Have you ever wondered how your relationship with alcohol might be influencing your eating habits or overall health?
Have you ever wondered if alcohol is fuelling your emotional eating? Maybe you've already noticed the connection?
It's time to unravel the link between booze, binge eating and your weight.
The impact of alcohol is profound. And there are SO many surprising ways alcohol can lead to anxiety, stress, emotional eating and restriction - a cycle that's all too easy to fall into.
Has diet culture narrowed your focus purely on the calorie content of alcohol?
Well, the bad news is the true impact reaches beyond just calories - it affects our sleep, hunger hormones, and gut health too.
But it's not all gloom and doom. Thank goodness!
There is life with booze, a life without booze and even a life with less booze. As with all wellness (without the wankery), it's all about making informed choices for yourself and your body without feeling restricted.
You just need all the information. So, it's time to press play!
Ps. If you listened to this episode and are ready to drink less and ditch the boozy blues, I can help you kick start your sober curious journey. Jump on our waitlist for resources that'll help you create a healthier relationship with alcohol!
Hello, welcome to the no Wellness Wankery podcast, the place for you to click, listen to each and every week when you want to decipher. Is that wellness? Is that wankery? Is that something I need to be doing? My name is Jenna D'Apice and I'm joined by the Lyndi, Hello Hello.Lyndi:
Hello everyone and welcome to this week's episode, which is something very close to my heart at the moment, something that keeps me up at night. Actually, it does not. I have never slept so well. That is such a lie. I've been sleeping like I won't say my baby, because my baby is not sleeping well, but I am sleeping like a husband. It's going great. I want to talk about this topic because it's something that I get asked a lot about, people reaching out to me and saying things like Lindy, like I would stop binge eating, but whenever I drink alcohol, I am not in control and that's when I can't stop eating. As soon as I drink one glass of alcohol, I am eating so much I have no control and there is a correlation between eating around alcohol and all of this stuff. I wanted to talk about it today because full disclaimer I have now spent about 18 months not drinking alcohol. I did not intend to get to this point where I did not drink for 18 months. Part of that was being pregnant, but the other part of it was me going on a bit of a sober, curious journey to go all right. How do I feel with that alcohol? I've never in my adult life ever done an experiment where I didn't drink alcohol? I was like, who am I without alcohol? I'm here to tell you I can't go back now.Jenna:
That's the thing You're seeing that many changes 18 months, you can't go back. It's wild.Lyndi:
It is wild. I tell you what. I wasn't a problem drinker. I didn't really think I had an issue with alcohol, but my anxiety was so crippling and life impacting that I was like I owe it to myself to give this a chance. Because when I was pregnant, anxiety poof, disappeared, nonexistent. I was like, oh, this is how people live, this is beautiful, I like this. Then I thought, well, let's just see if I keep not drinking alcohol. How do I feel? Yeah, I just feel so amazing and I want everyone else to know about that. I have also recorded a podcast episode explaining my relationship with alcohol and how it changed a little bit more. You guys can go a few episodes back and go and listen to that if you want to hear a little bit more about my journey, why I'm doing this, all that jazz. Jenna, tell me, where are you out with alcohol? What's your relationship with?Jenna:
it. I have a bit of an interesting one with alcohol because I feel like I used to have a massive problem with binge drinking. But I have found that ever since and I'm assuming you're going to tell me there's a reason for this ever since I've worked on my relationship with food, I have found my binge drinking has naturally ceased. I still do drink, but it's nowhere near binge drinking like I used to. I feel like if I go out I'll have a cocktail I don't drink at home. Currently I'm feeling very in control with that and I never really feel like it's out of hand. So I'm wondering is there? Am I crazy to think that there's a link between emotional eating and alcohol? You?Lyndi:
are not crazy. That is absolutely correct. There is a link. There are many reasons why, which I would love to get into. Can I ask you, why do you think there's been a reduction in your drinking?Jenna:
To me it seems like my little scientific experiment in my head. I found that I would like say, on the weekends maybe I would have like just bingeed or eaten too much food. In the Saturday, when I was had not much to do, and then if I was going out in the night I'd be getting ready, I would feel bad about what I looked like, I'd feel like I'd eaten too much. So then I'm already going into the event, my self-esteem is not great, which then makes me drink more, and then the next day when I'm hungover, feeling bad about myself, then it would continue to binge and then it would kind of ripple into this cycle. That's what I have observed from myself.Lyndi:
