As you begin or continue your weight loss journey, you’re likely paying more attention to what you’re putting into your body. Choosing healthier options like fruits, veggies and lean proteins instead of less nutritious food is likely top-of-mind. But did you know that what you drink can derail your healthy eating as well?
If you’re a soda fanatic, it may be time to take a look at your habit. Soda is a hidden sugar bomb that could halt your weight loss progress. Use this list of tips to learn how to stop drinking soda and try these soda alternatives to help you achieve your weight loss and health goals.
How Soda Affects Your Body
Although you may know that soda isn’t the healthiest choice, you may not realize how much damage it can do to the human body—or that it is the perfect ingredient for weight gain.
One of the biggest issues with soda is that it contains empty calories, which means you’re consuming calories without gaining any nutrients.1 It also may be easier to underestimate how many calories you’ve had throughout the day if you’ve paired a soda with each meal.
Not only is soda packed with empty calories, but it’s also laden with sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than nine teaspoons and women no more than six teaspoons of added sugar each day.2 It turns out that the average can of soda exceeds the recommended amount for a woman and is pretty much the entire daily amount for a man.3
What’s more, too much added sugar could wreak havoc on your body. Since soda contains such large amounts of sugar, your glucose levels can fluctuate more than normal during the day.4 This is especially problematic if you have diabetes as your body already has trouble regulating your glucose levels.5 Putting your body on this blood sugar rollercoaster may lead to a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure, obesity and type 2 diabetes.6 And if those health risks weren’t enough, high levels of sugar can also erode your tooth enamel.7
While it may be a tough habit to break, ditching your daily soda fix could help not only your waistline, but also your overall health. Here are four ways that may help you kick your soda routine to the curb:
4 Ways to Stop Drinking Soda
#1. Make A Commitment
Whether you’re just starting your weight loss journey or you’re focusing on maintenance, make a commitment to yourself to stop drinking soda. Try writing it down or telling your weight loss consultant to help hold you accountable. Making the concrete decision to do something can be a powerful agent for change.
If you’re still struggling with the thought of giving up soda, think of it in another way. You’re not giving up a delicious beverage. You’re saving your body from excess sugar, preservatives, chemicals and acids.
#2. Ease Off Slowly
After making this commitment to yourself, you may be eager to give up your habit on the spot. If you find it’s easy to stop drinking soda completely, then remove all of it from your home and go for it! But don’t feel bad if quitting all at once feels like too much—taking small steps towards your goal can be just as effective.
Keep track of your soda consumption, then cut it by a fourth one week and by half the second week. