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Weight loss transformation diaries week 3: Alcohol and weight loss don’t mix

In the third week of her weight loss transformation with PT Ben Camara at No1 Fitness, Healthista’s Vanessa falls off the wagon and it’s alcohol to blame

8 week weight loss transformation Healthista's Vanessa Chalmers' results, no1 fitness, by
Vanessa’s results after eight weeks

It started so well… By the end of week two (read my diary here) I’ve lost 2.4kg in total, over 6cm from my waist and 6.5cm from my hips. Consistency is that word that keeps coming up, a main principle for continuous progress according to Ben Camara, my trainer from No. 1 Fitness who specialises in weight loss transformations.

As I go into week three my body feels like it is adapting to the training demands really well. I’m aghast that I’m not crippled with muscle soreness, which Ben credits to the fact I am already well conditioned, exercising before I took up the transformation. ‘If you’re a beginner that’s when you get delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) which is when the muscle is repairing.’ This rings a bell. Everyone has had that ‘first day back at the gym’ session that leaves them crawling for the next five days. ‘As well as this’, says Ben, ‘the half hour fitness slots are designed to make sure you are moving in three dimensions, meaning that the connective tissue, ligaments and tendons are also working, not just the muscles being torn apart.’

What is eccentric loading in training?

In my sessions with Ben, we continue to work the large muscle groups, such as those in the posterior chain (all the muscles along the back of the body), as these burn the most body fat. But we are now focusing a lot more on the ‘eccentric phase’ of training (‘the what?!’ I hear you say). When performing an exercise, the eccentric phase of a lift occurs when a muscle contracts while lengthening. This is the down motion of a squat for example.

On the flip side, the concentric phase of a lift is when the muscle contracts and shortens, which is the up motion of an exercise such as a bench press or bicep curl. This essentially means that when I perform a squat, I will go down slowly for three seconds, and pop back up within one. ‘The majority of training in a gym is working on the concentric phase of an exercise. However, at No1 Fitness we gain strength by focusing on time under tension [slowly going downed holding the weight] in the eccentric phase. This will ensure the muscle fibres are being built in a certain way,’ says Ben.

The big blip

Then the weekend came. I was feeling nervous about the prospect of going out clubbing with my friends sober. Let me make one thing clear – I am normally the first to shout ‘shots!’, the last to leave the dancefloor, and the first in the queue at McDonalds. Saturday night was going to be abnormal not just for me, but everyone around me.

I must have burnt off a ton of calories dancing in heels, right?

A cascade of mistakes were made over my weekend with genuine naivety. First off, we stopped in a petrol station (AKA the sweet shop) where I had to get dinner. I grabbed a bag of chicken bites and a cereal bar with the words ‘high protein’ glaring. God knows why I was sucked in, being well aware of the hidden calories in such ‘healthy’ snacks. Only after it was consumed did I scan the barcode into MyFitnessPal to find it was 230 calories. Damn, and it hardly filled a hole.
Watch out for the wolf in sheep’s clothing – healthy snack bars can be calorific

I treat myself to a large glass of wine, followed by a vodka soda lime, a lemonade and an orange juice. At first, I was quite proud of this considering it was over eight hours and I must have burnt off a ton of calories dancing in heels, right? I allow myself leftover chicken curry (without rice!) at 5am. I officially cannot blame being drunk for eating after clubbing. Breakfast is a Lucozade Sport to boost my vitamins (so nutritious), and I end up absolutely comatose by 9pm by a Sunday roast. Counting up the meal of chicken, mashed swede, peas, roast potatoes and roast parsnips came to a whopping 1000 calories. And I didn’t even have a Yorkshire. It’s a travesty.

How alcohol effects weight loss

Overall, I’d gone over my calories for the weekend by around 600. This reflects in my results at the end of week three, as my weight and body fat both increase. So, I only had two (large) drinks – what’s the big deal? ‘When the body is stressed from things like work or exercise five times a week, if you add alcohol you can imagine what’s going on with the body’, says Ben. ‘Losing body fat is the last thing the body is thinking about. It wants to get rid of it the alcohol because it’s a poison. It utilises it as energy rather than your fat stores.’

I’m 22 years old and I am not going to lock myself in a cage in social confinement

Of course, none of the overeating would have occured had I not drank or stayed up late, either. ‘Alcohol affects people’s food decisions’, says Mark, nutritionist and personal trainer at No1 Fitness. ‘When your blood sugar levels go down, unhealthy foods look so much more appealing.’ I can vouch for that.

I’m feeling massively beaten up, despite Ben telling me it wasn’t ‘bad’, just a blip to learn from. I’m 22 years old and I am not going to lock myself in a cage in social confinement. However, I remind myself of why I took on this weight loss transformation and that it’s an intense eight weeks. I need more willpower.

Results at the end of week three

My results at the end of week three are a little poor… Check into my diary next week to see how Ben got me back on track.

