Gaining Weight After Quitting Alcohol: Understanding the Connection

July 27, 2023

Gaining Weight After Quitting Alcohol

Understanding the Connection

We hear all of this talk about how people lose weight and look fantastic after ditching the booze. We hear this a LOT!

So why are some of us GAINING weight? After all, we have instantly cut out ’empty calories’ and all the bloating that comes with alcohol. What is going on??

Why Does Weight Gain Occur After Quitting Alcohol?

Several factors contribute to this phenomenon. Firstly, alcohol contains empty calories that can contribute to weight gain. When alcohol is removed from the equation, individuals may compensate by increasing their food consumption, resulting in a higher caloric intake. Additionally, alcohol can impact metabolism, slowing it down and making it harder to burn calories.

After quitting alcohol, it is not uncommon to experience weight gain.

When alcohol is no longer consumed, the body’s metabolism may take time to readjust. Furthermore, alcohol can disrupt hormone levels related to appetite and weight regulation, leading to weight fluctuations.

It is important to understand these factors and adopt a balanced approach to managing weight effectively after quitting alcohol.

1. Changes in Caloric Intake

  • Alcohol contains empty calories that contribute to weight gain.
  • Quitting alcohol may lead to an increase in food consumption, resulting in a higher caloric intake.

2. Impact on Metabolism

  • Alcohol can affect metabolism, slowing it down and making it harder to burn calories.
  • When alcohol is removed from the equation, the body’s metabolism may take time to readjust.

3. Hormonal Changes

  • Alcohol can disrupt hormone levels, including those related to appetite and weight regulation.
  • Quitting alcohol may cause temporary hormonal imbalances, leading to weight fluctuations.

Managing Weight After Quitting Alcohol

Managing weight after quitting alcohol is an important aspect of maintaining overall health and well-being, but can on-so easily catch us out!

When alcohol is removed from the equation, it’s common for individuals to experience weight fluctuations. Understanding the factors contributing to weight gain after quitting alcohol can help in developing effective strategies for managing it.

Weight gain can creep up when quitting the booze

One key factor is changes in caloric intake – THE ACTUAL AMOUNT OF CALORIES YOU TAKE IN WHEN DRINKING IS SO VERY OFTEN UNDERESTIMATED!!

Alcohol contains empty calories, and quitting alcohol may lead to an increase in food consumption, resulting in a higher caloric intake. It’s essential to focus on balanced nutrition, incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Another factor is the impact on metabolism. Alcohol can slow down metabolism, making it harder to burn calories. When alcohol is no longer consumed, the body’s metabolism may take time to readjust. Regular physical activity is crucial in supporting weight management and overall well-being. Engaging in activities you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, cycling, or joining fitness classes, can make it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Hormonal changes also play a role. Alcohol can disrupt hormone levels related to appetite and weight regulation. Quitting alcohol may cause temporary hormonal imbalances, leading to weight fluctuations.

If you have access to a healthcare professional for dietary advice – use them! They can help create a tailored plan to manage weight effectively after quitting alcohol.

Remember, managing weight after quitting alcohol is a journey that requires commitment and patience. By focusing on balanced nutrition, regular physical activity, and seeking professional guidance when needed, it is very possible to maintain a healthy weight and improve overall well-being.

Tips to keep your weight under control during sobriety

Congratulations on taking the bold step to quit alcohol and embrace a healthier lifestyle! While quitting alcohol can lead to numerous health benefits, it’s essential to be mindful of maintaining a healthy weight during this transformative journey. Without the empty calories and potential disruptions to your metabolism, you have a prime opportunity to keep your weight under control. Let’s explore some unique and practical tips to help you strike the perfect balance after quitting alcohol.

Mindful Eating Habits:


Practice mindful eating by paying attention to your hunger cues and eating only when you’re truly hungry. Focus on nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid mindless snacking, and try to savor each bite during meals.

Stay Hydrated

Replace alcoholic beverages with water, herbal teas, or infused water to stay hydrated. Sometimes, thirst can be mistaken for hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking. Drinking enough water throughout the day can help you manage your appetite.

Incorporate Regular Exercise


Engage in regular physical activity that you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, dancing, yoga, or cycling. Exercise not only helps burn calories but also boosts your mood and reduces stress, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Incorporate regular exercise into your routine to support weight management and overall well-being.

Engage in activities you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, cycling, or joining fitness classes.

Plan Balanced Meals:


Create a meal plan that includes a variety of food groups in appropriate portions. Strive for a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in each meal to support your body’s nutritional needs and keep you feeling satisfied.

Prevent Emotional Eating:


Identify alternative ways to cope with stress or emotions instead of turning to food for comfort. Engage in activities like meditation, journaling, hobbies, or talking to a friend when you feel emotionally overwhelmed.

Monitor Alcohol Substitutes:


Be cautious with non-alcoholic beverages, as some of them may contain added sugars or calories. Opt for healthier choices like sparkling water with a splash of citrus or herbal teas without added sugars.

Adequate Sleep:


Ensure you get enough sleep each night, as lack of sleep can disrupt hunger hormones and lead to overeating. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep to support your weight management goals.

Keep a Food Journal

keep a food journal when quitting alcohol


Maintain a food journal to track your meals, snacks, and emotions associated with eating. This practice can help you identify any patterns or triggers that might hinder your weight control efforts.

