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Lose weight and still drink beer – preposterous?

Alright, the older we get the harder it is to keep off the pounds.  And, if you’re like me, beer is tough one to give up.  So, is it possible to lose weight and still drink beer?  This may or may not be what you want to hear, but read on and I’ll share my experience on the subject.

What’s it worth?


Yes, most of us carry a few extra pounds.  Like a friend once said, if you’re going to indulge, then at least do it intentionally and understand the consequences.  There are plenty of articles on the web describing how consumption of alcohol is contrary to any weight loss goal.  They’ll tell you that if you must consume, then hard liquor is your best option, followed by wine.  And ABOVE ALL AVOID BEER.  Yep, read it, understood – so just shoot me now…

Seriously, though if we lack the willpower or the desire to give up beer, is all hope lost?  I’m here to tell you no.  As with most things, there are many variables.  If you’re allergic (or sensitive) to the components of beer, then yeah – you may have to scale back or even abstain altogether 🙁

However for most of us, beer in moderation isn’t going to be a problem.  For ALL OF US, the key is moderation.  We only get to go around one time in this life, as far as I can tell, but we should be able to enjoy the journey – otherwise, what’s the point?  Ben Franklin is often attributed with the saying that “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”.

I for one, believe that we do have a heavenly Father and that He loves us.  The Bible tells me He is NOT a big meanie sitting on a throne with a cosmic fly swatter waiting to tag us for finding enjoyment in this life.  Rather, He wants us to be relatable and find pleasure in this existence as part of the creation He set before us.

So, the question is – even if drinking beer takes a few years off the end of your life, what are you doing to counter that and what can you accomplish in the meantime?  I’ve found that being healthy, which for most of us also requires adding some activity to our lives, is a big part of enjoying the journey.  But that doesn’t have to mean giving up on life’s little pleasures.

Weight Loss and Inflammation


Inflammation is a major component to America’s obesity problem.  When we eat or drink things that cause our body to react negatively (defensively), we will experience inflammation in the form of excess retention of water, which is used by the body to encapsulate substances it deems as a threat.

Sadly, many people are allergic, or at least sensitive, to what’s in beer.  If you find yourself in this category then, I’m deeply sorry, but you will definitely have to moderate your consumption, and may have to eliminate this liquid treasure from your lifestyle altogether when you have a weight loss goal and find yourself struggling.

Inflammation is a very serious condition.  All causes of inflammation are potentially bad and lead to the sustainment of excess weight.  My wife and I have been fortunate enough to become patients of a Wellness Way clinic in our area that helped us to find out what causes inflammation for us.  They don’t guess, they test!  So, if you want to know if beer is part of your problem, I suggest you find a professional who can help you answer that question.

Alcohol CAUSES Weight Loss


In the extreme case, alcohol can inhibit the body’s ability to digest nourishment.  This is why alcoholics are often very thin – they’re malnourshed because they’ve damaged their body to the point it cannot derive nourishment from the foods that are consumed.  While this may sound like a good thing for weight loss, it is really very, very bad.  When you reach this stage, the body is not functioning correctly and may be destroying itself to keep you alive.  Glands and organs are not generating the enzymes necessary to extract what your body needs from the foods you eat.  Your brain is not getting what it needs, so processing life becomes a challenge.

If alcohol, yeast, barley, wheat, sugar cane, malt, hops, or other components of beer are causing you problems, you owe it to yourself to find out.  I’m not saying you should stop drinking beer – but if it’s killing you, then you should at least find out and make the conscious decision for yourself.

Moderation is the Key


As I’ve said above, almost anything taken to excess is bad for you.  Whether beer is an acute problem for you or not, moderation will be the key to if and how much you can partake.

For most of us, consumption of beer in moderation is not going to be a problem.  I like everything about beer – but I definitely do not like the consequences of over consumption.  So, for me I mostly drink samplers and flights.  That way I can experience the craft to its fullest and add unique beers to my list in Untappd while avoiding the penalties for drunkenness, inflammation or malnutrition.