Yes, Spot on, spot on. So let's talk about this. Alcohol is a coping strategy. It's a way to numb out hard things. It's a way to kind of turn up and feel more confident. As soon as you have a few sips of alcohol, gabby gets released and it's going to help to reduce inhibitions, build confidence. And that's why, if you get a rip in a bar, you notice that everyone just starts talking really loudly. Yes, they're not inhibited, so as a result, they don't realize that they're screaming, and so in these ways we kind of this is how we feel, like we get this confidence boost when we drink alcohol. So there is that and there's also this numbing effect. So it's going to help to make us feel soothed. So once the Gabby gets released in that first drink, gabby kind of increases and this is good. It helps us feel more relaxed. As we have more and more drinks, it actually has the opposite impact and it can start to make us feel more anxious, more stressed. And so I think we often think alcohol is a relaxant, it's a de-stress and it boosts us, but that's only in the very, very short term. Of the long term. It's ultimately doing the exact opposite. These can fuel emotional eating because, let's say, you're waking up the next day and you're feeling pretty crummy around yourself. You probably said things you aren't that proud of or did things you're not that proud of. Maybe you ate things you aren't so proud of. So now you go well, I feel even worse about myself and cue the emotional eating to try and self soothe. Emotional eating, like drinking alcohol, is just another way of numbing, of trying to deal with tricky situations. So the bet is that probably, as your self-esteem went up which is so fundamental your sense of self-worth wasn't tied into what you ate that day. Therefore, it was far less of a roller coaster with your emotional eating and your eating in general, and you didn't depend on alcohol to help give you that soothe and that balm, because it is just a short term quick fix.Jenna:
Because I found, probably looking back, I either would have had two options and I would have binged eight because I had nothing to do in the day or, if I was being really good, that I would have hardly anything, because you know all these diets that I used to do when you like, I knew like how many points it would be for one drink and I wanted to have fun with my friends, I had to allocate those points or calories or whatever. So you eat and so little. Then, when you have that one drink, then you just like spirals into the next, to the next, to the next.Lyndi:
It's deeply disordered in fact, there's a whole bunch of conversation around how people eating is cheating I don't know if you've ever heard that phrase where people try not to eat, that they do get more drunk. There is also a correlation in the research that ties eating disorders and alcohol use disorder. By the way, we don't actually call it alcohol Alcoholism anymore. Alcoholics refer to as alcohol use disorder. Anyway, there is a correlation between these because, I said, these are coping strategies. The other thing that we find is, once we have that first sip of alcohol, it starts to affect our prefrontal cortex, and so what this means is that we feel a little bit less inhibited. We're more likely to do silly things, or we might be, you know, we might disconnect from our hunger queues, we might go off. That food looks delicious, it doesn't matter that. I feel like I'm ready for, I'm happy to just keep eating and eating. So we do have that feeling, and that is one way in which it impacts us. Then there's also you know I'm so I'm talking about here is also how alcohol impacts weight, because I think a lot of people do want to have this conversation, and there are many ways in which it impacts our bodies, and I wait. So this is a conversation around that. The next morning as well, when you're not feeling so amazing, you are in a bit of that shame spiral and, once again, if you're used to using food to soothe yourself, you're probably going to go for some of your comfort foods as a way to recover. I think there are two types of people people who barely eat the day after drinking and people who are like I give me all the deep fried food that you possibly can. Which one of you?Jenna:
I'm probably a combination of the both, because I probably feel sick in the morning and don't want to eat, and then, when I've restricted so along then in the afternoon, then you can't hold on any longer and then you start eating all those foods.Lyndi:
And it starts the glorious slash, not so glorious cycle of the binge restrict Correct.Jenna:
you know all too well when you say about alcohol and weight, like obviously that's a big factor in all of my decisions around drinking and maybe all the Things like drinks for less than a hundred calories and all this type of stuff, and I always is it right that like, say I was drinking things that are like Alcohol and a diet soft drink or vodka, lemon soda or things like that. I had read somewhere that alcohol like that actually goes straight to your bloodstream quicker because there's literally nothing else for the body to break down besides the alcohol.Lyndi:
