Is my drinking really the reason I’m getting so fat? Yes! Extremely likely! Said no one ever!
We constantly hear pop culture bombarding us with the “health benefits of a glass of wine”. We all cheer silently to ourselves. We share the good news on our Facebook wall, followed by those mental “notes to self”, that insist on the mandatory bottle of wine (or two) on our way home from work. Because not only is it high in anti-oxidants and will stop me developing heart disease and possibly cancer, it will help me decompress and relax.
(Editors note, see here for report showing earlier studies showing benefits to drinking alcohol were wrong)
It’s a modern miracle I have n’t killed anyone
Because let’s face it! With the week or day I have just had it’s a modern miracle I haven’t killed my colleagues, customers, suppliers, other road users, my spouse, children, or basically the whole of humanity. So, you think to yourself! I deserve a break! I work hard for what I have! I never do anything for myself! Why shouldn’t I have a glass of wine during the week? And on and on and on and on….
You have it all planned out, run a lovely bubble bath, light some lush scented candles, pour a lovely glass of Chardonnay in one of your expensive elegant long stemmed glasses, all very civilised and voilà! Much needed “me-time”.
It makes total financial sense
Inevitably, this is never as straight forward as it seems, we arrive at Tesco’s, Supervalu or the likes and see the great deals on wine, 4 bottles for €20.00! And being the modern frugal professional women or supermom tell ourselves that 2 bottles will work out the same as 4 bottles, of course! It makes total financial sense! We avail of the offer and head to the nearest checkout. This is where things are destined to go down-hill.
Ah go, go on, go on says the Mrs Doyle in your head
We arrive home, pour a glass of wine (nope, we don’t measure, we simply pour) we cook dinner, (pour another glass of wine to have with dinner) and before you know it the bath goes out the window and you settle for a hot shower and sit down in the living room, comfy jammies and fluffy socks on.
“Ah go on go on go on”
says the “Mrs Doyle” in your head. So we give in to a 3rd glass while we catch up with the soaps. Often times we reach for the Pringles, chocolate or other snack foods and “nest in for the night”. A lot of women can drink a 750ml bottle of wine no problem and on the odd occasion have even dipped into the second bottle. And because we have those extra bottles in the house we inevitably end up doing it more often in the week than we care to admit.
We’re having “the craic”
Friday rolls around and we head out for a few drinks after work with the girls. Saturday night, a few drinks in the local with the hubby (on average in Ireland most people drink around 3 or 4 standard drinks in one sitting, realistically it is probably more if we were honest about it).
It is important to remember that most pub measures are anything but “standard” unless you order a small bottle (which is a staggering +/-200 mls each). All the while we are having “the craic”. Ordering peanuts with reckless abandon to mix through our bag of cheese and onion Tayto, we are piling on the pounds. That is the insidious thing about alcohol, no one tells you the down side of a glass or 3, so here is the so fat face of it:
(Note, calories vary according to alcohol strength)
Four Pina Colada’s is your entire recommended daily calorie intake
Cocktail hour will not only cost you a bomb, but will add to your expanding waist line. There are too many to list here but to give you an idea, a Pina Colada is a whopping 490Kcal per 256mls and will cost you upwards of €14.00 a pop. You definitely won’t feel like dancing in the rain after a few of these bad boys. You will most probably head straight for the nearest ATM to assess the damage. And those calories! All those calories. Just four Pina Colada’s would be your entire recommended daily calorie intake for an average adult and that before you make your way to Supermacs.
A VIP pass to fatness
When you are happily chugging back your glass of wine, it enters your body and is handed a VIP pass at the front door. And no, it doesn’t mean your body is getting what it needs from Alcohol. Good stuff like Anti-oxidants, a healthy heart or preventing you from getting cancer. (Editor’s note, Alcohol actually causes cancer, see our video for more details)
Instead, it is absorbed more quickly than solid foods. Your body processes the alcohol you have consumed straight into fat. Yes FAT! It’s then your unfortunate liver’s turn to process what’s left over into a substance called acetate. Your body uses this as fuel, and in doing so doesn’t burn your existing fat stores.
Do the Maths
One bottle of wine translates into 625Kcal per week which in turn translates to an average 4 to 5 miles on the treadmill a week. This does not include the extra calories we consume during and after a night out from takeaway curry’s, Chinese, burgers, kebabs, snack-boxes, pizza slices etc. etc. and not to forget the Irish hangover cure the big fatty fry-up! Chalk up all those calories and things go “arseways” literally!
What to do?
Plan when and how much you are going to drink per week in advance (if you are trying to lose weight remember to keep a calorie diary).
Only buy what you intend to drink on any given day.
Alternate your drinks with soda water, water, and diet soda or fruit juice.
Not only will it be better for your wallet but also your waist line won’t be so fat!.
For more help on reducing alcohol harm try out our free top tips to reduce alcohol harm course