Alcohol and Weight Loss - How to get rid of a Beer Belly (or Wine Belly).

Even if you've never had an IPA or lager, you've probably heard of a beer belly. It's a colloquial word for the stomach shape that develops in people who have excess abdominal fat. While our culture has happily grown to accept bodies of all shapes and sizes, being overweight or obese has major health risks such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

If you want to know how to get rid of a beer belly, you must first realise one key fact: a beer belly is not caused solely by drinking alcohol. Yes, drinking beer, wine and spirits can help dramatically expand your waist line, but it’s by no means the only factor at play. 

It’s not really Beer’s Fault (or Wine for that matter). 

Extra body fat is caused by an excess of calories, regardless of the source, and if you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. Beer is caloric, has little nutritional value, and can add to this calorie surplus, but it is not the primary cause of a beer belly. Any calorie-dense food, when consumed in excess, can lead to belly fat.

Extra fat is caused by an excess of calories
Hitting a healthy calorie deficit combined with the right exercise program is the best way to reduce belly fat. 

Losing fat is dependent on a shift in the balance of calories burnt and ingested. You can more efficiently reach a calorie deficit each day and work to lose that beer belly with a balanced diet based on a Meal Plan that promotes eating whole foods with adequate protein sources. and an exercise routine that is the right fit for your current level of fitness and ability - if you are overweight or obese, please read this helpful article on how to start exercising again. To further understand this process, we spoke with expert Julia DeLissio, RDN, CPT, who talked us through some of the myths regarding belly fat and shared some helpful tips for getting rid of it.

How to Get Rid of Belly Fat. 

Though it's normal to want a diet and fitness programme that especially targets stomach fat, it's not that simple. Spot reduction of abdominal fat, according to DeLissio, is a fiction.

"When you engage in a weight reduction lifestyle change, you will lose weight from your entire body," she explained. "There is no such thing as'spot reduction,' which is the assumption that you can choose which portions of your body to reduce fat in."

However, certain foods, according to DeLissio, can lead to abdominal weight gain over time. Trans fats, sweets, and alcohol are important contributors to a distended (or bloated) stomach. Some examples might be:

Foods that are fried (fries, fried chicken, etc.)
Bakery products (usually ones prepared with shortening or certain vegetable oils)
Sugary beverages (from sports drinks to sodas)
Desserts (candy, cookies, etc.)

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"Fat can accumulate between essential organs, pushing the belly forward and giving the appearance of a beer belly," DeLissio explained. "This appearance can also be caused by some situations in which a person retains a lot of water in their peritoneal cavity." Those who are not distended by a condition may gain weight in their thighs, while others may gain weight in their stomach region. This could be attributable to heredity, lifestyle, or a combination of the two."

DeLissio recommends limiting saturated fat, sugar, and alcohol in a fat-loss diet. She suggested a few excellent strategies:

Change change your cooking fats. Use liquid fats like avocado oil instead of solid fats like coconut oil or butter.
Take note of what you are drinking. Reduce your intake of high-sugar sodas and be mindful of what you add in your coffee. Extra sugar is frequently added to creamers.
Consume fruits rather than fruit juice. "You'll get more fibre and less sugar for the same amount of food," she says.

Intermittent Fasting works on the Beer Belly. 

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A new study has confirmed that intermittent fasting is one of the most highly efficient method for losing weight and keeping it off. Fasting has slowly gained popularity because it does not require participants to restrict their food choices in any way, instead, the focus becomes when you eat, not what you eat. When you practice fasting, you can eat whatever you want. There is no need to count calories, measure or weigh food, or keep track of food ‘points’. If you’ve been frustrated by other approaches, following an Intermittent Fasting Plan can be a proven breath of fresh air. You can read more about the benefits of Intermittent Fasting here

Weight Loss and Alcohol

So we've established that a beer belly isn't always caused by beer. However, if you drink a few pale ales (or glasses of wine) after work every night, those calories will add up, not to mention the extensive list of potential health problems associated with excessive alcohol intake.

Nonetheless, alcohol is ingrained in our social culture. And, whether you favour whiskey cocktails or artisan brews, you don't have to give up what you like.

