Overdrinking is very similar to overeating. It’s a form of buffering and taking in an external substance to feel better internally. Many women who overdrink find themselves consuming a lot of empty calories and overindulging, so it’s no surprise that many of the women I work with want to also lose weight.
If you find yourself sluggish, sitting around, or making poor health decisions clouded by alcohol in your brain, tune in and listen to this week’s episode because I’m sharing some of the science behind weight loss, and my three tips to start you on your weight loss journey.
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 70.
Welcome to Drink Less Lifestyle, a podcast for successful women who want to change their relationship with alcohol. If you want to drink less, feel healthier and start loving life again you’re in the right place. Please remember that the information in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Now, here’s your host, Dr. Sherry Price.
Well, hello my friends, how are you today? I wanted to do an episode on this podcast about losing weight because many of the women that I work with who are over-drinkers and enter my programs or want to up-level their life in Epic You, they want to focus on losing weight. And of course, this makes sense because overdrinking is similar to overeating. And when you overdrink, oftentimes you gain weight. And that’s for multiple reasons.
We think of the classic, empty calories, I’m just drinking these empty calories, it’s my dessert. And we know that many drinks like beer has a lot of carbs in it, wine, most cocktails, they’re loaded with lots of sugars and carbohydrates. And they call it a beer belly for a reason, because we feel bloated in the middle. So not only is it just empty calories, but it’s the type of calories. It’s the carbs, it’s the sugars, it’s the classic things that put on weight because they increase our insulin and that leads to fat storage.
And so, the science behind it really makes sense to why we gain weight. But then there are also some other reasons we gain weight that we may not be thinking about like when you eat alcohol, it makes you sluggish and a little more tired and we’re not moving around when we drink. We’re sitting when we drink. We’re either sitting at a bar or sitting watching TV, sitting by the fire, sitting reading a book. It’s a lot of sitting when we’re drinking. We’re not active when we’re drinking.
And then we know alcohol suppresses our inhibitions. So even though we might be doing good all day long about what we eat and how we’re moving, when we get that alcohol acting on certain parts of the brain it’s going to dampen that prefrontal cortex. It’s going to dampen that executive decision-making center. And it’s going to say, “Hey, maybe snacking is okay. Hey, maybe those Goldfish and cheese that’s over there are fine.”
And so, we may be finding ourselves picking up food not even realizing it or eating just because it’s there. Because our brain is not really paying attention. So, there are a multitude of reasons why overdrinking can lead to overeating. And then the most obvious is the next day, the hangover effect, depending on how bad the hangover is, the post-drinking effect is like, well, I’m not liking how I’m feeling. Maybe there’s a little acidity in my stomach and let me just eat a big carbohydrate heavy breakfast to get rid of that.
I know a lot of times when I was in my 20s it would be the Del Taco runs at night, or the hamburger runs at night to quell that kind of uneasiness that alcohol leaves in your stomach, especially when you have too much. So again, it’s really multifactorial, why we’re packing on the pounds when we’re drinking. So, it’s very common for women in my programs to be working on weight loss, be working on healthier eating habits, be working on choosing foods that make them feel good.
Plus, it’s really the start of a new year and I know for a lot of people that’s part of their new year’s resolutions. They want to tone up, slim down, look better in their clothes or feel better in their clothes. So, this is a common want for many women. And I know for myself I’m on this journey too. I don’t know about you but the pandemic has really added a little bit of weight to my waistline and I’m looking to take that off. And when you want to lose weight I say own it.
Whatever it is you want in life, just own it because when you’re like, “Well, I shouldn’t, or my reasons for wanting to do this are kind of vain.” It doesn’t really matter. And let it be vain if it’s vain. I want to look smoking hot in a bathing suit, who doesn’t? So, if that’s what’s motivating me, if that’s what’s getting me going, if that’s what’s, hey, moving the lever and getting me excited about weight loss, I’m all for it. Now, of course I want to be healthier but oftentimes when we say we want to be healthier that’s not enough to motivate us.
