Alcohol and Willpower

I only had a couple drinks so what happened to my willpower?

You have the evening set. You are only going to have a drink or maybe two, and you are going to order a healthy meal. That is it! So you have a cocktail with your friends, which leads to another and another, which somehow leads to a plate of duck fat French fries covered in cheese in front of you! What happened?

Well, alcohol temporarily impairs the pre-frontal cortex. The part of your brain that allows you to think clearly and reign in impulses is no longer firing on all cylinders and your will power disappears.

Your Pre-frontal Cortex isn’t the only part of your brain that is affected by alcohol, here are some other areas:

  1. The Hypothalamus: this regulates appetite and energy balance. Alcohol disrupts the biological clock in this area, interfering with sleeping and eating cycles thus prompting you to pump out endorphins that increase your appetite.
  2. The Hippo-campus: this area is associated with forming new memories. When you drink, your Hippocampus is running at less than half speed making it hard for you to remember how many drinks you have had or how many bread rolls slathered with butter you have eaten.
  3. The Amygdala: this area is associated with emotional memory. Alcohol decreases activity here, reducing fear and anxiety and also interfering with judgment. The never ending plate of French fries, bag of chips, and doughnut stop at the end of an evening can be traced back to the Amygdala

Also, remember your body can’t store calories from alcohol the way it does with food calories, so all that alcohol you have imbibed has to be processed before your body starts to breakdown food calories.

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