I think it's a matter of carbon nation. I certainly know that, whether or not the lack of calories or the reduction calories means you absorb the alcohol faster. I think that's that's get into this. But Firstly, having a carbonated drinks is like that has bubbles in it. Say that the diet coke, or even a champagne. You are gonna get tipsy and feel the effects quicker because it affects how quickly it gets absorbed to your bloodstream. Okay, so wow, okay, yeah, that's why I wonder if that's why we start a celebration with some sparkling wine or some Champagne, because it is a very effective way to get you know that little buzz very quickly. I say that I don't think this is a good thing. We don't, I don't want us to be getting buzz super quickly, because it can kind of reduces inhibitions and kind of get us down that slippery slope of one drinks turns into 10. A bit too quickly from my liking. Now let's talk about the actual kilojoules, or calories in wine, so just in pure alcohol. Pure alcohol has a relatively high amount of calories in it, irrespective of how high the sugar content, whatever it is that you're drinking with it. So that's what people talk about. Lower calorie options. It's all pretty high calorie options and then you get higher and you get slightly lower. I think that's nuance and I think it's missing the point really, because it's just one small way in which alcohol is impacting on weight. So let's get into some of the others. One is that your body prioritizes the digestion of alcohol above everything, and alcohol is a toxin, right? So it does not tolerate a toxin being in its body. So anything you've eaten before, during, after is totally deprioritized because this alcohol has to get out of your system. So think about that from a metabolic perspective how much slower your body is now functioning to do all the things, and it's more likely to store fat, in addition to the fact that you are now more likely to eat whatever the hell is in front of you. Let's think about that. And then we get all these charts that are like go for the lower calorie options. I feel like it's really just a blip on the radar. There's also the impact on how you sleep when you're not drinking alcohol.Jenna:
when you are drinking alcohol, Sleep is the hugest one, because after you drink alcohol, isn't it that your body is just focusing on processing that alcohol? And even if you sleep, it's not the quality sleep that you actually need.Lyndi:
Indeed, it's seriously poor quality sleep. In fact, when you have been drinking alcohol, you have fewer rapid eye movement cycles, and this is that sleep that we absolutely need to rest and restore and repair. So the number of REM cycles that you're getting each night is indicative of the quality of sleep, and so typically we're getting poorer quality and poorer quantity of sleep. So we're not getting nearly enough sleep. And what I think is interesting, they did this research from the University of California and they looked at the number of hours we sleep and they found that simply getting six or less hours of sleep can increase your chance of getting sick by four times. So you're four times more likely to get sick if you have one night where you just get six hours or less. Now I don't know about you, but during my party girl era, there was a long era I definitely had nights where I did not get my six hours of sleep and I felt like I was constantly getting sick. I feel like I get run ragged. And this is a very important thing, not just for your immunity, but them thinking about how sleep impacts your hunger hormones. So if you're not getting enough energy from sleep, where is your body going to get energy Food. It's such an easy, obvious one, right? So it's going to go well. I do not have enough adequate rest, but I need to fuel this body of yours. Therefore, it's going to increase cravings for food, specifically food that's got higher energy. So not only do you have that, but now you also have a dysregulation of your hunger hormones. You have higher levels of ghrelin, you have lower levels of leptin, and these are the hormones that make you feel hungry and the ones that make you feel full. And then not only are you hungry, but when you eat these foods, you actually need more of these foods before you feel satisfied. So when people say alcohol has a lot of calories, I think you're totally missing the point here, because there are so many other things at play. Can we talk about gut health, can we? Jenna, let me. We need to. Okay, alcohol in its purest form is a disinfectant, and it's exceptionally good at that. So, if you think about it, if you cut your knee, you use some kind of like alcohol swab and you're clean it. If you need to clean your iPhone I don't know about you, I just looked at my iPhone.Jenna:
It's really great yeah, you use those little alcohol wipes.Lyndi:
Yeah, give it a nice little alcohol wipe, okay. So alcohol is a disinfectant, so I think it's been used for millennia. In fact, I think it's the first disinfectant humans have ever really used. It's very effective at their job. Now, when we ingest an alcohol, it is a disinfectant, it's going through our body and, as a result, it goes into our gut and it can impact our gut microbiome, so it's killing all the bugs. It's killing the bugs, right, okay, and what it's doing is it's reducing the diversity of those bugs. So, remembering, when we talk about gut microbiome, we're talking about all the different bugs that are living in there, and we want it to be like a rainforest. We want lush diversity. We're talking about it as lots of different plants growing, and this is why we talk about pre-products, because we need to feed these different plants different foods. So if you're eating only one type of food, we're only going to grow one type of plant in our rainforest. If you're eating a whole bunch of different types of food, you can give new fuel to all these different kinds of gut bugs and therefore you have much more diverse rainforest. The benefit of having this diverse rainforest, as opposed to having, like a single crop microbiome is that you have so much more of a buffer against sickness. So let's say you get through on some kind of virus that's going around the daycare because that's constant. Then if you've got this lush rainforest of a gut microbiome, then you may have the right