Adrien Cotton, MASTER Menopause NOW!

How Alcohol Can Sabotage Your Midlife Wellness Goals

Beautiful Happy Older Woman Sitting With Her Friend In A Street Cafe Clinking Glasses With Champagne

First, let’s discuss alcohol.

I am the first to admit I love a glass of champagne or a well-curated margarita. This article is not about demonizing alcohol, nor do I plan to prescribe how much and how often to drink. As we head into the Summer season, we gather to celebrate more. Therefore, statistically, we will consume more this season (with Christmas being a close second) than at other times of the year.

What I hope to share is an awareness of what happens to our bodies – underneath the skin, particularly in midlife – when alcohol is present in our bodies. This awareness may be helpful as you approach your days, and nights, and the many choices we have at our fingertips.

As Americans, we love to calculate the calorie count in our glass(es) of wine, and choose the skinnier version of a margarita or even the “light” beer. If the drink is a mere 300 calories, it “fits” into our calorie count for the day just fine.

In my program we often chuckle about the 1,200 calorie day. Where in the world did that magic number come from? (Well, we do know the 1,200 calorie diet works – – – until it doesn’t. The majority of studies conducted on this famed approach resulted in weight gain.)

For over 100 years, we have been counting calories. Yet, there is much more going on than the calories story we’ve been sold – and we tell ourselves – for years.

When we drink our bodies respond with a confluence of chemical events. First, our body is being sent a signal that what we’ve consumed is foreign. (Remember primally we didn’t have access to a frosty Rose or Corona Light.)

Our bodies perceive alcohol as a toxin and immediately set out to process it. This process takes a toll on our metabolism, weight, sleep quality, ability to exercise, stress resilience, and, ultimately, our overall health and wellness.

When we drink alcohol, we build up Acetyl-CoA. With Acetyl-CoA increase, our body receives a signal that it doesn’t need food. This is because Acetyl-CoA tells our body we don’t need to burn calories for energy. So, when we eat while drinking, food gets stored as fat because our body is being sent a message that we don’t need it and any burning of fat or sugar, so it comes to a halt.

Alcohol wreaks havoc on our muscle building and fat burning. Alcohol dysregulates our production of glycogen, a stored form of carbohydrates and a crucial fuel source for energy production. Glycogen is the energy source we need for our workouts, and it is not produced when alcohol is present. Without it, or even with less of it, our bodies don’t get the full benefit from our workout.

It is common to ignore liquids as a “food” choice. Therefore, many of us tend to “over-drink” believing that a latte, smoothie, or yes, glass of rose, isn’t actually food. Study after study shows when we CHEW our food, instead of drinking it, we feel more full and eat less.

Last, my favorite appointment of the day…sleep. Alcohol is bad news for our sleep. Alcohol lowers melatonin and serotonin, two important hormones which help us sleep. Without them, we sleep restlessly or have increased night awakenings. Alcohol also causes blood sugar and cortisol swings, making it difficult to get quality, uninterrupted sleep.

As we are finally looking at a few months of sunnier weather and more social gatherings, it’s a good reminder to be aware of our choices and what is really happening underneath the skin when we consume alcohol.

Pouring Red Wine Into The Glass Against Rustic Background

There is no need to feel guilty about the occasional glass of wine. When we listen to our bodies, we can enjoy our lives to the fullest extent without feeling like we must restrict ourselves. Moderation is key, and choosing fueling options for our bodies will allow us to enjoy all that life has to offer.

Are you struggling to feel good in your body and looking for answers to your questions about perimenopause and menopause? I have created an online course to help women THRIVE during midlife. Be one of the first to get access to my 5-module course that teaches the importance of holistic wellness and lays out core strategies to help you MASTER Menopause NOW!

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