about 625 calories a bottle and I could polish off a bottle easily by myself. A really good workout at the gym might only burn about half of those calories.

        • I was up to 2 bottles every second or third night and am on day 4 of sobriety. This is the longest I’ve gone in months. I already feel lighter as I’ve been losing water weight and bloating. I also don’t seem to crave carbs like I did. I always ate the worst food after drinking. Things I would never eat sober. I hope this will be it. I don’t even recognize myself anymore.

    • shapefit

      Joshua – If you can control your portions, it should be fine to have a few drinks on the weekend (2-3 drinks). Just make sure they are on the “cleaner” side and stick with light beers, clear alcohol like vodka with sugar free mixers (diet tonic, diet Red Bull) or some red wine. If you can’t control your drinking and tend to go overboard, then it’s best to avoid it completely.

      • Yes, I was wondering the same thing sort of. I used to drink up to 7 days a week and I had multiple drinks a day. But if I’m counting food calories and only drinking on the weekends now, will I lose weight? Or, will what I drink on the weekend undo my weekday progress? A person would think cutting down like that would help you lose weight, but I want to make sure. Thanks!

        • shapefit

          Hi Nichole – Since weight loss is based on calories in versus calories out, you could possibly swing in the wrong direction if you go overboard with the alcoholic drinks on the weekends. Stick with 1-2 drinks on the weekends and focus on “cleaner” drinks like red wine and clear alcohol (vodka) with sugar free mixers if you’re going that route. If you start gaining with just a few drinks now and then, it’s probably your overall diet that is the culprit. Keep a detailed food journal each week and start documenting everything so you can find the hidden calories that might be sabotaging your weight loss plan.

  4. While most of this is accurate, I would like to correct your statement regarding alcohol and glucose. Alcohol can cause insulin resistance, which is what leads to diabetes. It’s not because your body stops producing glucose; rather, alcohol causes a surge in insulin, which over time leads to insulin resistance and diabetes.

  5. If you have quit drinking a lot of alcohol and you are not seeing a drop on the scale, have your doctor check your liver function. Your liver filters everything, including fat, and if it’s malfunctioning it can cause your weight to stagnate. Also, weight lifting. Build up muscle. Alcohol makes your muscles unable to develop, and atrophy if you’re drinking enough, so building that back up is important to successful recovery. I also used to drink 2 bottles of wine a day, or a enormous amount of vodka.

  6. I’m doing 30 days of no alcohol and not changing anything else just to see what happens with my weight. I’m only on day three, but will let you know what happens as my experiment goes on.

  7. I stopped drinking alcohol exactly two weeks ago and have not tried to eat less in any way. I have lost 3 pounds so far!

  8. I need help. I was addicted to pain meds after I broke my leg and couldn’t have surgery because of my malignant hyperthermia. I was on pain patches and narco for 2 years and I abused it. Then my foot/leg doctor left so I had to deal with it myself and I found comfort in alcohol. 4 years later, it’s so hard to let it go because of that quick buzz that makes me feel good. I workout every day but it’s only to maintain my weight which is about 190 pounds. I wanted to go to rehab but unless you’re rich or in trouble, you really can’t get help. I hope to kick it and get on the path you’re on 🙂

  9. I have given up alcohol (3-4 bottles per week) for 8 days. No weight loss yet but I do feel much better. I’ve written 750 calories per bottle on my chalkboard as a reminder!

  10. A friend of mine referred this article to me because I decided that I wanted to try giving up alcohol for a while to see how it would affect my ability to lose weight. Thank you for writing this. A lot of the things you mentioned are the exact feelings that I have had. I also suffer from depression, and at some point, alcohol stopped being something that was just nice to have from time to time and it became how I dealt with stress. This article has helped put a lot of things in perspective for me. Thank you so much for writing this!

  11. All this alcohol talk makes me want to drink. I go to the bathroom and look at my double chin and muffin top and say “No more alcohol until I lose 15 pounds!” I used to be so fit and could drink and eat whatever I wanted. Getting old blows!

  12. Chiming in like others. I used to drink 20-25 shots every Friday and Saturday mixed with diet soda. I calculated I was taking in about 2,600 calories per weekend in drinks! Other than that, my diet was very strict. Its been 2 weeks without drinking and have yet to lose a single pound. I have been running around 20 miles a week with a strict diet, but still no weight loss. I guess some don’t gain/lose weight with alcohol?

  13. It’s pretty basic math. Just figure out how many calories you must have to stay at your current weight and consume less then that. Alcohol has destroyed many lives, just like any other drug.

  14. This article is so true. I was doing the same things. For many years, I let myself go in every way. I gained an incredible amount of weight (about 60 pounds). You see, I have a bad habit of taking care of others and neglecting myself, even when they treat me poorly. I still don’t have any friends and that’s embarrassing to admit, but it’s true. I was drinking every single day to numb myself. I would cry and cry all alone. I’m still alone. But guess what? I haven’t touched a drink in more than two months. I can see my body changing. My stomach used to look really swelled. It’s slowly returning to normal. I am losing weight. I bought myself a Nutri Ninja and am drinking healthy drinks now. I am caring for myself now. This is just a little message for anyone that is feeling down and I want you to know to never give up on yourself. There are others out there that know how you feel. I know how you feel. Keep your chin up. Love and blessings 🙂

  15. Help! Quit drinking 2 wks ago and am really craving a glass of wine. I workout daily, eat well but haven’t noticed much difference since I quit drinking. Losing willpower tonight!

    • Try drinking sparkling water which you can get at your local grocery store. I have been drinking this for a while. It has no calories, no sodium, but some products do have Aspartame (artificial sweetener). I’ve noticed that when I drink it I did not have cravings.

    • You can do it! I am 40 days sober and feel great. I wouldn’t pick up a drink for anything at this point but I have slipped up at times because I wasn’t ready. I am ready now and willing to do anything to stay sober. Meetings have helped me a lot!

    • Hey Belinda – I just saw your post from a while ago. I hope you’re on top of your game by now! I was drinking ridiculous amounts of red wine for nearly 2 years. I was depressed and just wanted to NOT be, so I drank myself to sleep as soon as I was awake. 3 days ago I decided I could not deal with withdrawals anymore because it’s literally the worst thing ever. I felt suicidal and lost self esteem. After modeling for 10 years and running successful businesses, all of a sudden I felt nothing but disgust for myself. I went from 53kg to nearly 60kg and I couldn’t look in the mirror. So I went to doctor and told him I can’t do this anymore. I had some blood tests done and they came back scary. My doctor prescribed Campral in combination with Naltrexone and vitamin B1 (thiamine) to help get me off booze. I was skeptical about pills being a solution but I was wrong! I can’t stress enough how wrong I was. It’s been only 3 days so far without booze, but I haven’t had three days without alcohol in 2 years! And I don’t care about it at all! These meds restore your brain to the natural state of NOT needing alcohol and not having every cell of your brain and CNS enslaved and depressed at all times. After my first two pills, alcohol was simply off the agenda, just like that. I want to fly right now! I hope you’re done with alcohol. But if there’s someone who still wants out and needs a leg up, this could be just the thing to consider. Try seeing your GP, get your liver function tested and ask your doctor about Campral, Naltrexone and vitamin B1 to treat withdrawals and dependence. It really worked for me when I had very little hope left. Sending love and support 🙂

  16. My last drink was six days ago. I’m a 35 year old female who weighs 146 pounds at 5’4″. I feel very uncomfortable at this weight. The scale has gone down 1.5 pounds since my last drink. I’m eating about 2,000 calories per day, which is a few hundred less than what I was eating. I used to drink pretty heavily, about 10 units of bourbon mixed with diet coke every other day. It was a form of escape because it immediately takes the pain and boredom away. I’m trying to lose weight and get my health back because I was miserable and I think drinking and gaining weight only made me want to drink more.

    • I was like you at 146-150 pounds. I was steady at that weight for about 4-5 years. Now I am 40 years old and it seemed like I woke up one day and gained 10 pounds since January. I am 156 pounds right now. Pain and boredom hits me too and I have to stop the alcohol. I know the drinking has caused my weight gain and I hate it, so alcohol is going bye bye. I totally understand your words! 1.5 pounds is a telltale sign. Congrats to you! Keep us posted 🙂

  17. I finally realized how drinking was not only affecting my weight, but also my health in many areas! I am 5’1″ tall and weighed 145 lbs. I carried most of my weight in my abdomen and face (gross)! My doctor was shocked at my last appointment when my overall cholesterol was in the 400’s and my triglycerides were over 700! He asked me how much alcohol I drank per day and of course I was not honest. I told him a couple of glasses of wine per day, when in reality it was a bottle more per day. I had terrible insomnia for years and felt I HAD to drink before bed in order to get any sleep at all. Once I quit I was amazed at how well I slept without the poison! I was also dealing with depression and lack of interest for things I used to enjoy immensely! I’m eating healthier and feel like I did when I was in my 30’s when my actual age is late 40’s. Don’t give up, alcohol does kill if abused! Good luck to you all!

  18. At 61 I have been struggling with excess weight and alcohol use disorder for the past 30 years. As of this morning I weigh 95Kg which is about 20Kg too much for someone of my height. Additionally, my adult children are expressing concerns at my drinking habits. Previous successful losses of weight have included either abstinence or reduction in alcohol. I am embarking on another attempt right now, but it is so much harder now that I am no longer capable of the massive calorie burning exercise that I have used in the past. My last successful loss was 15 years ago and largely was the result of training for and competing in triathlon events. My feet can no longer stand up to the running and it will soon be winter here, so swimming will be harder to manage as well. My best friend and drinking companion has left yesterday for a 3 week cruise with his wife and I am hoping to use that time to make a permanent break from my almost daily visits to the pub. I’m planning to take a 30 minute ride on the bike today and build on that with some weight training. I am not a gym person so I will use my own weights at home. As I am no longer working I have plenty of time for all this, but I am really struggling to take the necessary action.

  19. This is for the people who haven’t lost weight yet, even though they say they are doing what they need to lose weight. You need to wait for your body to heal. Alcohol kills your metabolism and your body needs to heal itself before it starts thinking about dropping weight quickly, which also releases more toxins stored in body fat. Your bodies are just healing and this includes your livers, kidneys, adrenals, lymphatic systems and your hearts! Your brain also needs time to heal because alcohol damages the brain too. Give it some time. You’re in recovery mode right now. Heck, I drank more than the author (not proud to say it) but I quit cold turkey and am waiting for weight to come off. I know it will, but I’m feeding my body with as many vegetables as possible to help it heal from my abuse, and I’m avoiding pastas and only make our bread so there’s none of those preservatives in it. Keep with it, it will work!

    • I was wondering about that, I have been sober for just over five weeks now (after years of serious heavy drinking) and have experienced no dramatic weight loss. I started to think that my body might need to adjust (in a big way) to the absence of booze regulating my system. When it has done that (and I have no idea how long it will take) maybe then I might start to be able to let go of some of the extra pounds that I have accumulated over the last seven years (since I gave up smoking and took up major snacking with my drinking).

  20. OMG, out of everything I’ve read online your story was the MOST inspirational! Thanks for your honesty and guidance toward a healthier lifestyle. I struggle every day to make make wise food choices and not drink a beer or wine with my meal. Unfortunately, the reality is that when I drink one, I drink many. I end up hating myself and swearing that tomorrow will be different. I workout daily so I’ve been able to maintain my weight to some degree. I have gained about 15 pounds over the past 5 years. I hate my body and I feel like I’m starting to look like a “drinker”. I live in an affluent area that just seems to pair every activity with alcohol and I do mean everything! So even when I have a few days without alcohol, I trip up when I get invited to an event. I am not prepared to give up and will continue to avoid alcohol. Maybe I just need to become a “hermit” for awhile. I just want to thank you for your story!

    • I drink club soda with a splash of cranberry. Everyone thinks I have a drink and no explanations are necessary in social situations. Plus, holding the drink helps me mentally. The reward is feeling great the next day and not beating yourself up.

  21. I need to give up drinking to lose my beer belly. I’ve been drinking loads this past year and I’ve put on about 40 pounds. I actually go to the gym which is stupid as I’m drinking alcohol. I’ve just started giving it up today. The goal is to not drink for the next 4 months until I go on holiday. In the long term it will be to only drink on holidays, birthdays, Christmas and the occasional weekend. Drinking during the week is out.