 

Conclusion


Do you like beer and find yourself fighting the battle of the bulge?  I hope I’ve been able to give you some hope that you can successfully wage the battle without giving up on our favorite pursuit of finding that next perfect beer.

I’ve taken off more than 20 pounds in the last two years while still adding several hundred unique beers to my tasting experience.  In fact, while writing this article, I’m checking off a beer that’s been on my wish list for quite a while (Barrel Aged Ten Fidy by Oskar Blues).  Cheers!!

UPDATE: What NOT to do!


August 2nd:
After I wrote this blog, a friend was visiting from out of town for almost two weeks and we spent time daily in pursuit of enjoying beer.  We visited 6 different breweries and couple of tap houses.  On the plus side, I earned a new Untappd badge for checking in 7 days in a row.  Was it enjoyable – ABSOLUTELY!  Would I do it again – you bet….

HOWEVER, it was definitely counter-productive to my weight management and I gained four pounds in two weeks.  This just reinforces my assertion that moderation is the key.

Let me know what you think or share your experiences below.

 

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Mike S

12 Comments

  1. Hey Mike,
    Awesome content, man! I really think that it is possible to drink beer and to lose weight. Everything comes down to a healthy diet, moderation and constant exercises.
    I love the Saigon beer. Is it from Thailand?

    • Viet Nam, actually. Funny how it all seems to boil down to moderation and a healthy diet – cheers!

  2. I love that you pointed out that loosing weight is the goal while still highlighting the importance of enjoying life. Without the little enjoyments now and again, weight loss can be brutal. Great article!

  3. Thanks for the reminder that alcohol can cause weight loss when consumed in excessive amount, and that kind of weight loss is actually not a good thing at all. I guess if a person really cannot give up beer, then making sure all the other aspects of diet and lifestyle are optimum for health, then this will be one happy person.

  4. Yes, I agree moderation is the key here. Beer is too good to give up all together. I love the different parts of the world. but moderation and exercise is needed if one wants to be fit. Great content.

    • Johnny – thanks for the reminder. Some level of activity is always important. As Simon mentions below, having a plan to burn off the extra calories from our partaking is a good idea!

  5. Hey Mike, your web-post title captured my attention. I think your right, moderation is key but I think this covers everything from fatty foods, alcohol and dare I say it, smoking.
    I occasionally pile on a spare tyre around my waist only to end up swimming and walking whilst abstaining from beer for a while to reduce it however my wife & I have come to the conclusion that maintaining an ‘okay healthy body’ is simply accomplished by monitoring what you eat and ensure you exercise to keep in trim – in other words, burn off what you consume.
    What’s your favourite tipple? Mine’s stout. All the best,
    Simon.

    • Simon, I love the stouts and porters. Coffee is a second passion and when it’s combined with beer – bring it on!!!

      And, yeah – my wife reminds me that exercise is part of the plan as well. I own a small acreage and get a fair bit of exercise maintaining it and walking. I did buy a fitbit to keep track of and have focused on being a little more active as well.

  6. I definitely enjoy a good wobbly pop every now and then and it’s good to know more about consuming alcohol and the resulting impact on my health so I can make informed decisions. I used to avoid dry red wines but it has recently become my go-to as the sugar content is low and anti-oxidants are high; have you looked into the benefits of dry red wines?

  7. Great points Mike! As with everything in life, moderation is the key. When I’m cutting (losing weight, fat) I don’t completely abstain from alcohol. I might have a beer or two in the weekend but that’s it. The empty calories are going to make the weight loss difficult if you knock back as six pack or two every weekend. If I want to get a little buzz my secret weapon is rum & coke with light coke. You only get the calories from the alcohol and pretty much zero carbs. Doesn’t compare to a good lager though 🙂

    • I hear ya. I go for the Tanqueray Ten. And, yes I know the alcohol can slow down the weight loss, but like you said… don’t be drinking a six pack!

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