How to break your soda (or diet soda ) habit

What ever happen to the days of having a burger, soda and fries for dinner and just calling it a day? Is that so horrible? No it is not. But if you consider a soda in the 1950’s was 6.5 ounces you can easily see how we have double and tripled our servings in not only one sitting, but one day.

Think about it this way. 

A 20 oz soda has 15-18 teaspoons of sugar. Think about what it would be like to sit with a jar of sugar and a teaspoon and take 15 bites of sugar.

Now think about if you happen to get a 40 oz soda and taking 30 bites of sugar. Yikes! Would you ever do this? If not, why would you drink it. (This can apply to other sugary drinks like juices and lattes).

The over consumption of sugary drinks can lead to a host of conditions from diabetes to heart disease to harming the health of your bones. And if you are trying to lose weight or be healthier and have a high soda intake, this could be the one thing that could change your health around.

Now if you are a diet soda fanatic, don’t get to excited because diet soda is not all that much better.

The trouble with diet soda is it tricks us. As soon as the soda hits our lips our body is expecting that sugar rush, so it occupies us, temporarily. It makes us feel like we are full or satisfied but when the body realizes it did not get the intake it was expecting, it throws our cravings and energy levels out of whack making us crave more, eat more, etc. Some studies argue that diet soda is just as bad for your health as regular soda

Susie Swithers, a Purdue University professor commented, “One large study found that people who drank artificially sweetened soda were more likely to experience weight gain than those who drank non-diet soda. Others found those who drank diet soda had twice the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, often a precursor to cardiovascular disease, than those who abstained.”

It is not a question of what is better or worse for you, it comes down to if any soda is really good for anyone in the first place.

So you get it. Soda is not your best choice and you probably already know this, but you still struggle to make a change. I am all about helping YOU change your habits, because I will argue that it is not as much about WHAT we do, but why we do it and how to change it.

 My lightbulb moment.

In high school I developed a stress fracture in my lower leg and was required to sit out for three weeks. My doctor mentioned that it would be best to limit things like soda and encourage milk intake to keep calcium levels high to keep my bones healthy and be able to prevent things like this is the future.

I think this was pointed out to me at the time mostly because of my young age, but for whatever reason it snapped a lightbulb on in my head and I have not had a full soda in 15 years. Well, maybe one or two but it was most likely in a jack & coke. 😉

How to break your habit:

Go warm turkey.

Like instead of cold turkey? Cheesy joke aside, you don’t have to give up every sip of soda this very second (though that approach may work for some people). Could you just try having less?

If you have two sodas a day could you have one and a half and dump out the rest?  Could you have one soda at the time your crave it and replace your other soda with water? You would save hundreds of calories a week on sugar by making this small change alone.

Create a delay.

Often times reaching for a soda has just become a habit. We do it without even thinking about it. But ask yourself what are you really craving when you reach for a soda and why you claim that you have to have it. There is always an reason behind why we do things.

The next time you want a soda trying creating a pause. Wait 1 minute and ask yourself if you need it. If you do and decide to drink it that is fine. Next time try increasing that delay. Often it is more about having that something instantly than the soda itself.

Your lightbulb moment, your health!

This is what I did. I didn’t even have to think about it. It was my health and performance first and soda was getting in the way. This may or may not work for you but if you stop focusing on the feeling that you just can’t have it because it is bad for you and the reasons why it might be causing adverse health conditions it could change your habits and in turn improve your health.

 You can check out additional reading and resources here, here & here.
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