Alcohol, is it the final stumbling block?

(Robin) #61

I just went back to read what I posted in your previous thread… hoping I did not call you an idiot or make you feel like one. My post was pretty adamant (dramatic?) but relieved to see I did not use the “I” word. LOL
I saw that many folks jumped on you about that 600 cals. Not because we think you are dumb. In fact, a lot of us tried to starve our weight off too.

Fasting can simply mean having a shorter window for eating. I eat during 6 hours each day, but I don’t skimp on calories. It simply gives my body time to digest and metabolize. Also, no more nightly heartburn and improved sleep.

People who do extended fasts are usually well established in keto first. I think it’s always smart to start with the basics, like under 20 total carbs. Then, when you are comfortable and cruising along, try fasting. But remember, you do you. We are all different.

Thanks for joining our community. Sounds like you are doing really well. You got this.



On this issue you are going to get a lot of opinions, like the one I quoted above. I have been involved in this space experimenting and learning for a long time. In general I would agree, if you are a beginner or at intermediate level of doing low-carb/keto and your simple goal is to lose as much weight as possible, a good rule is to just keep under 20 gram of carb and eat ad lib–think Atkins Induction. However, most people run into a big stall at some point where things need to change and you have to pull other levers (like fasting, calorie counting, building muscle to increase your BMR).

My situation is a bit different having done keto so successfully, so I can’t just eat ad lib fat anymore (OR DRINK) if I want to lean out at my current level of leanness (I currently have a “normal” BMI, still some visible body fat). I already lost 90 lbs in the past, with keto, fasting, carnivore, then towards the end breaking the last big stall by doing high protein and actually LOWERING fat to around less than 100 grams per day, while still eating low carb and high protein.

Over the last two years I got very involved in weight training and lifting. I went from being a novice, pretty weak, to being an intermediate lifter now. I actually have gained a lot of lean muscle mass (which i need to measure with a dexa hopefully this year).

If you are training 3x or more per week with an intensive resistance training program and even throwing in some cardio, calculating macros can be appropriate because, as I’ve learned, eating ad lib protein and fat is great for muscle building, but when it comes time to lean up with the added muscle mass (building a lot of muscle can add some fat even when you eat clean low carb if you eat really a lot!), you have to use the lever of a precise calorie deficit to achieve the cut. If I just eat as much steak cheese and salad eggs as I want, I will maintain my weight and gain muscle, but not really shed remaining body fat in the effortless manner of the early days of going under 20 grams of carb and eating whatever ad lib. Intuitive eating does not accomplish that, esp. when you are more hungry with the physical training. Of course, I would like to see what cutting alcohol does, which I expect will help bc it’s just tons of empty carb calories in wine when you factor out the alcohol, so no doubt that’s part of my problem.

If you are in the more advanced stages of getting to your body composition you can use the Ketogains or Mike Matthews macro and calorie calculators and fiddle with the formulae a bit, which you can find in the methodologies. Then you can see if it works for you. Track everything, I MEAN EVERYTHING in cronometer even if you mess up or cheat. The data is invaluable for making corrections and seeing what works.

I do eat around 50g of carb (rarely more) mostly in the form of vegetables now and before workout something like a kind bar for example. I feel better for my workout when I do that.

Otherwise, I would say that I lost the majority of the fat that made me “Fat” without counting calories. At the stage that you want to chisel, lean up in the context of losing the last 10-15 lbs of body fat, stubborn body fat, or doing a proper cut while doing resistance training following a “bulk” like me, then counting calories and macros is absolutely valuable. That’s what I’m trying for me and even when I was drinking the deficit model works, even if it’s hard to do it for too long. It doesn’t have to be permanent, it just has to be used for a time limited goal.

You might find Ted Naiman’s work valuable as well. I think you will know when the tools you are using aren’t working anymore and it’s time to get more granular about what you want to accomplish with your body.

For most people who want to maintain a good figure and are not trying to gain muscle and then lean out, you could just do Atkins for life and never worry about counting calories. Calorie counting is a tool for a time limited goal, that’s about it.

