Jake Berman

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How is Alcohol Affecting My Weight, Metabolism and Overall Wellness?

So many individuals in today’s world are motivated to get healthy, maintain a healthy weight and
create new lifestyle changes. You may be one of those people if you are reading this! In clinical
practice, a lot of clients will ask about the impact that alcohol has on this whole process.
Like everything, moderation is important when considering alcohol. A beer, glass of wine or
cocktail is certainly okay on special occasions, BUT alcohol can effect our bodies in MANY
negative ways. This is especially true in clients who are hoping to lose weight, decrease cortisol
levels and improve insulin resistance. Immediately when consuming alcohol it often makes us
feel relaxed, and more social for some, and that feels good at the time. However, shortly after
consuming alcohol there are many changes that begin to happen in our body. Let’s dive a little
deeper into some of the changes that chronic alcohol use creates on the inside:

Interferes with the brain’s communication pathways leading to losing some inhibition
which can lead you to make choices you wouldn’t normally if not drinking. For our
purposes this can include snacking, binge eating, making poor dietary choices when you
wouldn’t otherwise. This often puts you in a state of calorie excess contributing to weight
gain or difficulty losing weight.

Decreases sleep quality. After 1-2 glasses of wine it may seem that you fall asleep
“easily”, but alcohol causes a significant decrease in REM sleep which is the most
restorative sleep for our bodies and helps with decreasing inflammation, strengthening
the immune system and helping with muscle recovery.

Increases cortisol level. Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands.
Cortisol at high levels can contribute to storage of abdominal fat, blood sugar instability
and insulin resistance. Alcohol can block cortisol receptors causing increased cortisol
levels in the blood. This is often in addition to the already high cortisol levels many of us
maintain from the outside stressors in our busy lives.

Causes chronic fatigue. This is in a big part related to non-restorative sleep, leaving
you in a state of waking up feeling unrefreshed every morning. This is also due to high
cortisol levels. This fatigue can also lead you to miss work-outs and be less motivated to
stay active!

Drops blood sugar levels initially, then will cause a significant spike in blood sugar as
alcohol is broken down by the body into sugars. This blood sugar instability further
increases cortisol levels and prevents the body from burning fat and using energy

Acts as a depressant. This means that it slows, or depresses, basic functions such as
speech, movement and reactions. It also affects brain function and neural activity. This
can further contribute to poor energy levels and chronic fatigue.

Effects dopamine levels. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates our moods,
emotions and sensations. It is known as the “happy” chemical. When you have alcohol,
the brain’s reward system is flooded with dopamine. With chronic use the brain begins
secreting less dopamine by itself as it is used to alcohol providing this release. This can
cause several mental health conditions to be exacerbated.
Causes dehydration. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, which means it increases urine output
and decreases hydration within the body. Dehydration can decrease the metabolism by
up to 30%! So, this poor hydration by itself can contribute to difficulty with weight loss for

Adds extra carbohydrates and sugar to our diet which can contribute to excess daily
calories and fat storage in the body. Every now and then, these additional sugars are
absolutely okay, but this in excess can hinder you from reaching your health and
wellness goals and feeling your best!

With all of this being said, we help our clients with lifestyle changes and understand that alcohol
is part of life for many. Finding out what works best for you to moderate alcohol intake or
decrease it even slightly at first, can go a long way in helping you feel good and helping your
metabolism function optimally!

Things to consider if you are interested in reducing alcohol intake:

When you have the urge to reach for that glass of wine or beer at the end of a long day,
instead, move your body! Go take a walk, head to the gym, do 20 jumping jacks. Even
small changes in our internal environment and heart rate can help that craving pass.

Find a non-alcoholic drink that is yummy and different than what you have throughout
the day, to have as your evening “mocktail” when you want to unwind.

Find a friend or family member who is also interested in cutting back and ask them to be
an accountability partner with you.
We are all on a journey to become the best version of ourselves. This is one small piece of the
puzzle but one that can have a big impact!
Dr. Jake Berman

Dr. Jake Berman

After graduating from the University of Florida, Dr. Jake Berman, PT, DPT sought out mentorship first from Bob Seton in Destin, FL and then from Aaron Robles in Jacksonville, FL. Both of these mentors have 20+ years of experience helping people keep active and mobile so they can enjoy high quality active lifestyles. What Jake found was that back pain was by far the most debilitating pain and the highest factor leading to decreased physical activity later in life. These experiences are what inspired Jake to specialize in helping people aged 50+ keep active, mobile and pain free despite the aging process. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to alleviate somebody’s back pain so that they can get back to living their best life- especially in Naples! Over the years of helping 100’s of people aged 65-75 become stronger and pain free, one thing for sure has become apparent: “he who rests rots”. Jake is a firm believer that we become stiff then old, not old then stiff. Seriously, think about it...
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