So, I know when I was sharing this with my friends and telling them I want to look smoking hot in a bathing suit they were like, “Right on.” And so even the guys in the group were like, “Right on, that’s awesome.” So, owning it feels so good because it motivates you, whatever your reasons are, feeling better in a pair of jeans, feeling more comfortable in your body, feeling healthier, any of that.
I just find that for a lot of women, when we say feeling healthier it really isn’t the motivator, it really isn’t the main driver. Yes, it’s a secondary benefit, a tertiary benefit but it’s oftentimes not enough to get them moving and to get them excited about the goal. So, as we’re wrapping up January I hope you’ve had a great month, you’ve been killing it, you’ve been getting at your goals that you want to do. And if not, you can start now. And February is a great month because we have plenty of time before summer to get in shape and to make those healthy lifestyle changes.
Now, I think of things as tiny habits, and healthy habits, and healthy lifestyle changes. And that’s actually the focus for this month inside Epic You. I am going to be diving deep with the ladies there on how to lose fat and how to lose weight. So, we are talking all things weight loss because I know a lot of the ladies in the group that is one of their main goals that they have for themselves this year.
So inside Epic You, there will be a workbook, there will be videos that are filled with tons of information about the latest science and research on the lifestyle regimens that lead to healthy laboratory markers, healthy cluster, or healthy blood pressure, less disease and lead to fat loss. Because that’s what we want to take off our body. We don’t want to take off the muscle. We want to take off the fat.
So, in the month of February, I will be teaching empowering tools to get you to your weight loss goals. And here’s the thing, some people even need help setting up the goal. They need help just getting started because oftentimes getting started is the most difficult part because you’re going to have to move out of your comfort zone, or your comfortable way, or your familiar way of doing life to change. And that could be scary for the brain.
And if we set aggressive goals, sometimes that could feel too overwhelming, too daunting, and then we don’t even get started or we get started for a day or two and then taper off. So, listen, ladies, I want to make 2022 my year to get this done. And if you are with me and you want to join me on this journey come alongside inside Epic You and I’ll be explaining everything that I’m doing. And you’ll get access to the latest research on what works for weight loss for women, particularly over 40.
So, when it comes to weight loss I have to say this is a huge topic area, it cannot all be covered in just one podcast. Now, many of you know I started off as a weight loss coach before I transitioned over to a stop overdrinking coach. And the amount of information to teach my clients was way more than it is with alcohol because alcohol just does these things in the body and that’s it, it’s just alcohol.
But when it comes to food there’s so much more to consider. Because food, it could be all different types of food, it could be different types of macros in there, different kind of nutrients and vitamins, and how was it grown? And was it processed in a plant or does it come from the earth? Is it organic? Is it grass fed? There’s so much more to losing weight in terms of knowledge and research, and what’s been shown to work and what hasn’t been shown to work. And also, how the food affects your body.
Some people might be allergic to certain foods and certain components in foods. So, it’s really more of an individualized process. And all that to say is I cover a lot of this in the program. But it’s something we can’t cover extensively in one episode of a podcast. So, what I want to give you on this podcast is three tips that can get you started and that can keep you going along your way on this journey for weight loss. So, again, I’m not going to cover the macros and the calories.
But what I really want you to know about food is it’s all stuff we put in our mouth that causes intracellular signaling, which either adds to the body’s functions or detracts from the body’s functions. It either makes our body operate better or it makes our body operate worse. Depending how we feed our body it can lead to fat producing pathways in the body. It can lead to fat storing pathways in the body or it can lead to fat losing pathways in the body. Exciting to know.
And I love this because it really breaks it down to the science which you know I’m a science girl, breaks it down to the science of exactly how food reacts in our body, and what changes it causes in our body. And once you understand this component it gets really easy to build a relationship with food that you want. So, we have all these hormones in our body that act as these neural transmitters or these chemical messengers that signal to our body different things.
Ghrelin, it’s our hunger hormone so once we feel that hunger pain we’re going to want to eat. But there are things that disrupt ghrelin that lead us to think we’re hungry when we’re not. And I call that false hunger. Our body gives us signals that it’s hungry when it’s really not because this pathway gets disrupted.