Ok, now I’m gonna go back to NOT drinking, bc I’m also doing that :slight_smile: If you disagree with anything I said, please do not attack me over CICO or whatever.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #63

My post was directed to @Sivart1966 - and any other relative newbies who may be reading this. It’s all basic stuff. Understandably, if you eventually run into specific issues you have to figure out what to do about them. For what it’s worth, which may be nothing, I’m 76, eat to a daily ‘caloric window’ and very precise macros because I happen to be someone who does not have reliable hunger and satiety signals. In fact, I have not felt hunger since day 2 of the 4-day fast I used to initiate ketosis in January, 2017. I had normal hunger and satiety signals eating SAD for 70 years, but not since. Also, I am lean and not very muscular - and have been my entire lifetime. I was a runner in high school and college and never got interested in body building. Now, the most weights I lift are 6-7 plastic shopping baskets at Walmart. I’m now the same weight and body comp as I was at 18 and I’m happy with that.


There is no judging here ! Lol. I really appreciate the insight from everyone. Just nice to know there is a space to ask these questions from people who are in it, done it or been there. Thanks for the feedback! Good luck on the cutting alcohol. I just did the same and honestly don’t miss it at all. I used to drink every night. Not a lot but enough to the point where I was looking forward to it when I got home from work. After I stopped that I saw some big gains In not only weight loss but overall in how I felt. It is actually amazing to feel the differences and see the differences from it. Best of luck to you and I am sure you will she’s those last few you are shooting for

(Juanita Rice) #65

I believe every alcoholic started out as a social drinker. I agree it is incredibly hard to recognize when you cross the line into addiction. There is alcoholism in my family also and I am a recovering alcoholic. Maybe I was predestined to it, but abstinence will always be the best path for me with alcohol AND sugar.

(Jane) #66

So far, so good on no rum and diet coke for 9 days now. I had a couple of glasses of wine the first few days to transition, which I know some would count that as a failure, but I can drink a glass of wine and be satisfied with that. Rum drinks I always want 2 or 3. No alcohol since Sunday and not really craving it - just miss it. Fasting of course keeps me off alcohol and I never had any trouble with that so I guess I am only addicted to the pleasure, not phycially addicted or I think it would be harder. Maybe there isn’t a difference - I don’t know.

Never smoked and the only substance I KNOW I am addicted to is coffee. And I have given it up twice in the past for different reasons and weaned myself off gradually. No plans to stop coffee unless compelled to for health reasons.

(UsedToBeT2D) #67

I had a particularly good day at work. On the way home, I thought that I deserve a beer, or two, or three, or…
Then I thought about the new slimmer sport coat that I just bought. Then I decided against the beer.

(Will) #68

Great call

(Robin) #69

Good for you. I think one of the greatest tools is to learn how to be uncomfortable within our cravings… just feel them. If panic starts to tug at you, sit with that too. Breathe.

Name it, don’t numb it.


I know this feeling :slight_smile:
I was a beer lover. Could inhale quite alot of them too!

but when I lost the weight I dumped the beers but in the end, I would have my ‘low carb beer’, yea what a joke that is :rofl: and bloat up huge and when I fit into my much smaller size bathing suit I wanted to get into, I thought, omg if I continue my beer I am gonna just bloat out this bathing suit and I don’t wanna go there! Clothes took me finally off beer too but darn, I have to say beer was starting to make me very sick when I drank it longer I was on plan eating cleaner. Beer was one of those things that just had to go for me.

I am always surprised when alot of lc people can drink it and a good bit and lbs lose and still do well on it. I had to dump beer alot faster than I thought, but I wanted to be one who could keep it in, nope.

Your new slimmer sports coat applauds you!!


Yes, alcohol is a stumbling block fore me.
In 2012/13 I started keto.

I quit drinking in April 2016, and the excess weight fell off. (12 kg in 12 weeks time).
In Sep 2016, I was dxd with an aggressive cancer, and I discovered fasting.
I started zero carb or Carnivore in 2018.
I stopped fasting around the same time as going Carnivore.

I was going well, in remission and maintaining my weight below 60 kg when the Covid debacle hit.

In late 2020 I began drinking. I also learned to make sourdough in early 2020.

Fast forward 14 months I was 7.5 kg heavier, and worse for wear from drinking maybe 4x per week.

I get hungover from 2-3 glasses of wine.

So I have now stopped drinking again. I have quit eating sourdough even though I still bake it.

I am on Day 13 of an open ended fast and have dropped 6 kg.

I have seen both sides of the “no alcohol” coin and I much prefer the abstention.

The weight gain was the secondary reason for my current fast. My gums are inflamed and bleeding and I wanted to see whether an extended fast would go some way to healing them.

As I type this note, my gums are throbbing. A lot of bleeding has subsided but I want to extend the fast for as long as I can.

Thanks for posting this topic!

