What’s Alcohol Got To Do With It? - XO Jacqui

What’s Alcohol Got To Do With It?

I want to share a personal journey that has dramatically improved my life, especially as I've faced the ever changing moments of menopause. I gave up drinking alcohol for the second time in my adult life, and the impact has been transformative.

The first time I quit drinking, I was 25. I was young and struggled to manage my consumption. Fast forward to age 55, and I found myself giving it up again. This time, it was because alcohol was really impacting my menopause symptoms—sleep, weight, mood, energy—you name it. Just one glass of wine or a sugary kombucha drink would throw me off.

So, in July 2023, I decided to quit. I’m approaching my one-year anniversary of being alcohol-free, and the changes have been incredible. Here’s what I’ve noticed:

  • Sleep Efficiency: My sleep efficiency averages between 88% to 97%. This means I’m not waking up in the middle of the night anymore.
  • Stable Blood Sugar: My blood sugar levels remain stable throughout the day.
  • Weight Loss: I’ve lost 36 pounds! I also gave up sugar at the same time and continued eating protein with each meal.
  • Increased Energy and Improved Mood: My energy is steady, and I’m in a much better mood (bonus for the family)..

Now, let’s dive into the science behind why alcohol can make menopause symptoms worse.

The Science Behind Alcohol and Menopause

  1. Sleep Disruption: Alcohol can mess with your sleep patterns, leading to more frequent awakenings and less restful sleep. A study published in the journal Menopause found that alcohol consumption is linked to poor sleep quality, which can be especially challenging during menopause when sleep issues are already common.
  2. Weight Gain: Alcohol is full of empty calories and can contribute to weight gain. It also affects your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight—a common struggle during menopause. Research shows that alcohol can increase the risk of obesity, which can exacerbate menopausal symptoms.
  3. Mood Swings: Alcohol can impact your mood and make symptoms of depression and anxiety worse. The Journal of Women's Health indicates that alcohol can intensify mood swings and emotional instability, both of which are common during menopause.
  4. Hormonal Fluctuations: Alcohol can interfere with your hormone levels, making hot flashes and night sweats more intense. Studies suggest that alcohol consumption can lead to hormonal imbalances, worsening menopausal symptoms.

If you're wondering where to start when you feel the weight of menopause on your shoulders (some puns intended), here are three simple (but challenging) steps that worked for me:

  1. Give Up Alcohol or Keep It Light: Even reducing your alcohol intake can make a big difference. If you do have a drink do it early in the evening not before bed. 🙂
  2. Let Go of Sugar: Cutting out sugar can help stabilize your blood sugar and reduce weight gain. It’s a game changer.
  3. Eat Clean Protein with Every Meal and Snack: This supports muscle mass, boosts metabolism, and stabilizes mood - which is important for the positive changes you are making. 

Stay curious and you might just see a miracle of symptom relief, weight management, and a stable mood wash over you.

For more insights, tune into podcasts by Mel Robbins or the Huberman Lab to learn more about alcohol and women's health. Mel Robbins Podcast | Huberman Lab Podcast

Here's to a healthier, joyful you!

XO, Jacqui

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