How Much Weight Will I Lose if I Stop Drinking Alcohol?

Have you been trying to lose weight, but struggling to slim down? If you drink at home or regularly hit up the bar with friends, you may be consuming more calories than you think.

Of course, dietary habits and activity levels also play a role in your weight. But alcohol can sneak in a mountain of calories that often go overlooked over weeks, months, and even years.

Below, we’ll cover exactly how many calories are packed into your favorite alcoholic drinks, and how much weight you could lose if you cut back.

Just How Many Calories Are in Alcoholic Drinks?

person seated on floor mat with beverage and weights
Photo by Derick McKinney on Unsplash

Whether you prefer beer, wine, or hard liquor, your drinking habits can really take a toll on your daily calorie intake. According to the USDA FoodData Central Database1:

  • One can of beer has an average of 153 calories.
  • A 5 oz. serving of white wine contains 121 calories.
  • A 1.5 oz. shot of vodka has 97 calories.
  • Whiskey packs 103 calories in a 1.5 oz serving.
  • In cocktails, the numbers can vary. A classic margarita can include 274 calories (or more) per drink. But beverages with additional sugary mixers can pack even more calories. For instance, a White Russian can add 400 calories or more to your day.

Cutting Out Alcohol and Weight Loss: How Much Does It Actually Help?

You might be asking yourself, “How much weight will I lose if I stop drinking?” The answer to this varies from person to person.

As an example, let’s say you drink two 250-calorie mixed drinks every day. That means you’re consuming an extra 3,500 calories every week. With that in mind:

  • 2 weeks with no alcohol will save you 7,000 calories.
  • 3 weeks with no alcohol will save you 10,500 calories.
  • 1 month with no alcohol will save you at least 14,000 calories.

Taking the calories into account, it might seem obvious that cutting out alcohol and weight loss go hand-in-hand.

But because each person’s metabolism and activity levels are different, how much weight you actually lose may be different from someone else. In any case, with no alcohol, your weight loss over one month may surprise you.

Try An Alcohol Weight Loss Calculator

For those who want to quit drinking, weight loss calculators can give you a more accurate guidepost for how many calories—and how much alcohol—you’ll need to cut out to shed pounds.

You can check out this weight loss calculator and this alcohol calorie calculator to get a closer look at what your unique numbers might be.

Will You Automatically Lose Weight if You Quit Drinking?

two feet on a bathroom scale
Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash

So, now you may be wondering: “Will I lose weight if I stop drinking?

As much as we’d all like to hear a definite “yes,” your weight loss from not drinking will all depend on your calories in versus calories out. Your body will need to be in a caloric deficit for you to lose weight2.

If you want to lose one pound of body fat per week, it’s recommended that you reduce your caloric intake by about 500 calories daily. Of course, you’ll still want enough food to fuel your body, so it’s best not to aim for any more weight loss than one or two pounds per week.

The bottom line is that the weight won’t fall off automatically when you quit drinking to lose weight (although it will make it much easier). You’ll still need to make sure that your food choices and other lifestyle habits align with your goals, too.

Need Help Cutting Back?

If you’ve been struggling to reduce your alcohol use, and it’s impacting your life in more ways than just weight loss, there are online treatment options that can help.

Ria Health is one option to get support for your alcohol-related goals. You can work with an experienced team to find a balance that works for you, whether that means quitting altogether or learning to drink in moderation.

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Written By:
Minnesota-based freelancer and health advocate who aims to empower others through her work.
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