(Robin) #72

Thanks for sharing this. Many of us can relate to your story.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #73

I’m sorry you ended up feeling like an idiot. That wasn’t anyone’s intention, I’m pretty sure. But it is documented that people do better on keto when they don’t try to eat at a caloric deficit, but rather allow their appetite to determine how much they eat.

Despite years of advice to “eat less, move more,” a number of studies have shown that exercise doesn’t aid in weight loss (though it provides many other health benefits). And studies have also shown that the body responds to short rations by cutting back on expenditure, which is why following the standard advice works so much less well than we want it to.

My experience was that embarking on a ketogenic diet eaten to satiety caused me to lose 80 lbs./36.4 kg of fat without hunger, and without any effort on my part. If you were to try the same approach, it might work equally well for you, who knows?

(Ryan Roy) #74

this should work

(Stickin' with mammoth) #75

@MTullius Here’s my tale, your mileage may vary.

I was never able to keep alcohol in the house for “the occasional drink” because it would invariably end up getting polished off in short order. It was the sugar, even straight up vodka tasted sweet.

After going coffee carnivore and skipping dinner (that combo was key) I now have a single bottle of spirits in the cupboard, a particular kind that used to be irresistible, and I keep forgetting it’s even there. Just thinking about drinking it is a turn off.

Low carb didn’t work, keto didn’t work, carnivore didn’t work, but I added the no-dinner protocol and after about a month BAM! all cravings of any kind were gone like magic. Never in the whole of my life would that have been possible before.

Find the magic combo that works for you and when it’s workin’, ignore anyone trying to gaslight you into sabotaging your success. They don’t have a front row seat to your awesomeness. Rock on.

(Peter - Don't Fear the Fat ) #76

I thought this interesting. may not be news to you.

''When you drink alcohol, your liver needs to break down the alcohol. While your liver is processing alcohol, it stops releasing glucose. As a result, **your blood sugar level can drop ‘’


I think alcohol was a stumbling block for me, but it must vary a ton based on the original circumstances that led you to a keto diet. I think for me it wasn’t just overeating, but eating as a way to deal with stress. I’d tell myself that no matter how bad a day or week I was having, I could look forward to a huge binge that evening, and load up on dessert, etc. Eventually that took a huge toll on my body.

Then, following keto very well and seeing good results, I rarely had that desire to eat in crazy and unnecessary ways (except a few which I mention here), but drink sort of slipped in and took its place. In other words, bad week? Have a lot of wine or whiskey at the end of the week to let go of the stress. And that then becomes a cycle towards doing it more frequently. This meant lessening my regular sleep, not addressing why I was stressed in the first place, and simply shifting the problem to another false solution. Over time the weight went on, and all sorts of other problems brewed up.

I’ve had this under control for a bit now, by using sleep as my stress handler. It makes things a bit more boring as I’ll often go to bed earlier now instead of doing other things, but it’s eliminated the need to “relax” while I keep myself awake and busy. I can’t point to that as the sole reason for my refreshed weight loss, given fasting and other things, but boy does it feel so much better not having to depend on food or alcohol to deal with things.

(Peter - Don't Fear the Fat ) #78

Gaff that is brilliant. Not much good comes from alcohol, but saying that I’m sitting here enjoying the Euro Song contest with a glass of Whisky and I’m starting feel a great longing for snacks :no_mouth:

(Brian) #79

I’m kinda the oddball. I didn’t drink at all for 50+ years. I was told we were prone to becoming drunks and to leave it alone.

Of course, I always wondered…

I now do have a glass of wine on occasion. Not a bottle or two over a weekend. Probably more like a bottle or two total a year. I find it especially helpful if I’m extra tired or stressed and need to sleep. A glass of wine will make me happy and mellow and I’ll sleep like a baby. I know it won’t have that effect on everyone. But I don’t overdo it, ever. (Actually, never been drunk.) Maybe different triggers for different people.

Something like cream filled donuts? I can’t help myself. I can’t have them around at all. And I don’t. Haven’t had one in close to a year. But if you sat a box in front of me, there probably wouldn’t be any in the box by tomorrow morning. I guess that’s one of my triggers.

All the best in overcoming, whatever the struggle. I kinda think we all struggle with somethin’.


UPDATE: I resumed drinking in '22 and '23. I would quit, start, quit, start etc.
I have quit drinking (again) on 2 Dec 23 after a nasty 2 day hangover.
I have returned to carnivore, and have shifted 6 kg since early January, of which at least 3 kg were from bloat and overeating.