How To Lose Weight By Drinking Less Alcohol

By Ali Luke

191-0807alcohol.JPGOne of the easiest ways to boost your weight loss is to curb your alcohol intake.

Not only do alcoholic drinks contain calories, they also tend to increase your appetite and reduce your will-power: a very diet-unfriendly combination!

Even if your social life doesn’t revolve around bars and clubs, don’t assume it’ll be easy for you to drink less: that post-work glass of wine, or the beers on a lazy Sunday afternoon, can be just as hard to give up.

But if your weight loss has slowed recently, cutting down on the booze could be just what you need.

Afterall, Just one beer a day adds up to 17,000 Calories over the course of a year!

Alcohol Calories

Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram.

  • That’s 50 calories in a single (25ml) measure of spirits – before you add sugary lemonade or cola.
  • There are about 100 calories in a small (125ml) glass of wine.
  • A can of beer is around 200 calories (though this can varies according to type and strength).

5 Alternatives to Alcohol

2928-alcohol-alternatives.jpgThere are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks, ranging from sophisticated bottles which would be perfectly at home on a posh dinner table, to fun teen-friendly fizz.

  1. If you’re out, many bars have non-alcoholic cocktails: ideal if you want the party factor but not the alcohol content. These will also save you a good few dollars on the price of a regular cocktail.
  2. Your local supermarket likely stocks a range of non-alcoholic wines in glass bottles; here in the UK, Amé and Shloer are favorites.
  3. When you’re hosting a barbeque, why not serve something other than plain orange juice or soda for the non-drinkers
  4. Try some more unusual fruit juices, mixed with sparkling water. Innocent Drinks do a fabulous range using only natural ingredients – guaranteed to be a hit with sophisticated neighbors or your fashion-conscious kids.
  5. Sugar-free energy drinks can give you a nice caffeine buzz but without the alcohol and calories.

Good Excuses for Not Drinking

In an ideal world, friends and family would mind their own business, and none of us would ever need to justify our food and drink choices.

But sometimes you might not want the hassle of explaining that you’re on a diet – especially if you know the response will be “Oh, you’re not fat … just one won’t hurt.”

These explanations are less likely to encourage your friends to try to persuade you into having a drink:

  • “I can’t have alcohol, I’m afraid, I’m on antibiotics.”
  • “I’m driving.”
  • “I’m trying to budget this month.” (Particularly good for students, new parents or downsizers.)
  • “I’ve got a really early start tomorrow.”
  • “I’m not drinking during Lent.” (This one only works during part of the year!)
  • “I’m on a Detox Diet

Committing Yourself

Of course, having something nice and non-alcoholic to drink and having a good excuse helps – but it’s only half the battle won. You need to change your habits so that your good intentions will stick.

  • One way is to start by making small changes: enjoy that post-work glass of wine, but make it a small one. Or have one or two beers on a Sunday afternoon instead of three or four.
  • Getting alcohol addiction counseling goes a long way in helping you curb or eliminate your alcohol intake, which in turn will help you with your efforts to lose weight.
  • Sometimes, it’s easiest to commit to a set period of time – maybe not drinking at all for a month (or for a period such as Lent). The advantage of this is that you’ll retrain yourself to think differently about alcohol: you’ll realize that you don’t need it in order to relax or to enjoy yourself.
  • Many people find it easiest to honor a commitment that they’ve made to someone else. If this works for you, tell your spouse, best friend or colleagues that you’re cutting down on alcohol.

Have you cut down on your alcohol intake in order to lose weight? Do you have any great tips on what to drink, how to cope with the reaction from friends, or how not to feel deprived?


  1. Izahrul

    He everyone if your trying to lose weight, maybe this information will help you.

  2. Nichole

    Also last time I quit drinking for about 2 weeks and saw no change in my body or weight… I’m concerned with not seeing results, and I’ve been doing this working out thing and eating a little healthier now for a month and no weight loss. Is that normal?

  3. Nichole

    I’m wondering if since I count calories and don’t drink now during the week. Only on weekends do I drink now and sometimes eat a little more. Will I lose weight still, or will the weekends kill y weekday progress? You would think going from drinking whenever I wanted up to 7 days a week sometimes, to this would help over all weight loss right? Thanks!

  4. Jason

    Cutting down alcohol would logically seem to lead to weight loss IF you are not replacing those calories with something else. Soda is waaaaay worse for you than alcohol and has zero health benefits unlike moderate alcohol consumption which is proven to have cardio vascular benefits. I would rather enjoy a couple glasses of wine and lay off of the sugary snacks. It’s all about balance.

