CASE STUDY: Paul in Oxfordshire
Paul used to be fit. Not just fit in the physical fitness sense, but also “fit” in the eyes and minds of female admirers at work, when he went out for the evening in his de rigueur slimfit shirt, dark wash jeans and leather-weave slip-ons. When he stood in a bar alongside his identikit mates, he still stood out, simply because he had the best body. This coupled with his winning smile and cheeky one-liners made him a magnet for the opposite sex.
“As the pounds piled on, the girls’ interest waned”
Paul began binge drinking upon returning home after watching England play at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa in the summer of 2010. “It wasn’t the 4-2 defeat to Germany that did it! I just started drinking much more when I was away in Bloemfontein with my fellow footie-loving mates, and sort of carried on the tradition, so to speak, once I got back to Oxfordshire. What a mistake that was.”
By Christmas that year, Paul’s weight had risen from a trim 12 stone, to a whopping 15 stone and 4 pounds. And it wasn’t just all those take-aways he was putting away night after night at his luxury flat in Abingdon – the underlying reason for his waistline growing by the week was his addiction to alcohol, which saw his consumption level increase at an alarming rate.
Booze and weight gain: some sobering facts
· Increases the risk of cancer (pancreas, rectum, breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx and oesophagus cancer)
· Is the prime cause of heart disease in the UK
· Causes diabetes, by consistently lowering blood sugar to dangerous levels over a prolonged period
· Permanently enlarges the kidneys and inflames the liver
· Damages brain cells, particularly those found in the limbic system
· Can cause gout and arthritis in men and women, even if they otherwise live healthy lifestyles and keep themselves active
· Raises: blood pressure, blood lipids (or ‘blood fats’), and the risk of stroke and heart disease
· Hastens dementia
Source: Healthcheck Systems.com
Some of these diseases and conditions are health problems that can physically be seen. But some are ‘hidden’. One condition that thousands of binge drinkers across the country find impossible to conceal, of course, is alcohol-caused obesity.
Why does alcohol make you fat?
So, you know someone who drinks like a fish, but never puts on an ounce of fat? How does he or she guzzle pint after pint, or endlessly knock back large glasses of wine, yet still remain wafer-thin? Well, some people – a very small percentage of people in society – are just blessed with that kind of metabolism: they can eat and drink as much as they like, and never seriously gain weight. However, Paul in Abingdon, and the rest of us – the vast majority of the general population – have to beware that alcohol:
· Makes your body produce more oestrogen (which promotes fat storage)
· Slows down your metabolism – your body’s natural fat-burning mechanism decelerates
· Increases Cortisol: a hormone in the body that increases fat around the stomach
· Is full of sugar – enough said
Also, heavy drinking leads to tiredness, making a quick (fat burning) jog around the block, or a trip to the gym, unlikely!