It’s Like Running in Quicksand.
“Sometimes you don’t realize the weight of something you’ve been carrying until you feel the weight of its release.” — Unknown
Everyone has their own idea of success.
For some, the thought of having less than a million dollars in the bank would truly create a sense of dread and despair in their lives
For others, having anything close to a million dollars would make them the happiest person in the world.
While for someone else, the thought of having just enough money to pay their bill and travel the world without having to answer to anyone else would be the true definition of success.
Success is different for everyone as it relates to money, fame, or freedom.
However, it appears the one thing that most people, if not all, would agree on as it relates to living a fulfilling life would be the desire to be in good physical shape.
Health is wealth, as the saying goes.
What good is it to have all the money in the world or to be able to do whatever you want whenever you wanted if you’re not in good physical shape?
For that reason, the goal of so many people is to get in shape, and often the first step logically is to lose weight.
Getting rid of those excess pounds is the goal of so many people that they would do almost anything to make it happen. This is not that easy for many, as lots of people start and stop various diets or exercise regimens, never truly reaching their ultimate goals.
What many people don’t quite understand, however, is as long as they allow themselves to drink alcohol in excess of the daily maximum, the chances of them realizing their ultimate goals are as slim as they desire to be one day.
There are a few reasons for this.
DRINKING SLOWS DOWN YOUR METABOLISM
I think everyone kind of suspected that alcohol was not the best thing to do the night before a workout the next morning, but I don’t think many people realized that alcohol has an actual physiological effect on your metabolism that does, in fact, make it more difficult to lose weight in the long run.
The form of alcohol that you drink is known as ethanol and has no nutritional value to your body. All other forms of alcohol other than ethanol will actually kill you if digested.
Therefore, when you digest this “safe” form of alcohol, your body immediately reacts by doing everything in its power to get it out as quickly as possible.
Most people know that it’s the liver’s function to do most of the purging of the impurities of alcohol from our body to keep us alive. As shared, alcohol is a toxin, and if it doesn’t get it out fast enough, it will kill us, i.e. alcohol poisoning.
Therefore, the body pretty much focuses most, if not all, of its energy on removing this from our body as quickly and efficiently as possible to prevent this from happening.
What most people don’t realize, however, is that it’s through the metabolic process that this happens, and when your body puts so much focus on removing these impurities from the body, other metabolic processes are slowed or put on hold.
What this means is that the metabolic processes that would usually break down fat or sugar in your body are now handicapped, and that cheeseburger and donut combination that you ate earlier is going to stay with you a lot longer than it would’ve had you not decided to have a few extra shots before leaving the bar.
YOUR MOTIVATION TO WORK OUT WILL WANE OR CEASE TO EXIST
We all know that it can be hard to wake up when your alarm clock goes off in the morning. Your mind is telling you that you need to get up and run those three miles that you told yourself, but your bed is telling you that you need it way more than those miles right now.
Due to the scientific theory that your willpower wanes throughout the day, it is believed it is much easier to work out first thing in the morning than to fool yourself that you are going to do it after a long day at the office.
While fighting this natural urge to want to sleep more is hard enough without alcohol each morning, it’s damn near impossible after you’ve had a night of drinking with your buddies or “Wine Down Wednesday” with your co-workers.
When you drink, there are a number of things that you do to your body that make it hard to have the motivation needed to get up and put the work in at the gym each day.
We know this as the feelings associated with a hangover, while your body knows it as there is a bunch of stuff that feels “off” right now and it has to make sure you get as much rest as possible to get back to homeostasis.
And while we may think that we will just muster the strength to make sure we work out in the afternoon, the reality is that all of these effects don’t often go away over the course of the day.
Therefore, by the time 5 pm comes, and we have given everything we got to get through the day and still feel terrible, the chances of us wanting to go and punish our bodies at the gym are slim to none.
YOU WILL BE TEMPTED TO EAT LIKE SH*T MORE
This is one that I’m sure is no surprise to anyone and probably what makes it difficult for anyone to achieve lasting success when consistently allowing alcohol to affect their decision-making as it relates to their diet.
I’m sure you’ve seen the memes of the healthy, slim fit guy on the left showing you his chiseled six-pack with the label of six months of discipline and the overweight sluggish guy on the right with his protruding belly labeled six days of “f*ck it.”
This is the reality of how weight works.
It doesn’t take many “bad nights” to destroy all the gains that you made in the gym. When you drink, you are just more inclined to think eating an entire pizza is not that bad of an idea, as opposed to being sober.
For many people, something known as the “apertif effect” takes place in that drinking creates a desire to consume more food than we would have if we were not drinking.
While some people might chalk this up to lack of willpower and bad decision-making (which is partially true), there is even more science behind how the odds are stacked against you to stick to your diet after you’ve had a few drinks.
In a scientific study of mice, alcohol consumption caused an increase in the hypothalamus and AgRP neurons. This is the main area of the brain that is responsible for regulating your appetite.
This increase caused the mice to eat much more than they usually would had they not been given alcohol. When the scientist blocked this neuron, the mice ate their usual amount.
Couple this with the fact that your decision-making skills are already impaired due to alcohol’s effects on your prefrontal cortex, and this could explain why the thought of eating four Taco Bell burritos with nachos seems like the perfect thing to cap off a night on the town.
I think it’s safe to say that we all want to look good or either be as healthy as possible if we can, and the truth remains that alcohol makes it more difficult for a number of reasons.
And while it may be possible to overcome all of the various negative factors of alcohol above with the right amount of willpower and discipline to be healthy, why not make it so much easier on yourself and just not drink?
Your future healthy-self with thank you.