    • I kind of feel like a fool now for trying my hardest to lose weight, going to the gym 5 times a week but still drinking 7-8 beers a night. I’ve gained 55 pounds in 6 months since I started binge drinking (I try to hide it from my family so I end up binge drinking). I’ve cried and cried that I can’t lose weight but still drink. I went looking to see if that was my problem (I know it is) and came across this article today. It has really inspired me! Today is the first day of the rest of my life with no booze. I would love to hear updates from everybody that has responded to this article!

  22. I have been drinking 6-8 pints nearly every day for the last couple of years due to having no life and depression. I’ve been able to lose weight before so I know I can do it again. I was once 17.5 stone a few years ago. I’m 5’6″ and got under 13 stone over a few months by counting calories and cycling but gained most of the weight back once I started drinking again due to problems in my life and not weighing myself regularly. I got back on my diet and got under 12 stone and was able to fit into 32 sized jeans. It felt amazing! But over the last 18 months I have been gaining it all back again and now I’m a size 36 in jeans. So from now on I’m going to try to cut the beer out 100% for good this time.

  23. I’m a week sober and no weight loss yet. I know I need to wait another couple of weeks before it starts flying off. I lost the weight before but ruined all the hard work by letting myself go the first half of this year. I was right where I wanted to be weight wise at the end of last year. Ugh! All the hard work wasted but I’m going to do it again and make sure to maintain myself this time!

  24. Is there anyone out there that I could divulge info to about what’s happened with me without judgment? I need positive inspiration and a good motivator in my life.

    • Kathryn Stewart on

      Hi Angela! Feel free to chat with me. There’s nothing that could shock me. What’s going on? We’re both reading these posts, so we’re both wanting positive change in our lives. I’m writing to you at 4:30am because that’s when my sleeping pills, pain meds, muscle relaxers and uncounted drinks have worn off 🙂

    • There isn’t one thing I have read that I haven’t gone through, but what I’m not hearing is why are you drinking and overeating? Life is hard and we are all caregivers to some extent but are you actually a caregiver? And if so, to who? If you are not, why are the people in your life expecting that from you and why are you doing it? I’m a caregiver to my disabled son who will always be a child until he dies. The stress from that alone makes me want to drink, but it’s not the main reason I drink at all. To be honest, I wish it was. About 5 years ago I was diagnosed with a pain disorder, but had been suffering for years before that. My doctor “helped” me by prescribing pain meds which masked the pain and nothing else. At the time I had just had my second son and was 100 pounds overweight. I lost it all and then some but the problem was still there. During that time my son was diagnosed with autism and he was 3 years old then. 6 months later, my mother committed suicide. Then I had a nervous breakdown and this was the time my doctor proscribed all the meds and the weight just flew off, but again, the problem was still there. 9 months ago, I woke up one day and said no more! I can’t keep stuffing my problems with meds. I need to live without them. So I started drinking wine. One glass turned into a whole bottle overnight and in one year I gained 60 pound of the 130 pounds I had lost. I’m in pain all the time and my heart is broken or maybe just not whole and will never be but it was me not dealing with the first pain that brought me back here. Now I spend every day writing poems and wrestling with my pain, both my heartbreak and my actual physical pain. What I have learned about myself is that I can’t hide from my pain and no matter what I do (drink wine or take meds) the pain is still there and my weight gain is just a symptom of that unaddressed pain. I’m working on loving myself and being honest with why I do the things I do. I have no advice yet on how to do this but it’s a step I have been hiding from for years. I’ll let you know how it goes. But know this, I would never judge you.

  25. Last year this time (May-June 2015) I weighed 132 pounds. My son had joined the service, my marriage was a mess, my husband’s issues had driven us into debt which caused us to argue constantly. I took a trip to visit my son who ended up being stationed close to my childhood best friend who I had not seen in 20 years. She was there when my son was born. We had gone through a lot together and I was excited. My overeating and drinking began on my trip and continued once I got home. I had always worked out, twice daily 6 days a week. An injury to my left knee stopped that completely. About 6 months ago I stopped weighing myself. I weighed myself for the first time yesterday and I was 174 pounds! Tears filled my eyes. I have never weighed this much in my life. I drink a large bottle of wine nightly. I know this is the reason for my weight gain. Also, late night snacking and not enough sleep are culprits. This stops today! My marriage is better and I had knee surgery a few months ago. Thank you for this great article!