gut bugs and the right combination that can go. No, we've got you, we've got. Our immune system knows how to fire this and fight this. If you do not, then you're much weaker in terms of your immune response. So then Now we have this double whammy of how alcohol is impacting us from our sleep and that how that impacts our immune response. And we also have this fact that when we drink the alcohol it is killing those gut bugs, moving us further away from our beautiful rainforest that we want to be and closer to that single crop, kind of boring wasteland with just a few plants growing. We don't want that we don't want that. So if you're kind of going, I feel like I'm getting sick or I'm getting sick often. This is just another thing. You know if, moving way beyond weight, this is so fundamental. I had an intention this year that I wanted to feel energetic. That was my word. Energy. I wanted like good energy. I wanted good energy people around me. But it's all about preserving energy and I wake up every single morning without a hangover. Not only that, there is no shame spiraling. There is no. There are no anxious thoughts. Now I think this is something I do want to talk about, with alcohol and this kind of sidesteps a little bit from the eating thing, but the way in which my anxiety has simply disappeared is incredible. I have a psychiatrist friend who's like she's still in the fence going listen, I don't know if this is going to work, but I do feel so much better already and I'm just on this little experiment. It's not a life sentence, I'm just curious. I could, I could. I've had a few sips of alcohol. I probably will have some more. I'm just becoming curious. But the impact on the anxiety from a day to day aspect is incredible. I always thought well, obviously if I drink alcohol a Saturday night, I'm going to feel anxious on Sunday. That was clear to me. I was like cool anxiety I've heard that term. I guess what I didn't factor in is how that anxiety would linger and impact me for weeks following that alcohol drinking session that I had had. And I think what's incredible now that what I'm feeling is that there is a cumulative benefit of not drinking alcohol for weeks, of not drinking it, because it does take a few weeks for your body to recover from you drinking alcohol from a few weeks back. So only now am I to the point where I'm like my, my brain has actually changed and repaired and fixed itself. So that's, I think, the good news is your gut microbiome, the changes that occur in your brain, and there are fundamental rewiring that happens when you drink alcohol versus when you don't. That has fixed itself by this point and I think that's why I feel so good. And so, for anyone listening, I think what I just want anyone to know is if you have never done a period without drinking in your adult life, why not try it for a time and see who am I? Worst case scenario you go no, not for me, I gave it a red hot, go, and now I know. And you go back to drinking. There's like you know, no, no love lost. But the potential is you give it a go and you realize I've been missing out on this version of myself who is so good, and I think the fear I always had that is that I would be not fun and I wouldn't know how to have fun if I wasn't drinking. I think I'm still fine. My husband also still drinks, okay. So he drinks wine each night and I don't. And and I think you know how did I do that? How do I do that? I want to help anyone who's kind of on this journey Going I don't know how. You know I like the idea of not drinking alcohol, but I really like wine and I don't like. How do I do this? And so, if you want some tips from me, if you kind of want to get on board and maybe go right, I want to do an alcohol free experiment for yourself. What you can do is you can actually go on Instagram, dm me the word last drinks and I will send you tips. And you can also just like, hop onto my Instagram and write on any of my posts. You can just write the words last drinks and I will send you a, and I will send you my tips for free Cause I want to. I want other people to feel as good as I feel.Jenna:
I don't want to be too preachy, but at the same time I'm like girl you get on, how long do you think someone would need to try it before they see things? Cause I'm thinking, if it's like your gut microbiome would have to like have time to like rebuild and I know, like you can't just Catch up on sleep. Like your cycle needs to be rhythm I'm getting the science words your circadian rhythm needs to. Actually it can't just rebuild on sleep. So if you've had poor quality sleep, you need to get back in the right pattern. Like, how long do you think people would have to try? I?Lyndi:
think 30 days is good, I think 60 days is great, I think 90 days is brilliant. I don't want to dissuade anyone who's like, oh, 90 days feels too overwhelming to think about, so I like to go. Well, let's just think about it in 30 day blocks. So you do 30 days and if you go, hey, I'm actually kind of feeling all right. I wonder what the next 30 days would look like. You just do it like that, so you just keep going and you go. Am I feeling better and better and better? I think for me, after three months of it, I was like Whoa, no one told me about the cumulative benefit. No one told me it got better and better. I thought 30 days and I'd feel it all. So 30 days is great, but it's just the tip of the iceberg.Jenna:
What do you think people should be doing in terms of like, tracking, like how would they know if it's? You know what I mean. Sometimes you adjust to the new way you feel and you don't remember life before it.Lyndi:
