When I quit drinking, within a year I lost 70 pounds. No exercise, no diet…just no beer, and within months my clothes hung loosely on my shrinking frame; and I stopped sweating so profusely on relatively cool days!
I felt better, I looked better, and I was all of a sudden far healthier. Weight gain is one of the very obvious and externally visible symptoms of alcohol abuse, and the internal and mental damage, although unseen, is far worse; but it’s hard to describe how great it felt to be enjoying sobriety, and also looking so much better just by cutting out 12-15 beers a night on the couch.
There are two kinds of drinkers, fat ones and skinny ones…and it’s actually bad to be either. The fat ones get fat through the enormous intake of calories within the daily consumption of alcohol needed. The skinny ones are arguably worse off, as they are drinking just as much but since they don’t gain weight, their gastro intestinal tracts are either damaged to the point that they no longer effectively process consumed food, or they just don’t eat much beyond liquid meals, and are at a fantastic risks for vitamin and nutritional deficits.
The calories in different alcoholic drinks are:
Beer 1 regular bottle = 150 calories
Liquor 1 ounce, not including mixer = 65
Liqueurs 1 ounce = 188
Red wine 1 glass =80 calories
Dry white wine = 1 ounce 75 calories
1 martini = 140 calories
1 margarita = 168 calories
1 cooler = 150 calories
Even people who drink nothing close to the amount I did will still gain weight from regular drinking. Teenage girls who drink a 6 pack of coolers 3 times a week would gain 3 pounds of fat a month unless they either compensate by eating less (nutritional deficits) or spent an awful lot of time on the treadmill (1 six pack = 1.5 hours of hard running).
A 3 pound gain a month becomes a 36 pound gain over a year, and starts to become a very noticeable, unattractive and unhealthy sign of drinking too much.
Perhaps as a part of teenage prevention plans we need to show people what heavy drinking starts to look like after a year or two, and see how many teens always concerned about their appearances still want to binge drink on a regular basis.
Obesity is a major health risk, and heavy drinking is one of the quickest ways to an unhealthy weight. Obesity may also be something that teens can understand and relate to as a real and imminent danger of heavy drinking, whereas the dangers of addiction and long term health problems don’t seem to truly register with teens living in the here and now, with middle age seeming a thousand years away.