  26. I had been maintaining my weight around 235 lbs for several years, overweight but acceptable. I had a red wine habit of a bottle (about 500 calories) at a time, with dinner, almost every night. I also overate and had late night snacks. My activity level consisted mostly of walking the dog occasionally. Then I got excruciating tendinitis in both knees, which persisted for about 3 or 4 months. My activity level dropped to zero. My drinking went up to 1,000 calories per night more often than not. My poor eating habits continued. My weight went up to almost 260 lbs. My doctor said going cold turkey on quitting alcohol could have negative side effects and suggested cutting back to 2 glasses a night, but if I had one I would drink the bottle. He also recommended getting on a specific diet. Yeah, right.

    Finally, I decided that I was getting tired of (and self-conscious about) being in the supermarket line buying wine all the time. Even the cheap stuff gets expensive after a while. I was going through the motions and not enjoying the taste very much anymore, if at all. I did not like the way I looked or felt. I made the following changes:

    1) I set a conservative target weight and what I thought was a reasonable time frame to reach it without aggravating my patellar tendinitis.
    2) I decided to completely eliminate alcohol from my diet for 30 days. It’s been 12 days so far. It’s not easy. I mark my calendar for each day I abstain.
    3) I have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I kick it up by throwing in a handful of walnuts, blueberries, or both.
    4) I try to eat something for lunch. A small apple or a sandwich of sliced low-sodium turkey on whole grain bread.
    5) I drink a lot of water throughout the day.
    6) I downloaded and use a fitness tracker for my Android phone: GPS, records and logs the number of steps, distance, weight. It also displays bar charts and shows trends and history.
    7) I have made dog walks part of my weekly activity schedule, at least every other day, for about an hour (we cover about 3 miles).
    8) I have reduced the size of my dinner portions (meals are still relatively heavy on rice and pasta, but it’s a process).
    9) I don’t have snacks after dinner.

    I started at over 256 lbs on my bathroom scale. After 12 days following the above regimen, I am down more than 9 lbs and just slightly over my intermediate target weight. Having a goal of losing 60 or 70 lbs looked a little daunting, so I intend to repeat the achieve-a-few-lbs-at-a-time process until I reach my ultimate weight goal.

  27. I can relate to many of the stories on here. I use a bottle of wine or two a day to numb my brain. After taking care of so many people, which include 4 kids, a husband with kidney disease and parents with cancer, I put myself on hold for the past ten years. As a result, I ended up gaining 60 plus pounds and a drinking problem. I appreciate people sharing their stories and I gather strength and inspiration from your successes and even some of the struggles as it helps me to know I’m not alone in this journey back to health and happiness.

  28. Thank you for this! I am a 37-year-old female and I’m on day #8. My poison of choice was rum. I have had a problem now for about 5 years and I am finally admitting it. I have tried to stop many times before, but this time feels different. I am doing this for myself and I know that when I kick this the weight will come off. I make poor decisions when I am drunk and could care less what I eat. When I am sober, this is not the case! I make excuses for eating bad the next day while feeling like crap and I convince myself I am eating bad to soak up all the alcohol. I have gained weight over the years (about 30 pounds)! Drinking pretty much every day was really killing me slowly. It’s affected my work, my health and most importantly, my family! It’s only day #8 but I feel so much better each day. I am praying a lot and staying positive and anyone who is negative, I get them as far away from me as possible. I learned the hard way and the key is to hang around winners. I am so thankful I have a supportive family. My husband has been great and I have put him through hell. I am just ready to live a healthy life. When you feel good you look good! I am a mom as well and my teenagers know when I drink. If we can’t take care of ourselves as parents, how can we take care of anyone else? If you don’t have any help then keep a log of your journey and talk to someone. You would be surprised how good it feels to no longer hide that bottle. I have maintained my job, but it shows in everything I do. My looks have taken a toll from drinking and so has my body. I am so looking forward to getting my life back! I know it won’t be easy since I am doing this cold turkey but with lots of prayer, it’s doable. Again, keep positive people in your life and you will have to leave your drinking buddies alone because they won’t understand at first, but remember this is for you! I will be what they call “boring” for a while until I kick this, but I could care less since I would rather feel great. Waking up with hangovers is getting so old and it kicks me in the butt for the next 2 days. It’s so NOT worth it! I am looking forward to losing weight on my journey. For anyone who is struggling, just keep fighting because you are worth it! We can do this! Mind over matter 🙂

  29. Wow, your story hits close to home! I’ve been struggling with drinking for about 10 years now, and have gained over 20 extra pounds that I cannot get off because I don’t have the willpower to stop drinking. I feel like such a failure at times and my weight gain has made me have very low self-esteem which causes me to drink even more. I’m in a vicious cycle and don’t know how to stop it. I really need some help!