Then you’ll also understand about leptin which is known as our satiety hormone so we feel full when we have large amounts of leptin. But that becomes dysregulated as well. And so, when that becomes dysregulated you could keep eating, and eating, and eating and never feel full. So that can lead to over-hunger because you’re like, “Well, I’m not full yet. I don’t feel full.” And so, when you have over-hunger you’re going to overeat. So, we talk about false hunger, over-hunger, and how that all leads to overeating.
Because here’s the thing, we’re not really cued into what our body is feeling and doing if these pathways are disrupted. And we talk about what causes those pathways to be disrupted and also what the proper composition of food should be so that your pathways are working normally. So, I could go into so much more of the science particularly around insulin and blood sugar levels and all of that. And I go into that in the course. But for this podcast I really want to boil it down to three tips for you. So here we go.
Tip number one. Eat foods that fuel you, give you energy, and make you operate at your best. Now, that sounds pretty obvious, that you would want to fuel your body with foods that help your body operate at its best. It maintains a certain weight that you feel comfortable in and it makes you and gives you energy. Food should give you energy, that’s why we eat it, for our cells to operate as they normally should. But here is the thing, most people don’t choose food that way.
I’ll tell you what the biggest thing is particularly for women on how they choose feed, it’s what’s convenient, or it’s what’s in sight. So, if you work at a desk and there’s a candy dish right there, super convenient, it’s in sight. Or maybe you work in an office and you pass by a desk on the way towards the copy machine, or the lounge, or wherever you’re going and then you see candy dish in your sight. It’s convenient, you might just dive in for a piece.
Or if you work from home and you open the fridge and you see leftover pizza from last night, convenient, in sight. Other things that are convenient, not wanting to cook, conveniently that you can open up an app like DoorDash and have something delivered. So, a lot of what we go for is convenience.
So, the second thing that people generally choose their food based on is how it tastes. And I’m not just going to stop there, it’s how it tastes and the pleasure they receive from it. And I think that last part is the key, the pleasure they receive from it. So certain foods give our brains a dopamine hit. They hit that reward center, particularly sugar, particularly processed refined carbs. And therefore, not only is it going to taste good, it’s going to give them a rush of pleasure. It’s going to give them that hit of, ooh, this is delightful.
Now, companies know this so of course all the companies have hired scientists to add chemicals to the food. So, these chemicals added to the food hit that reward center in the brain, just like alcohol does. So, a lot of our foods in grocery stores are designed for that in mind. They want that quick bit of pleasure so it keeps you eating. A lot of fast food chains have figured this out as well, so they want you to keep coming back for their yummy delicious meals. So, you keep coming back because you get this reward, this sense of pleasure when you eat them.
Now, when I say this, it doesn’t mean you can never have these foods. And please don’t hear me say that you can never eat tasty food. No, food is tasty. Healthy food is tasty, food that’s good for you, food that gives you vitality and energy throughout the day and doesn’t lead to sluggish crashes does taste really good. It just may not give you a rush of pleasure but the taste of it is good. And there are plenty of healthy foods that taste wonderful.
So, I love eating foods that are super tasty and good for my cells, good for my body and give me energy. And here’s the kicker, if I’m eating foods that give me energy, I’m satisfied with it for hours. I don’t need to keep snacking. I don’t need to keep eating. And I don’t get these major crashes because I’m eating food that supports how my body operates.
Now, I used to eat in a way where I felt sluggish in the afternoon, I needed a Diet Coke, or I needed a snack to get through, or to pick me up because I was dragging. Or I looked to food for my pleasure and enjoyment. And I noticed I was grazing a lot throughout the day and so it felt like eat to get the rush and then crash, eat again to get the rush and then crash, kind of like drinking.
You keep drinking, and keep drinking, and keep drinking because you want to avoid the crash, but you know the crash will come. And it’ll either come that night or the next day because that’s a rule of life, all highs lead to a low. It’s just like a rollercoaster, what goes up must come down. And that’s exactly how the body works as well.
