Article At A Glance:
Alcohol addiction can have a range of negative effects on a person’s health, and one can often be weight gain.
Weight loss is often a goal for many, and in alcohol recovery, can be harder to achieve without compromising the goal of long-term sobriety.
In this article, we’ll outline ten simple ways to support weight loss in sobriety that don’t rely solely on dieting.
Incorporate movement into your day
Exercise is a great way to kick-start your weight loss journey, which can boost your mood and ultimately overall health.
Although different forms of exercise are encouraged, simply just adding some walking into your day can be a low-impact way to concisely start thinking about weight loss.
Learn more here on Exercise in Sobriety: How it Helps & Why More Isn’t Better.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Drinking water is essential for good health, and in fact, drinking more may actually help reduce hunger levels throughout the day.
You may even simply want to switch some caloric drinks throughout the day with water (or soda water), with studies showing this as an effective intervention for weight loss (Jiménez Cruz et al., 2019).
Fat Burning Supplements
Sometimes if you’re after a kick-start, finding a good fat-burning supplement can be a simple method for weight loss.
While this is never a long-term solution, and it must always be paired with exercise and a balanced diet, it can be a good option.
One supplement I recommend is HEAT by UM Sports, which not only burns fat but supports healthy metabolism and overall health. Make sure to use code CLARITY for 10% OFF any purchase!
Eat the Rainbow
Looking after our base nutritional health is an absolute must if you’re looking to lose weight, incorporating a range of fruits and vegetables into your day.
That’s why, this area is both critical and part of the 5 Simple Habits You Should Be Doing to Sustain Long-Term Sobriety.
Cut Back on Sugar
It seems like a no-brainer, but cutting back on sugar can be difficult, especially in early sobriety.
Usually, when we quit alcohol, our addiction can be transferred to substances that trigger the same neurotransmitters (Gottfredson & Sokol, 2019), and this can end up being non-alcoholic sugary beverages and foods.
This creates undesirable weight gain, so if we consciously cut back or limit these foods, this will help with weight loss.
Sleep hygiene is a big deal, in fact, I dedicate a large portion of this area in my book (it’s coming, eventually).
Lack of sleep disrupts hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism, such as ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin stimulates our appetite, while leptin suppresses appetite and increases energy expenditure.
Studies actually show lack of sleep increases our ghrelin levels and decreases leptin, increasing our hunger and decreasing the energy we spend.
Keep an eye out for my book or subscribe here, because I go much deeper on sleep!
Be Mindful of Stress
Stress is probably the most underrated area of health because when we’re chronically stressed, it affects multiple areas, including our weight.
One thing stress does is elevate our cortisol, a hormone that’s released in response to stress. When cortisol levels are high, it can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels, and over time, lead to insulin resistance (Yan et al., 2016).
Insulin resistance means our body becomes less efficient in handling sugars in the blood, leading to weight gain and the development of type-2 diabetes.
Set Realistic Goals
With all of this, it’s also important to set realistic weight goals so you can stay on track and motivated.
One thing I’ve found with individuals who quit alcohol is that they’re driven, so the temptation to flip the switch and go full throttle into weight loss is likely.
Doing this though can lead us to fall short of our weight loss goals, and potentially increase our risk of relapse, so start slow.
Perhaps kick-start with a fat-burning supplement, and focus on your water intake and movement, keep it simple, to begin with.
In conclusion, weight loss can be a challenging goal to achieve in sobriety, but it’s not impossible.
Incorporating simple lifestyle changes, such as adding more movement to your day, staying hydrated, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, cutting back on sugar, practising good sleep hygiene, managing stress, and setting realistic goals can help you reach your weight loss goals without compromising your sobriety.
Remember to take things slow and steady, and seek professional help if necessary. By implementing these ten tips, you can support your overall health and well-being in sobriety.
If you have any feedback regarding this article, reach out. Help Clarity reach more people and quit addiction by following us on Instagram, it’s also the perfect place to message us and ask questions!
- Gottfredson, N. C., & Sokol, R. (2019). Explaining Excessive Weight Gain during Early Recovery from Addiction. Substance Use & Misuse, 54(5), 769–778. https://doi.org/10.1080/10826084.2018.1536722
- Jiménez Cruz, A., Bracamontes-Castelo, G., & Bacardí-Gascón, M. (2019). Effect of water consumption on weight loss: a systematic review. Nutrición Hospitalaria. https://doi.org/10.20960/nh.02746
- Mahboub, N., Rizk, R., Karavetian, M., & de Vries, N. (2021). Nutritional status and eating habits of people who use drugs and/or are undergoing treatment for recovery: a narrative review. Nutrition Reviews, 79(6), 627–635. https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuaa095
- Yan, Y.-X., Xiao, H.-B., Wang, S.-S., Zhao, J., He, Y., Wang, W., & Dong, J. (2016). Investigation of the Relationship Between Chronic Stress and Insulin Resistance in a Chinese Population. Journal of Epidemiology, 26(7), 355–360. https://doi.org/10.2188/jea.JE20150183
Former drinker, Nutritionist, Biohacking enthusiast, self-experimenter, research fanatic, and self-taught writer, Stephen immerses himself deep into the literature of human optimisation and better understand the nature of addiction. His goal is to help people take control of their addiction, reset their cravings, unscramble their broken brain circuitry and use actionable strategies that work ten times better than anything else.