With St. Patty’s day coming up I’m sure we’ll be seeing many of you at the bar. I mean the gym. And probably the bar. Although we don’t encourage participating in drinking holidays, we know you will. Here’s a few facts about alcohol’s effect on the body you might want to keep in mind before taking that extra shot for a strand of green plastic beads.

·      Any way you slice it, alcoholic drinks are loaded with empty calories. Unlike food that fuels you in some way (even the not so macronutrient dense foods), alcohol does not. Beer and mixed drinks are heavy on the carbs, which if not used as energy, will be converted into fat. If that’s not enough to combat the urge to binge drink

·      Excess drinking can weaken the immune system. It’s already been a tough winter for your body to cope with the dramatic daily weather changes, so I’d keep the drinking to a minimum for a little while.

·      Alcohol causes neurotransmitters in your brain to relay info much slower than it typically would, which attributes to the drowsiness, slurred speech, and lack of motor coordination most people notice soon after drinking.  Alcohol also can cause you to lose your memory, which can put you in some scary situations so be careful!

·      It’s DEHYDRATING.  Alcohol sucks all of the water from your organs, the biggest one being your skin. If you struggle with dry winter skin, try more water and less alcohol. Rule of thumb, drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have. Chances are, you wont’ be as dehydrated, you won’t be hungry, and you won’t be terribly hung-over in the morning.

·      You know alcohol is full of calories, but that’s the not only thing that’ll put weight on you quick. Alcohol affects the decision making part of your brain and it also lowers your inhibitions. Ever find yourself eating Taco Bell at 2:45am after a night of drinking? You know you shouldn’t eat that but somehow you justify it. Remember, drunk people don’t make good decisions, so stop listening to your drunk self. Consuming a few hundred excess calories from alcohol is one thing but eating a couple thousand calories because you’re drunk is going to put a huge dent in your physical fitness goals.

·      This last fact coincides with the binge eating on junk fact. Alcohol reduces your body’s ability to metabolism sugars and fats. Not good when your drinks are full of carbs that turn into sugar, coupled with a high fat “cheat meal.”

Don’t let these factors deter you from having fun (reevaluate what you call fun maybe). Now that you’re armed with some knowledge, keep some of these things in mind the next time you go out. Our best advice? Drink in moderation. You can still enjoy your life, be healthy, and have a drink too!