However, if you're serious about reducing your weight, restricting your alcohol consumption is an excellent place to start. Because alcohol includes 7 calories per gramme, the majority of the calories in your favourite alcoholic beverages are "empty," meaning they do not come from key macronutrients like protein, carbs, or fat.

Here's a quick rundown of alcohol's estimated caloric profiles:

alcohol's estimated caloric profiles
How many calories does your favourite alcoholic beverage have?


(1.5 oz.) whisky — 105 calories
5 oz. red wine — 125 calories
12 oz. light beer — 64 calories
IPA (12 oz.) — 200 calories or more
12 oz. hard seltzer — 100 calories

If you don't want to totally eliminate alcohol from your diet, DeLissio suggests cutting back on sugary mixers (soda, juice, etc.) and minimising the amount in general. According to DeLissio, it can also be beneficial to question yourself why you're drinking in the first place and how it impacts your entire mindset.

"Are they drinking as a result of stress, a bad relationship, or a job they despise?" she wondered. "Sometimes, if you get to the root of the problem, you may reduce consumption while enhancing your mental health and overall quality of life."

Late night cravings…

Then there's the late-night hunger and cravings that come after a night of drinking. We'll be the first to confess that after a few beers, a few cheeseburgers or a pizza wheel tastes quite good. However, those extra calories, along with the calories you're already taking in the form of alcoholic drinks, will not help you lose a beer belly.

Drinking alcohol can also make you hungry

Drinking in excess often leads people to make poor diet choices. 

"Drinking alcohol can also make you hungry, and people prefer to skip meals if they are counting calories and taking alcohol into account," DeLissio explained. "This produces a less-than-ideal environment for success because it requires substituting critical protein and fibre from the diet for alcohol."

So, to sum it up, here's how to manage alcohol consumption and weight loss:

Recognize why you drink. It can help you cut back on your alcohol use if you can identify your triggers.

Consume fewer calories. Choose lower-calorie beverages such as light beers, seltzers, or spirits without caloric mixers such as soda.

Refuse the "drunkies." Late-night munchies, no matter how tempting they appear, will not help you lose weight.

Stay away from binge drinking. A strategy of "no drinking on weekdays" makes sense, but compensating with weekend binge drinking negates the benefits. According to DeLissio, one drink per day is less harmful to one's health than seven on the weekend.

"Drinking occurs and is a part of life," DeLissio explained. "However, in terms of attaining your goals and staying healthy, choosing food over alcohol is always going to be optimum."

Exercises to Lose Belly Fat

Coach Edith leads the Beginner Bootcamp Workout series.
Coach Edith leads the 30 day Beginner Bootcamp Workout series. Click the image to get episode 1 for free. 

We've talked a lot about fat-burning and calorie-burning workouts on BodyRock.Tv, but the general rule is that the more intense the activity, the more calories you'll burn. Remember that you burn fat all over your body, not just in one area, thus the finest fat-burning workouts will provide effects for your complete body. 

The right place for you to start.

That said, if you are looking to lean down and tone up, you have to start at the level of activity that you can currently accomplish. There is absolutely zero point of signing you up for something that is too intense, too overwhelming and just too much. We get that you want change - you might be desperate for it - and we applaud the courage that it takes to carry and hold that desire in your heart. But if we put you into something that you are not ready for - it will just lead to a bad outcome. You will get burned out, frustrated, you might even get injured. 

Beginner Bootcamp

Coach Edith is waiting for you to try workout episode #1 - it’s just 10 minutes and it’s free. Give it a try! Click here

Instead, understand that this is a process. Everyone starts somewhere. We hope that you will consider your ‘somewhere’ to be here with us. As the original fitness YouTube channel, we’ve been helping people get in shape since 2008. If it’s been a while since you’ve moved in a way that even approaches a workout, then we have the perfect on-ramp to get you started. We’ve developed a 30 day program that you can follow in just 10-15 minutes per day. It’s our Beginner Bootcamp - a series that over 250,000 people have taken since it launch - its specifically designed to get you up and moving again at a pace and intensity that makes sense out of the gate, and with exercises that will help you tone up and lose excess fat. Our coach Edith leads this program, and you can try the first episode here for free. 

1 comment

You are always so motivating and tell it like it is. Keep it simple and true I always say. Thank you

debra gonzalez April 26, 2022

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