So, I know the foods that work for my body and I have shared those in the program as well. And I know how my body operates best. And I have worksheets where you can identify this for you too. Because here’s the thing, we shouldn’t be eating around the clock. It doesn’t allow our body to function at its best. It doesn’t even allow our bodies to function properly. Because if our body is having to constantly break down and digest food, it’s not getting enough rest and repair. Our guts, our microbiome inside our gut lining it needs time to rest, heal, repair, especially as we get older.
And did you know that the gut microbiome makes over 90% of the serotonin in our bodies? 90% of the serotonin, do you know what the serotonin chemical does? It’s our happy chemical. It’s our calm chemical. It’s what helps stabilizes our moods. So, think about it, if you’ve been more anxious recently, if you’ve been more stressed recently, if you haven’t been at that happy calm place, maybe you have a leaky gut lining. Maybe your microbiome is not functioning as it should.
And there are foods as well as alcohol that kill the gut lining. And if we’re killing the gut lining no wonder why we’re more anxious and we have more emotional issues, and problems regulating our emotions, and mental health can get out of whack. I mean it can lead to a series of downstream events. So, this is called the enteric nervous system and many of us weren’t taught on how to properly care for our enteric nervous system which is our gut microbiome.
And if we think about all the serotonin that’s made there and all the other wonderful things our gut does for us, it is responsible for over 70% of our immunity. And if we’re not taking care of that we are going to get sick, we are going to get disease. And so being mindful of what we eat and how it supports us or doesn’t support our body is critical because you could do all the meditation you want but it’s not going to fix the root cause of the problem.
And I know for me when I eat better I feel better. My emotions are more stable. I am less anxious. I am less stressed. And I know it’s easy to blame our jobs, or our families, or COVID or just whatever else is going on out there. And I’m not saying that’s not contributing but we’ve really got to get to the main source. And for a lot of us it’s we’re not choosing the right foods that support our microbiome. And here’s the thing, some of our foods are so depleted in their nutrients now because of industrialized farming that we can’t even get enough of the nutrients we need.
For example, magnesium, 60% of Americans are low in magnesium levels because the foods that we eat now are not like what our ancestors ate. The soil is different, the farming is different. The practices of how we plow the fields is different, what we feed the crops is different. And if we’re not getting enough magnesium in our diets, guess what? We can’t produce enough ATP, which is the body’s resource for energy. So, we’re going to feel sluggish throughout the day and we’re going to wonder why we feel a bit off.
And the standard blood test that we do for it just looks at the serum magnesium. But the magnesium we really need to study is what’s in the red blood cells, what’s in the cells, what’s actually functioning. And only certain doctors are doing those tests. So, getting the nutrients, and the chemicals, and the minerals that your body really needs is critical to operating at your best. So, I don’t want to routinely feel sluggish. So, I don’t routinely eat foods that make me feel sluggish. And I think we should all empower ourself with this knowledge because this is our life, this is affecting our daily life.
These are choices we make for ourselves and if we’re raising kids, these are things that we can pass on to the next generation so they know how to best take care of themselves. And if I’m not getting enough nutrients from my food, I definitely use supplements to get there because I want to feel good and energized so I eat accordingly.
Alright, so tip number two, number one was a long one, tip number two. Handle your emotions without eating them. How many of us see this play out in movies? We see it play out in society. Maybe we’ve been even raised that way. If we feel bad, sad, mad, or disappointed we eat. It’s called stress eating. A bad breakup, you might see it on TV, you might have lived it in your own life, you run out for a pint of ice-cream. You had a bad day, people say, “Oh, have a drink.” We were taught to consume our emotions. We’re taught to eat them or drink them.
And let me tell you, throwing things down your esophagus doesn’t make you help manage your emotions. It doesn’t teach you anything. All is it teaches you is to throw something down your esophagus so you get a dopamine hit, so you feel a little bit better. But the emotions are still there and the problems are still there. And many of us don’t know how to handle our emotions. We don’t even like feeling them so we just stuff them down, stuff them down with food, stuff them down with alcohol and we just hope that it goes away or we forget about it.
And just think about it, nobody says, “I’m sad, let’s meet for a kale salad.” Nobody’s ever said that. So, notice what we’re craving when we get to those places. We’re craving products that have a dopamine hit. Kale does not have a dopamine hit. So, this is a key area I teach my clients on. We have to be able to handle and manage these emotions that come up otherwise we are going to be dependent on food, or dependent on alcohol to take them or numb them away.