Choose Smart Snacks


If you feel the need to snack, opt for nutritious options like raw vegetables, fruit, nuts, or Greek yogurt. Avoid keeping unhealthy snacks readily available to reduce temptation.

Seek Support

seek support when trying to maintain a healthy diet


Connect with friends, family, or support groups who understand your journey and can provide encouragement and accountability. Sharing your experiences can make the process more enjoyable and rewarding.

Focus on Balanced Nutrition

  • Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  • Avoid excessive consumption of sugary or processed foods.

Seek Professional Guidance

  • Consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized advice and support.
  • They can help create a tailored plan to manage weight effectively after quitting alcohol.

Remember, weight gain after quitting alcohol is a common occurrence, but with the right approach, it can be managed effectively. Stay committed to your health and well-being journey, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help when needed.

Is it common to gain weight after quitting alcohol?

Yes, it is relatively common to experience weight gain after quitting alcohol. Alcohol contains empty calories and can suppress the appetite, leading to reduced food intake. When you stop drinking, your body may crave additional calories from food, potentially causing weight gain.

What contributes to weight gain after giving up alcohol?

Several factors can contribute to weight gain after quitting alcohol. Increased appetite, changes in eating habits, and the consumption of sugary or high-calorie beverages to replace alcohol are some key contributors.

How can I prevent weight gain while staying alcohol-free?

To prevent weight gain, focus on making healthy dietary choices and engaging in regular physical activity. Opt for nutrient-dense foods, control portion sizes, and find enjoyable exercises to incorporate into your daily routine.

Can stress and emotional factors play a role in weight gain after quitting alcohol?

Absolutely. Stress and emotions can lead to emotional eating, where individuals turn to food for comfort or as a coping mechanism. Dealing with emotions in a healthier way, such as through mindfulness or therapy, can help prevent weight gain.

Are there specific foods that can help maintain a healthy weight after quitting alcohol?

Incorporating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats can support weight management. These foods are nutrient-rich and can help keep you feeling satisfied.

Should I be concerned if I gain a little weight after quitting alcohol?

A slight weight gain is not uncommon and may be a natural part of your body’s adjustment after giving up alcohol. Focus on overall health and well-being rather than fixating solely on the number on the scale.

How can I deal with cravings for alcohol and unhealthy foods?

Identify triggers that lead to cravings and find healthier alternatives to cope with them. Engage in activities that distract you from cravings or seek support from friends or support groups to stay on track.

Will exercise help me manage weight gain after quitting alcohol?

Yes, exercise can be beneficial in managing weight gain. Regular physical activity not only burns calories but also improves mood, reduces stress, and boosts overall well-being.

Are there any hidden sugars or empty calories in non-alcoholic beverages to be aware of?

Some non-alcoholic beverages may contain added sugars or empty calories, especially sweetened sodas or fruit juices. Opt for healthier alternatives like unsweetened herbal teas or infused water to avoid unnecessary calorie intake.

How long does it take for the body to adjust to the changes after quitting alcohol?

The body’s adjustment period varies from person to person. It may take several weeks for your body to stabilize after quitting alcohol, so be patient and stay committed to your health goals.

Remember, weight management is a journey, and it’s essential to focus on overall health and well-being rather than solely on weight. Embrace this new chapter in your life with self-compassion and determination, and celebrate the positive changes you are making for your body and mind.

Social Drinker – Or On The Way To Problem Drinking?

I am a social drinker. I was a social drinker. I kind of stopped being that type of social drinker. I am sure you can relate. It just happens. On the outside, it is just having a drink, then a few more, then as time and life goes on...a bit more regularly for you....

Embrace The Alcohol-Free Lifestyle

Embrace The Alcohol-Free Lifestyle Alcohol has long been a big player in many social gathering and event in current times. It is often seen as a way to unwind, relax, and have a good time. However, there is a growing movement towards embracing an alcohol-free...

The 3 Stages Of Alcoholism

Contents We hear the term alcoholic and alcoholism banded around quite a lot in society.    Whether there is a moral discussion around the term or not, let's leave that for another day.  For now, we must accept what society recognises as a term for...

Related Posts

White Knuckling & Sobriety: What To  Expect

White Knuckling & Sobriety: What To Expect

White Knuckling in Sobriety "I'm going to do it. I know it will be though, but I will just white knuckle through it' Said by many Ride the storm, battle through it - with sobriety being the mantra throughout. When discussing the challenges of sobriety, the term "white...

read more
Can Alcoholics Drink In Moderation?

Can Alcoholics Drink In Moderation?

Can An Alcoholic Ever Drink in Moderation? A Comprehensive Look Drinking alcohol is in every aspect of social interactions and celebrations, but for those who have struggled with a drinking problem, the idea of moderation can be a challenging one. In this post, we...

read more
Does One Drink Break Sobriety? Or ‘Simply’ A Slip-Up?

Does One Drink Break Sobriety? Or ‘Simply’ A Slip-Up?

Does One Drink Break Sobriety? Or Is It 'Simply' A Slip-Up? The big question - Does One Drink Break Sobriety? By having one slip, have you broke sobriety and are now back to day one? Let's look at what we are working with, and see if we can establish if just by having...

read more

About the Author

The Alcohol Off Switch