Could soda be sabotaging your weight loss efforts? Use these tips to end your soda addiction.
It’s easy to overlook liquid calories when you’re trying to lose weight. You can understand avoiding cookies, cakes, and ice cream, but what about the sodas you drink during the day? A single 12-ounce can of regular soda contains an average of 150 calories. Drink two or three of them and that’s nearly a quarter of your day’s calorie allotment. As a result, people who regularly drink soda are more likely to be obese. Interestingly, drink diet soda and your risk of weight gain is even greater.
It’s not just the calories you need to be wary of. A can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of added sugars that rot your teeth and cause a spike in blood sugar, putting you at risk for diabetes. On top of this, the high phosphoric content is horrible for your bones. There’s no nutritional value in soda, just empty calories.
And many sodas contain brominated vegetable oil, an ingredient banned by the World Health Organization and 100 different countries. In addition to health costs, drinking soda comes with financial and environmental costs as well. Still thirsty?
You know soda’s not good for you, but how can you end your habit when the cravings for the sweet, fizzy refreshment are so strong?
Commit to Change
Major lifestyle changes aren’t easy. Soda addiction can be broken, but it may take time and hard work. A decision to cut back on soda or end your habit completely will require commitment and dedication. As with other big life changes, ask your family, friends, and coworkers to help keep you accountable.
Make Gradual Changes
As you start out, set small, achievable goals to slowly wean yourself off soda. This could be reducing your consumption by one serving a day. After two weeks, cut out two servings. Gradually reduce the amount you drink to give your body time to adjust.
Water It Down
Another method to wean yourself off soda is to mix your soda with increasing amounts of water. If it’s the sweetness you’re addicted to, adding water will slowly help your taste buds adapt. This is particularly helpful if you struggle to stop cold turkey.
The caffeine in soda is another reason why it’s addictive and so hard to give up. As you cut back on the amount of soda you drink, gradually swap caffeinated pop for caffeine-free. It’ll take a few weeks for your body to stop craving the caffeine, so give it time.
There are likely situations, places, or people you associate with soda. This could be particular restaurants, types of food, stress, parties, or ball games. While working toward breaking your soda habit, try to avoid these triggers. Choose different restaurants, learn to manage stress in healthy ways, and replace soda with other fun beverages.
Keep Alternatives on Hand
Ending your soda habit doesn’t have to mean deprivation. Plenty of other drinks are available to enjoy. Stock your refrigerator or pantry with healthier beverage alternatives for when your soda cravings hit. Water should be your go-to thirst quencher. Add in a slice of lemon, berries, cucumber slices, or a few mint leaves for a twist. To get flavor with carbonation, try flavored seltzer water. Other healthy beverage options include coffee (with little added sweeteners), unsweetened black or green tea, skim milk, kombucha, or water kefir.
Once you find freedom from soda, you’ll be able to enjoy an occasional can. Just be careful you don’t fall back into bad habits!