While alcohol leads most people to gain weight, alcoholics have a different relationship with the drug than most people do. The average alcoholic gains 10 pounds when he goes into recovery.
An alcoholic is used to having a drink in her hand at all times. When she quits drinking, she will look for something to do with her mouth and hands, like eating. Cigarettes and coffee are popular among alcoholics for the same reason.
When alcoholics quit drinking, they have a lot more time in their day. Boredom can lead to mindless eating.
Many alcoholics drink rather than eating, or rush through meals to return to drinking. A recovering alcoholic will linger at the table, consuming more calories.
Chronic alcoholism damages the pancreas, which is responsible for insulin and blood sugar regulation. Without proper pancreas function, an alcoholic’s appetite may get out of control, especially with cravings for sugary foods.
Chronic alcoholism leads to stomach problems like gastric bleeding and ulcers, which make eating unpleasant. When an alcoholic’s stomach recovers after chronic abuse, she can eat without pain again, gaining weight.