We know how fun it can be to celebrate a special occasion or even just the end of a workday with a favorite adult beverage. But your occasional indulgence in alcohol could be seriously interfering with your weight loss!

First of all, alcohol is full of empty calories. There are between 1 and 200 calories and basically no nutrients in an average glass of wine or beer, and higher calorie cocktails laden with sugary mixers can be over 700! Even the alleged heart-healthy benefits of red wine are largely questionable and there are plenty of less risky ways to get your antioxidants in.

When your body is busy breaking down alcohol, it stops burning fat. Alcohol also makes it more difficult for the liver to process sugar and interferes with digestion, leading to poor absorption of the nutrients that are essential to your body's proper functioning. Alcohol can also lower testosterone in men, interfering with muscle growth and fat-burning.

A night out of drinking can also easily take the place of a healthy activity like exercise or prepping your wholesome meals for the next day, and a hungover you is less likely to be able to book it to the gym before work.

Alcohol can also interfere with your sleep patterns by interrupting your circadian rhythm, blocking restorative REM sleep, and aggravating breathing problems. This  can in turn wreak havoc on your weight loss efforts. If you go through your day hungover, exhausted, and eating easy-to-grab unhealthy food  by the end of it all, you're probably craving—you guessed it—another drink.

Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions and leads to poor decision making, which goes hand in hand with poor food choices. One drink leads to two, two drinks leads to three, and three drinks lead you right to the Taco Bell drive-through.

But a drier life doesn't have to be a more stressful or boring one! Try replacing your drinking-buddy pals with a healthier weight loss support system and your nights at the bar with a habit like meditation or yoga that can be just as relaxing and also support your weight loss goals. If you're having a seriously hard time staying off the sauce, try seeking professional counseling or investigating recovery programs like AA.

Quitting or reducing your drinking will also improve your brain health, strengthen your immune system, protect your liver, and improve your digestion. Don't focus on the fleeting thrills you're giving up; focus on the amazing new you you're working towards!

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