    • Hi Jennifer, I share your issues. I too want to stop but then part of me doesn’t want to. The other thing is that I start worrying when I am finally losing weight and think “Oh great, I made a healthy change and now I’m going to pay for it”. Which I know makes no sense at all! I did find a program online that helped me twice. I just need to motivate myself to get back into it. I’m only 5’2″ and now weigh about 150 pounds which is SO much more than I did a few years ago. I need to make a change!

      • Hi K, I’m also 5’3″ and weigh about 170 pounds the last time I checked. This is way too heavy for my frame and I’m very unhappy. I did stop drinking for a week when my daughter was in the hospital, and I must say, I started to notice a little difference, but then as soon as I got back to normal life, I started to drink again. It seems to me that I cannot go more than a week without drinking. It’s such a vicious cycle. The more I feel bad about myself, the more I drink. I just need to suck it up and just stop if I ever want to lose weight and gain my self respect back. I just need to find other ways to entertain myself.

        • I know. Once I feel better, alcohol seduces me again. I had one doctor call it a slippery slope. I got a stomach bug a few days ago, but I think it was more because I had the same withdrawal systems I have had in the past. I had to call out of work today more because of the snarkiness which is embarrassing and scary. I have a new grandson coming this fall and I want to be healthy. I do believe the detox process takes time and it is uncomfortable. This website is great!

      • Just a thought, but maybe holding each other accountable and starting to eat a healthy diet while keeping wine or alcohol limited to just one day a week if we can’t stop cold turkey. I would like to try a low-carb diet which means no alcohol for at least 2 weeks. We can give each other tips on what to eat and what not to eat and log our progress, I need someone to motivate me because I can’t seem to do it on my own.

        • ShapeFit

          Hi Jennifer and K – Logging your progress and sharing tips sounds like a great idea. You might want to start a new thread in our fitness forum since there are probably other members who are in the same boat and sharing each other’s experiences and advice could help out a lot of people.

          • I’m really not sure how to do that. I’m not that computer savvy but I will definitely try. Any tips on what to name the new thread?

          • ShapeFit

            Hi Jennifer – First, you will want to create your free account in our fitness forum (click “Register” at the top of the page). Once you’re logged into the forum, you can click either the “Women’s Area” or “Health & Wellness” from the list of categories in the forum. Then follow these directions to create a new topic (new thread).

  30. My drinking started around age 16 and it felt like a godsend for my social anxiety. Fast forward 27 years and I was drinking a large box of wine 6 days a week, sometimes 7, almost always drinking alone. Funny how my habits start for almost the exact opposite reason I quit. Drinking initially helped me be around people, but ended up making life very lonely. I also just quit smoking (I know, how 80’s of me), the hypnotherapist helped me see that I started smoking as a way to say “I’m an adult, FREE to make my own choices”, and I quit because I was tired of being “ENSLAVED by nicotine”. Weight was never a real issue for me, as I have a tall slender build, and even though, while clothed, I could easily hide an extra 30 pounds, my GI track was slowly failing me. My face was always a bit swollen and little veins on my nose were starting to show. I will soon be a year sober and things are on the mend (I think the Chantix may be irritating my GI tract but it beats smoking to death). The weight started dropping off me at around week 3 of sobriety. My skin and hair also looked so much better. I did not change my eating or activities, but I eat relatively healthy with very little processed foods and try to avoid meats and dairy raised with antibiotics or growth hormones (the worst). To date, I have lost about 30 pounds. I have realized for a long time that I had a strong calling to the drinking and fortunately, I not only have low self-esteem, I’m also very vain (oh, the dichotomy). I was getting disgusted when I would look in the mirror, as the guy looking back was looking like an old drunk. Today that guy is looking about 5 years younger and that makes me happy. Not sure if this is the time or the place, but after reading many other posts on the topic, I thought I would share. If you think you may have a problem, take some action, as this stuff only gets worse.