  5. Richard Head

    Other great excuses for not drinking:
    -I recently converted to Islamic Fundamentalism!
    I get my kicks from abusing prescription painkillers thank you very much
    -I’m with child (this is a particularly good one as it will often result in gifts and a great excuse for missing work
    -if I drink who will fly the plane
    -last time I tried surgery drunk they almost fired me
    -if you look young: I’m not of age
    -if you look old: I’m not of age and I have that Benjamin Button disease
    -“how can I drink when I’ve been dead for 27 years” then hum eerie music and walk away backwards while maitaining eye contact

  6. Diana

    5 glasses of wine per night (1 bottle) is not heathly and can snowball. I thought it was a habit too, but the fact that it’s a struggle to stop, really shows how addictive it can get. What has worked for me is setting a fitness goal. Find out what you like doing. Some like fitness classes or some on a budget like workout DVDs. Maybe since you have a little one, take him/her for a long walk, like an hour during the time that you would normally be drinking (boredom may be the issue). I have found that I enjoy running. I’m up to 5 miles each occassion and the endorphines keep me feeling pretty good. So much so that I don’t want to ruin it with alcohol. It will help you sleep properly also. Good luck.

  7. sarah

    I have started drinking a bottle of wine every night, i know i am in a habit but know am not an alcoholic. when i was pregnant I didnt touch a drop so I know I can do it, any tips on stopping? I would like to give up completely, I am home most nights with my little one and need to lose a stone. I get tired with the wine and dont sleep properly. know all the reasons to stop, just think may need the willpower

  8. zig

    SUPERB!!!! Keep on keeping on. Never give up. I lost 6 inches in a couple of months, but I stay off the scales.

  9. zig

    HaHaHa! There’s always one!

    Like Barry’s comment, too.

  10. onedayatatime

    You need to attend AA or at least get the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous then really consider attending the meetings. No one can help you at this point not even yourself because alcohol has become greater than you and your life. There also is no miracle way to stop drinking it’s a struggle each and everyday and drinking will never get better for an alcoholic only worse. Get help while you still can!

  11. SR Hannah

    I agree that friends “should” be accomodating and understanding, but the truth is most people will always “insist” that you join them or enjoy this. Honestly, most friends will most likely refute the evidence that shows that too much alcohol and weight loss are counter-productive. Maybe ALL of your friends won’t be so pushy, but Andrea is simply putting out a few fixer phrases to help people who need to stress to others “No, thank you”. Geesh!

  12. anonymous

    This is a really good comment. I thought I was just a moderate drinker until I started actually measuring how much I was drinking. I was having the equivalent of 6 standard drinks before dinner and then maybe two or three with dinner. A standard drink is not a glass. Spirits usually contain two standard drinks. A glass of wine is often 2 standard drinks. Easy to clock up the calories.

    The best thing is to just say to yourself “I am not going to drink ever again”. Of course, maybe in a year’s time you can moderate it, but for now you just make that commitment. I found trying to cut back did not work for me. It soon ramped up again.

    Once I did stop drinking the kilos just fell off. It was amazing.

    As for people who offer alcohol you can fob them off with “No thanks, I’m fighting the good fight” and leave it at that. That seems to work for me. Most people aren’t pushy about it.

  13. RC

    I stopped drinking alcohol 14 days ago and have lost 3 pounds and 2 inchs off my waist.

  14. Becka

    Great comment, Barry – you have no idea how helpful that was.

  15. anonymous

    I lost 50 pounds by simply not drinking any alcohol or sodas. I still drank one Odwalla per day. They have a lot of calories but it didn’t seem to matter. I think because I see Odwallas as a food. With the wine, I was eating a ton more than I normally would.
    I started drinking again 6 mos ago and gained 45 pounds so far. I am ready to quit.

  16. Bert

    EVERYBODY! Please read Barry’s comment:)

  17. GA BOY

    This works perfectly. I have been doing it for years.

  18. Chris

    I do something similar. I buy one bottle of beer when I go out. I drink it, but after I just fill it with water. I still have the comfort of always having a beer in hand but I feel much better than my friends do the next morning. No body even realizes it. Just make it known before you go out that everyone is on thier own as far as buying their own drinks. You don’t want to get stuck in a round buying reciprocity entanglement.

  19. Shateebaby1

    It is difficult to deal with change in life, especially the loss of a job after 18 years. What we do becomes such a part of who we are so try not to minimize its impact and don’t let others make you feel bad about it. The way you choose to handle this change is the real issue. I too drink when I feel stressed. It is a coping mechanism, albeit not a good one. You might try taking a walk or calling a friend instead or get on the internet and get support from others 🙂 We have all been there so don’t feel alone.