It's a really good question. I mean, I don't think you actually need to do tracking because I think the benefits are pretty obvious. Okay, so you'll just see them, you'll know. You'll 1000% know. You'll wake up in the morning and you go ah, I have energy, I feel good, I like myself. Can we talk about body image? This, this is a huge one. When I was drinking, I was much more of a rollercoaster emotionally because my anxiety and my mood was much more dependent on all the impact that alcohol has on mood, which are long lasting. As I said, they last for weeks, um, and I think even months in my case. And so I was so much more susceptible to diet Bullshit. Like if I saw a girl who was like, oh she's really pretty, I wish I looked like that, I was so much more likely to go and self doubt myself. I feel so much more robust and steady, not just in my mental state, but the likelihood of me going on a diet. It's like I've leveled up. I think I was really scared to not drink alcohol because, like, how do I socialize? Genuinely? I find that idea going. I don't know what to do. I don't want to have FOMO when all my other friends are drinking, and this is why I've started talking about this, because I think it's tricky to navigate. I think we live in a culture where you're not. If you're a woman and you turn up not drinking, people will think you're pregnant and you'll get a really annoying questions. Or everyone wants to know why aren't you drinking? It's the only drug where we have to explain why we've opted out. You know, if everyone's doing ecstasy, they'd be like they wouldn't ask you to explain why you're not doing ecstasy. Yeah, correct, but Huckle, you have to somehow explain it to a whole group and it's not cool. And there's a whole growing movement of people not drinking. In fact, it's massively on the increase. Jen said drinking the least of any youth group has ever drunk and, across the board, every generation is drinking less alcohol. Luckily, there are a whole bunch of better alcohol-free alternatives here. But I guess, for anyone listening, I think the point of today's episode was just to say to you, if you feel like there is a correlation for you in eating an alcohol that can trigger your binge eating, you're not crazy, you're not delusional. Okay, good, there is something here and I think it's worth exploring. Now, one more thing to note is that I'm the kind of person who's I'm a bit anti, or nothing. So this is a bit of a digression from me to go listen, I'm just not drinking alcohol at the moment and I think that is the key here. I haven't decided oh, I'm sober and there's, like you know, it's been 200 days, 201 days for me. No, I've had sips of alcohol. There is something that is flicked in my brain where this is a choice and a decision, and I know anytime I want to drink, I can drink, but I'm choosing not to and it feels awesome, and I think that's the point they're so different from I'm not allowed to drink, I shouldn't drink, it's bad for me. That's not the place I want us to be approaching this from.Jenna:
So that's a bit of a mindset shift that I'll also be talking about because I think it's such an important one, because this is different from, say, people who do have a real problem with alcohol, as opposed to people just wanting to know more about what life would look like without alcohol.Lyndi:
Yeah, so this you know I'm not at a point where I can help. If you've got alcohol use disorder, the thing we need to do is get into therapy. There are certain protocols that you need to follow that it's going to help you never drink again, because that is the point we were at. The research shows that there are no ill effects from having one to two drinks a week. Okay, now, when we look at all the things and all the things that alcohol is bad for, there's huge correlations with cancer, for example, and Alzheimer's, dementia and all these kinds of stuff. Up to one to two drinks. There's not that much research to say that's awful for you. We don't have to kind of go, I will never drink again. If we don't have that problem with alcohol and for some people you might need to go I will never drink again because that is what's easiest. This is different from food in that you need food to survive. You do not need that to survive, and so I think when people call out a food and addiction, having an addiction to a food, I go. I don't agree with that terminology because you need food to exist. We do not need alcohol to survive. So really I think there is a way that we can have a bit of a moderate relationship with alcohol. I feel like we can just, if nothing else, we have a healthier relationship with alcohol, because if you are currently in the point where you go, once I have a drink, I feel like I can't stop, or you're lying there going. I can't believe I said and did all those stupid things last night, or dreading social occasions, because it makes you feel all worked up. I always thought I had social anxiety. Maybe it's just because I drank alcohol every time I socialized. So just become curious. They call it sober curiosity and if you are interested, as I said, you can DM me. Dm me last drinks or you can write a comment on one of my posts and we just write last drinks and I'll send you a whole bunch of information and you just do a little experiment and we see how we go. Thanks, guys, for listening to today's episode. I hope you found it interesting. I'd love to help you more. I'd love to hear from you and reach out if you need a little bit more support when it comes to alcohol and your relationship with it. We'll see you next week.