  31. I have been drinking a 1/2 liter of vodka every day without fail for about 6 months. I have felt the weight creeping on but that could also be due to the fact I have changed from an active waitressing job to a sedentary office one. I have heard that vodka doesn’t make you put on weight. How true is this? I drink it with water and sugar free soda.

    • DaddyLongShanks on

      That’s nonsense. Vodka, like other liquor, is dead calories. Basically, any fat or calories you eat will be stored as fat. Alcohol slows the metabolism down by 75% as well, and it’s hard on your liver. So, yes you will get fatter drinking vodka every day. Drop the vodka and drink water instead, along with doing a 30-60 minute workout daily. You will feel and look much better!

  32. I have been sober now for 105 days, which is the longest I have been without alcohol in the last 40 years! My blood pressure had reached an eye watering 154/100 even with blood pressure medication. So, I sat myself down and had a big think. I was drinking between 700-1,000 calories of alcohol a day. Since I stopped, my acid reflux has stopped, my sleep apnea has reduced and my IBS has subsided. Today, my blood pressure was 121/79 and so far I have lost 20 pounds! My blood work last week at the doctors office was excellent. I share the frustration of others who have posted. I lost 7 pounds in the first 2 weeks and then I plateaued. It took more frustrating weeks of yo-yo weight fluctuations until I started losing again after about 7 weeks. So without preaching, I can tell you that no matter how old you are or how long you have been consumed by alcohol, it can be done! It’s January of 2017 and I survived birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years without the need for an alcohol crutch. My target now is to lose another 15-20 pounds in the next 10 weeks and then take a trip with all the money I never spent at the liquor store 🙂

  33. I am struggling with this so much! I workout all week and feel great and then the weekend comes and I look forward to drinking. I’m always tired and drained. Being married with 4 kids is tiring. I justify it because it’s the one “adult” thing I do and because I never get away, I can relax, catch a buzz and be at home. I’m always so disappointed with myself because I’m wasting my effort with my workouts by drinking so much on the weekends! I know if I really wanted it then I’d stop, but I’m just having a hard time stopping. Also, I find that I’m so tired all the time, that other than just trudging through the day, on the weekend when I drink, I have some more motivation and energy to do more?! How do I stop and how do I have energy not from drinking? Many say to just exercise, and I do and I’m still tired (probably because I get up at 4:30 am to do it). Or, maybe it’s my diet? I eat pretty healthy though I’m realizing too many carbs and not enough of everything else. Who knew peas and edamame are carbs too?!

  34. Thank you all for your experiences, this will help me towards my journey to stop the downward spiral of my excessive wine drinking. I, like many, started drinking to fit in and feel comfortable at parties, etc. It then got worse with an ex-husband that was emotionally abusive. I’m now re-married to a wonderful man, but I can’t seem to stop my alcohol abuse. I’m going to try though.

  35. I’m 36 years old and I workout every other day and have for the past 17 years. I had only drank at social events which was maybe 5 times a year. In January of 2015, I began drinking Mad Dog 20/20 and regular wine and I drank that from January through December of 2015. I’d drink about 4 units a day, 5 times a week which is 20 ounces so that’s about 400 calories a day which was 2,000 calories a week! At the time I started I weighed 255 pounds and was built nice at 6’3″ and had lots of muscles. So, in one year of drinking wine at that rate I got to a point that I wanted to step it up a little during that year. I put on about 15 pounds which looked good on my frame being so tall and still kept my weight lifting going. At the end of December of 2015, I had been drinking vodka every day. First, it started off at about 12 ounces a day for up until about November of 2016 and then it got up to about 20 ounces a day. The vodka I drink has 67 calories so I was drinking about 1,340 calories a day. I got so stressed out at work with all of the pressure to be good at it. I was also a little depressed that my wife and I have no kids yet even though my sperm count is fine. I have put on an additional 25 pounds in the last 1.5 years to total about 40 pounds overall. I still workout and the extra weight is mostly in my stomach. I quit a week ago and don’t plan on going back. I haven’t lost weight yet but I know I will. My liver also feels a little achy when I turn a certain way. I am finished with that poison and have a doctors appointment for a colonoscopy just to be sure there is no major damage.

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