Anyone with an addiction knows how hard it is to overcome an unhealthy dependence. You may not be addicted to drugs, but chances are there are other things you can’t seem to let go of. Maybe it’s social media, a video game, or biting your nails. Many people don’t think of food and drinks as addictions, but they surely can be. Think of coffee, sweets, or soda. Yes, you can be addicted to or dependent on soft drinks.
Despite what the media tells you, soft drinks (both diet and regular) are bad for you. They’re bad for your teeth, your bones, and your waistline. If you’re looking to lose weight and improve your health it’s time to end your soda habit. Here are a few tips to say goodbye for good.
It may sound harsh and maybe even impossible, but going cold turkey works for some people. One day you drink your three soft drinks, the next day you don’t even take a sip of one. Rather than constantly dealing with the psychological struggle of limiting yourself to just one serving, you completely cut out soda from your life immediately.
You may find it helpful to set small goals. Instead of telling yourself you’ll never taste the sweet bubbly liquid again, make it your goal to give up soda for a week, then two weeks, then a month. Hopefully, you’ll realize you’re surviving just fine and feel better without it, which will help you not want to go back.
Cutting back on soda is the longer, slower, and possibly more painful process, but it’s also more realistic. People who are truly dependent on soft drinks may find it easier to give up the habit slowly over time to give their body time to adjust. The first week, eliminate one drink, the second week, two drinks, and keep going until your addiction is gone.
As you wean yourself off soda you may find it helpful to dilute your soft drink with a little water. That way you’re still getting a taste of the sweet carbonation, but it’s not as strong. Your taste buds will adjust to less sugar and your body will be filling up on zero calorie water.
Make the Swap
You’ve got to satisfy your thirst somehow, and it’s not going to be with soda, so find other drinks you enjoy. Try hot or cold unsweetened tea. It’s full of healthy phytochemicals, may contain caffeine, and is low in calories. Mix in mint, lemon, or a little sugar or sweetener if it tastes too bland. Of course, you can always switch to water. It’s zero calories and provides the perfect hydration for your body. Add flavorings or lemon to improve the taste if desired.
Do the Math
Sometimes knowledge is a great motivator. What you thought was harmless sweet, bubbly liquid is actually quite harmful to your health and it’s certainly not helping your weight-loss efforts. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains about 140 calories. Start counting calories and you’ll see just how fast they add up when you factor in drink calories. And unfortunately, those extra 140 calories aren’t easy to burn. It’ll take 15 minutes of jogging or 40 minutes of walking to burn them off. Save yourself time on the treadmill by leaving soda to someone else.
Avoid Your Triggers
If every time you walk by the vending machine at work you crave a soda, make it your habit to walk a different way. Maybe you associate soft drinks with a certain type of food or restaurant. If that’s you, avoid those foods or establishments until you know your habit is gone.