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When Weight Loss Doesn't Happen ...And Can I Still Drink Wine and Stay on Track?

Ever feel like you’re “eating perfectly” but still not losing weight?

It’s possible. But it’s not what happens most often.

Usually, there are one of two things going on:

Problem #1: You’re eating more than you realize.

Problem #2: What you think is the “right amount”... isn’t.

Or, it could be both.

Here’s a fun example that also addressing everyones question about wine consumption :)

Let’s say you’re trying to lose weight and eating 500 fewer daily calories than what you’d need to maintain your weight.

Hypothetically, that’s enough to lose one pound a week.

That’s with no... hiccups.

Maybe you’ve got a great routine down, and you’re consistently eating the same amount and nailing your calorie intake goal. You even have enough room in your daily diet for two glasses of wine (one with dinner and one after).

You like eating this way, and it feels pretty sustainable.

Perfect. Except a couple of things…

Your two glasses of wine are actually 8 ounces each (200 calories), instead of the standard 5 ounces (125 calories). Those liberal pours give you an extra 150 calories a day.

This is really easy to do, just check out the photo below.

comparing 2 glasses of red wine one is 5 oz one is 8oz
The glass on the left has 8 ounces of red wine. On the right, 5 ounces (a “standard serving”).

As you can see, the shape and size of the glass make it hard to eyeball portion size. There’s not much room for error.

But that’s not all…

On Saturday night, you have friends over and grab curbside from the Cheesecake Factory. You order the Thai Coconut Lime Chicken, which sounds reasonable and looks pretty healthy.

Thai Coconut Lime Chicken with white rice from the Cheesecake Factory

But… it’s 1,980 calories. And because your friends overstay (okay, you encouraged them!), you have four “servings” of wine instead of your usual two.

Despite your consistent eating, after the extra wine and the one meal from Cheesecake Factory, you end up with just a 70 calorie deficit for the week versus your planned 3,500 calorie deficit.

So you don’t lose weight.

Disappointing, for sure.

This is a pretty simplistic example, but it’s exactly the kind of thing that happens to many folks who struggle to lose weight despite feeling like they’re eating exactly how they planned. Because they were—almost.

And when it comes to wine and losing weight, the unfortunate fact is it's very hard to justify it. After all, it's not at all a"health food" despite what some past studies may have suggested. More and more research now points to the cons far outweighing the benefits.

The bottom line is, wine is just extra empty calories. Alcohol also reduces inhibitions and affects hunger cues that can lead to overeating. It can also drastically interfere with sleep if consumed too close to bedtime.

So if you want to indulge in a glass of wine, go for it! Low to moderate wine consumption is probably relatively safe.... just be honest with yourself and know it's not at all helping your weight loss plan.

What about Problem #2?

Well, your individual body may be playing a role in your challenges, too. For example:

► Your basal metabolic rate—the energy you need just to fuel your organs and biological functions to stay alive—can vary by 15 percent. For the average person, that’s roughly 200-270 calories a day.

► Sleep deprivation can cause a 5-20 percent change in metabolism (the equivalent of 200-500 calories a day).

► For women, the phase of their menstrual cycle can affect metabolism by another 150 calories a day or so.

This is why all calorie calculations are just a starting point. You try to consistently eat a certain amount, and if after, say 2-3 weeks you’re not seeing changes, you can adjust.

But it’s not necessarily just about cutting more calories. It could be, for example, that “the fix” is getting more sleep, moving more, and/or reducing stress.

This is where nutrition coaching can be really valuable. Because you don’t have to figure it out by yourself.

Thanks for reading. Please comment and SHARE this post if you found it useful. You can also join my private group here so you don't miss my next blog post:)

If you, or someone you know, needs help with nutrition or a fitness routine, please reach out. Either online or in the gym, I specialize in helping busy professionals over 40 get fit without burning out. My personal training studio services downtown Toronto and is just steps away from the UP Union to Pearson Express Station.

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1 Comment

Great article. Very informative! Thanks, Joey!

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