And some people look to shopping to do it, or some other activity outside of themselves instead of learning the skills themselves. There are plenty of coping mechanisms. I teach so many in my programs. There are so many ways you can manage your emotions so that they either dissipate or disappear, morph or you actually process them out of your body.
But I don’t want to be dependent on food or dependent on alcohol to make me feel better. I want to learn that skill for me. Why? Because overconsuming alcohol has deleterious effects on health. Overconsuming food, same thing, leads to disease and it leads to not feeling good about you. So, whether it’s emotions that are brought on by the day, whether they’re emotions brought on by the past, or old hurts, we have the responsibility to ourselves to clean that up.
And if we don’t, remember, not clearing this up for yourself, not having the tools, not having the skills to appropriately manage them and change those emotions, you become dependent on the food or the alcohol. And then you wonder why you’re stuck in this cycle. But learning skills sets you free, proper coping mechanism, things that work. And this is what I teach, because I want you to empower yourself so you’re not dependent on something outside of you. Learn the skills, educate yourself on these skills and practice them.
Doling this work is great because these are life skills that you can have forever. So, it’s not just the knowledge that is powerful, ladies, please hear that. I see that a lot, knowledge is power, knowledge is power, knowledge is power. Knowledge is one step of the equation. Taking action is where it happens, practicing these tools. To me, practicing is where the power is, taking the action is where the power is. And when you take the action that’s what becomes your new habit.
There are a lot of emotions running on high. We’ve got fear based emotions, fear of COVID, uneasiness because of the pandemic, uneasiness because of how will things be in the future. It could be job uneasiness. There’s a lot of emotions that we’re experiencing that are different than they were even two years ago. Anxiety is skyrocketing in our country, mental health issues are skyrocketing, suicides are skyrocketing. I know my own daughter’s anxiety is worse this past year than it was in previous years.
My anxiety comes up. I read a lot on these topics so I can empower myself, I can empower her, I can empower my clients with tools that we can manage through this. Notice I didn’t wait for these tools to come to me. I went out and sought them out. I’ve been trained by therapists and various instructors to develop skills that I can practice in my own life and then I can teach to my daughter.
This is what it means to empower yourself, finding the people to help you do the things in life that you want to do that make a true difference. Because our emotions don’t have to control us. And I know it’s not a problem when they arise. If I have anxiety one day, okay, I have anxiety one day. It’s not a problem, I have tools to get through it, tools to manage it.
A disempowering way to live your life is to say, “Well, if only, if only. If only it wasn’t COVID, if only I didn’t have the stressful job, the stressful kid, the stressful marriage, the stressful whatever. If I only didn’t have anxiety. If I only didn’t have PTSD.” Whatever it is, that’s a very disempowering way to live your life. An empowering way is to do something about it, to take action. And one of the ways you can do that is to give your body proper nutrition, so it can make the serotonin, so it can boost your immunity. And so, you don’t overconsume alcohol which ruins your gut lining.
And so, changing your relationship with food, changing your relationship with alcohol has a tremendous benefit on your life. No one wants to stay stuck in their problems. We want help out of them. And so, you will stop overeating if you learn how to manage your emotions and not eat them.
Alright, moving on to tip number three. This is a big one. This is one, I’m going to say it and you’re going to go, “What, what.” Enjoy the process, not just the destination. And I see this with so many people waiting to get to that magic goal weight, or put on those jeans, or feel good about x, y and z. But they’re hating the process. And if you’re hating the process, I will tell you, it will not stick. Whatever you’re doing will not become a lifestyle. So, enjoying the process is part of enjoying the destination. It’s building the anticipation for that destination.
If you don’t enjoy the process it makes it very, very hard to make the process sustainable. So, BJ Fogg in his book, Tiny Habits talks about making process about change and building tiny habits, fun. Totally agree. We’re always celebrating in my programs all the things we’re accomplishing, all the things we’re learning, all the fun we are having doing it.
