I drank enough alcohol in my first 38 years to last several lifetimes. As much as I wanted to be like normal people who can control and enjoy their drinking, my Irish genetics predisposed me to excess.

Cissy the Teatotaler - Moroccan Mint Tea in a Fancy Glass

They say an Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold on to one blade of grass and not fall off the face of the earth! In fact, that very saying hung on the wall in my childhood home – complete with an illustration of a happy-go-lucky leprechaun holding a mug of ale!

Becoming a committed teetotaler twelve years ago is one of the best decisions I’ve made. And, while “teatotaler” (implying that the person prefers to drink tea instead of alcohol) is considered a misspelling, it describes me to a “T”!

While moderate alcohol consumption (one drink daily for women and two drinks daily for men) has been associated with some health benefits, excessive drinking contributes to numerous health risks — including cancers of the mouth, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal problems.

Moreover, apart from abuse or dependence and health risks, alcohol is a source of empty calories that contributes to excess energy storage in the fat cells of the body. Those hungry little guys are just doing their job when they hold on to the unused calories we consume. Historically, they were essential for survival. Our ancestor’s bodies were finely trained to store energy for the lean months when food was scarce.

The two other primary considerations for weight loss are related to fat metabolism and protein synthesis. Alcohol puts the brakes on fat burning and muscle building from the minute you ingest it until it is completely out of your system. Even if you’re drinking “moderately” you may be impeding your ability to burn fat and build lean muscle tissue. One night of excessive drinking or a daily habit of moderate drinking may be significantly hampering all your other efforts to deplete your excess energy stores and increase your muscle mass.

A coaching client whose steady weight loss cycle had plateaued gave up her almost daily cocktail or beer with dinner and saw immediate shift back into burning stored energy. While she was somewhat surprised, she also said it lined up with her inner wisdom that even moderate daily drinking wasn’t supporting her optimal health and well being.

Tea anyone??