If you’re training hard and eating well but your weight just won’t budge… it might be time to take a look at your alcohol intake.  Typically your body will burn your fat reserves to get the energy it needs, which is fantastic if your goal is weight loss. However, alcohol provides a quicker energy source for your body than fat does, which can hinder your weight loss plans if you’re a regular drinker.

This becomes a double negative when you combine alcohol with fatty or high-calorie foods. With your body pulling energy from the alcohol, it won’t even try to burn off the calories from food as it’s too busy at work burning off the booze. As a result, the calories from those delicious late-night chips are likely to end up in your fat cells for ‘safekeeping’. So not only are you trying to work off the weight you originally wanted to lose, you’ve now got to work hard to burn off the new fat from the alcohol and snacks first!


So, how much weight can you lose if you kick your drinking to the curb?

A lot of people lose a fair bit of weight once they give up alcohol and follow a healthier lifestyle. Your own weight loss after giving up alcohol can vary, as it depends on several factors, including how much you drank before you gave the booze up, and how many calories you regularly consume from other sources, and other lifestyle factors.

Let’s say you have 2 glasses of wine with dinner. 2 glasses of pinot grigio per night = 14 glasses across a week. If a glass of pinot grigio contains 120 calories, that’s 1680 extra calories you’re consuming per week. For some people this is more than a full days worth of eating. Reducing your intake by approximately 500 calories per day can result in .5kg of weight loss per week.


A standard serve of wine is 150mls of 10% AV, but studies show that most Aussies like a ‘generous pour’, and we’ll drink at least 300mls of wine at a single sitting. This means giving up your nightly glass of wine could reduce your calorie intake by 240 calories per day, or more, which will definitely help you reduce that waistline

before & after - Amy lost 35kgs on 28bysamwood
AMY LOST 20KGS after joining 28 and giving up alcohol

I gave up alcohol, not for my body…but for my mental health! I joined thinking, ‘just give it 28 days, it’s the cost of a bottle of vodka…but I know which is better for me’. At best I would lose some weight… at worst I’ve wasted $50! But I know it was all on me… no excuses, just hard work and commitment EVERY DAY!

Amy, 28er

There are other great benefits that come with reducing your alcohol intake that shouldn’t be overlooked.

These include:

  • Better sleep
    Drinking alcohol before you go to sleep can increase alpha wave patterns in your brain, causing alpha-delta sleep. This can make your sleep disruptive, non-restorative and cause for an early morning wake-up.

  •  More energy
    Sleep and energy go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise that you’re going to feel more energetic after a night of h20 as opposed to alcohol.

  • Reduced risk of liver damage
    Cutting out alcohol gives your liver time to focus on more important tasks, like breaking down other toxins and metabolizing excess fats and hormones.

  • Stronger immune system
    Excess alcohol can suppress your immune function and lead to inflammation in the body. The combo of these reduces your bodies ability to fight off seasonal illnesses like cold & flu.

  • Better mood
    You might feel on top of the world while you’re drinking, that’s because alcohol affects the brain responsible for inhibition. When our judgement is impaired or our decision making ability is affected, we can do thing we typically wouldn’t. This can result in feelings of regret and increased anxiety. Alcohol can also exacerbate low moods. Going booze free lets you think clearly and deal with situations in a rational and more positive manner.
  • Improved Skin
    Alcohol is a diuretic and dehydrates your skin. It also reduces your skins defences making it more susceptible to free radicals and sun damage. Cutting out alcohol will give your skin a fresher, more hydrated appearance.

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change to their lives. Sam Wood has over 20 years experience as a personal trainer and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators in the health & fitness industry. Sam is the founder and personal trainer of 28, Australia’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program, and he's also the proud owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed, based in Brighton, Melbourne.