Mel Robbins has a new book out that talks about giving yourself a high five, commending yourself for who you are, where you’re at on this journey. I don’t think we do enough of that. We’d rather beat ourselves up or we’re just stuck in this, I’m going to beat myself up because I think that’s the path forward. It’s not and if it is it’s much harder. So, you can either climb a hill or you can climb a mountain, which one would you rather do on the way to weight loss?
And here’s what I see, I see that if people are not having fun or not enjoying the changes they are making in the way they are eating, whatever weight they wind up losing, it’s going to come right back on. Because they know that these habits that they’re building are not sustainable. It’s just not making their life better. It’s not fun. And nobody wants a life that’s not fun and not better.
So, I have to tell you, every January, gosh, this is probably going back 10 years, I used to order the Nutrisystem meals from QVC every January, I think it was January 4th they always came on advertising it as their today’s special value. And I’m like, “Now is the time, it’s the year, I’m going to lose all this weight.” And I would order those meals and I’d eat most of them, most of the edible ones. There were a few that just would turn my stomach or make me want to vomit. But I would eat every single meal that I could for that whole month. I’d lose all this weight. I’d be so proud of myself.
But those meals were not satisfying. And unless I ate those meals for the rest of my life I did not know how to come off of that and have a lifestyle where it was food I could select and what would work for my body, and what would keep the weight off and what would maintain the weight that I have now achieved. No, it all just came right back on. It’s because what I was doing short term wasn’t sustainable long term because I got sick and tired of those meals. There was no way I was going to put in another order.
And what it taught me is rely on these meals to lose weight. It didn’t really teach me about my relationship I have with food, how food interacts with my body, how the food makes me feel, how to select foods that support health versus not support health. It didn’t teach me any of that. I remember even switching to after those meals stopped, to, I’ll just go to the grocery store and buy Smart ones and Lean Cuisine because that’s similar. And really it didn’t work, it didn’t keep the weight off.
So, if it’s a meal plan, you have to think about, hey, is this sustainable for the long term? Is this a lifestyle I could see myself having most days of the month? And also, how does this food make me feel? That’s a big one, not just in the short term but how does it make me feel an hour after, two hours after? Does it cause a crash? And I know for me one of the big skills was learning this difference between what is false hunger and what that feels like versus real hunger. And what over-hunger, what’s causing that? And my brain works best if it’s not just, you get those foods but not those foods.
My brain doesn’t like to say, “I can’t have things.” It just isn’t what my brain responds to. What my brain does respond to is if I choose that thing what is the scientific chemical reaction that happens in my body and does that lead to fat producing, fat storing, or fat loss? Really what’s the bottom line? And how does it make me feel? Now, my brain could wrap its mind around that. It made sense to me. And so, my logic brain found that to be exciting to know that process. And that’s what made it fun for me. It’s part of what made the process fun.
So, notice that I’m empowering myself in a way that I know works. I know I like to learn the science of things, I learn nutrition, I feel smarter, I feel better. And I understand the logic behind it. And that’s exactly what my brain finds fun. And so, I love knowing this about myself. It’s a way I empower myself to get what I want and that feels so good because you’re now being pulled towards what you want rather than forcing yourself there.
Forcing yourself is like willpower, pulling yourself towards it because it’s fun, that’s more of, ooh, this is what stimulates me. This is what lights up my brain, let’s do this, this will be fun. So, what makes the process fun for you? What lights up your brain? So, if you want to learn about your brain and how to empower yourself on this weight loss journey, I invite you to join us. We are getting started in the month of February. It’s going to be so fun for everybody to set their goals, and achieve their goals, and have fun along the way.
So, whether you join Drink Less Lifestyle, or Epic You, you will have access to this information. And as we wrap up I just want to say, maybe you’ve noticed I’ve been using a certain word throughout this podcast and the reason being, it’s my word of the year and it’s already making a profound shift and difference in my life. And I’m going to share more of that with you next week. Alright, friends, thanks for listening and I can’t wait to see you next week.
Thanks for listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle. If you’re ready to change your relationship with alcohol, check out my free guide, How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit at sherryprice.com/startnow. That’s sherryprice.com/startnow. I’ll see you next week.