Weight loss transformation diaries week 3 Alcohol and weight loss don't mix, by (2)


Before/Week 1 Beginning week 2 Beginning week 3 Beginning week 4
Weight 65.7kg 64.1kg 63.3kg 63.4kg
Body fat 25.1% 25.7% 23.4% 23.8%
Hip 102.5cm 101.6cm 96cm 99.4cm
Waist below belly button 91cm 88cm 84.7cm 87cm
Overall weight loss N/A 1.6kg 2.4kg 2.3kg
Overall cm loss N/A 3.9cm 12.8cm 7.1cm


Workout of the week 


Do exercises 1 and 2 back to back

Rest for 60 seconds

Repeat for 4 sets

LOWER Exercise REPS / Time SETS KG / TEMPO Notes
1 Elevated  Split Squat 8 4 8kg Pause 2 seconds at the bottom, squeeze glutes at the top.
2 TRX Row 12 4 Elbows down and pull yourself through the straps. Lower yourself down slowly ensuring hips do not drop



Do exercises 1, 2 and 3 back to back.

Rest for 60 seconds.

Repeat for 4 sets.

    Exercise REPS/Time SETS KG/TEMPO Notes
TRISET 1 Incline Single Arm Dumbell Row 12 4 12.5kg Wide hand position.
2 Medicine Ball Raise 10 4 7kg
3 Prowler Side Shuffle 20 seconds 4 Body weight Lateral walking pulling prowler



Do exercises 1 and 2 back to back.

Rest for 60 seconds.

Repeat for 3 sets.

LOWER Exercise REPS / Time SETS KG / TEMPO Notes
1 Curtsy Squat – Lateral Lunge 8 3 Curtsy lunge then into side lunge
2 Band KickBacks 12 3 Resistance band



Do exercise 1, 2 and 3 back to back.

Rest for 60 seconds.

Repeat for 4 sets.

1 Arnold Press 8 4 16kg
2 Bench Press 12.5 4 55kg
3 Tricep dips 10 4 Full dip into full extension drive hips through



Do exercise 1 and 2 back to back.

Rest for 60 seconds.

Repeat for 3 sets.

CORE Exercise REPS / Time SETS KG / TEMPO Notes
1 Side Plank – Holds 30 seconds 3
2 Russian Twist 30 seconds 3 Sit on mat, raise legs and twist hands rotating left and right.


Three things I learnt this week

  1. Drinking alcohol makes you fat. Period If you like to drink, it’s worth noting this could be the main hindrance to your weight loss. It’s something that I noticed whilst doing Dry January too, when I not only lost some weight but saved a lot of money.
  2. DIY is best It’s worth making your own roasted vegetables, rather than buying packets such as Aunt Bessie’s which are dripping in fat. Boo.
  3. Preparation is everything My English teacher when I was 11 used to say, ‘the key to success is preparing the night before’. We all thought she was bonkers, but I definitely recommend getting your kit, lunch and bag together the night before when you leave the house at 6am.

3 products that helped

  1. Skinny Lemon

I’ve been recommended to stick to just vodka, soda and a squeeze of lime if I do drink. But I HATE soda water. Skinny Lemon is a mixer for vodka, tequila or gin to create a healthier version of your favourite cocktail, with only two calories per bottle. It has three ingredients, one of which is stevia, the most natural sweetener and much better for me than the sugars in diet drinks or tonics.

Buy Skinny Lemon for £1.75 

2. Evermore Spirulina and Chlorella

Weight-loss-transformation-diaries-week-three-Alcohol-and-weight-loss-dont-work-well-by-healthista.comI’m a sucker for a supplement. This week I’m loving lifestyle brand Evermore’s three week detox box, with spirulina and chlorella. I can’t stand the taste of either superfood in my smoothie or food, so having them in a capsule is the easiest way to reap the benefits. Both spirulina and chlorella are high in essential vitamins and minerals that have scientifically been found to cleanse the body of toxins. I love that the packaging looks far from medicinal.

Buy MORE: Detox for £15

3. Dark chocolate

Weight-loss-transformation-diaries-week-three-Alcohol-and-weight-loss-dont-work-well-by-healthista.comI have a big sweet tooth. I’ve learnt that a handful of blueberries or raspberries are great for taking away my cravings with virtually no calories. But sometimes that does NOT suffice, you know? I love dark chocolate SO much (I was kind of addicted before this transformation). Luckily, in small amounts, it can actually help with weight loss. My favourite is Raw Halo. It’s got such pure ingredients but you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

Buy Raw Halo for £3.99 on Healthista Shop

Come back every Tuesday to read Vanessa’s week by week diary of her weight loss transformation with Ben Camara at No1 Fitness, with tips and advice from the experts. 

8 week weight loss transformation Healthista's Vanessa Chalmers' results, no1 fitness, by (2)

Ben Camara has worked with some of the most famous faces in the world with training and health coaching clients including Madonna, Kate Moss and Vogue photographers Mert & Marcus. Having carved out a career in professional football, Ben Camara wanted his next career step to allow him to continue working in the field that he was passionate about, that of health, fitness and nutrition. He and Harry Thomas  co-founded No1 Fitness seven years ago, offering bespoke personal training in two locations in London.

Follow on Instagram or visit No1 Fitness website.


Vanessa’s weight loss transformation week one: why a high protein diet matters

11 healthiest alcoholic drinks – a nutritionist’s guide

Do I need to take protein powder?

Healthy snack hacks these 20 top influencers swear by

10 ways to relax after work without alcohol or food

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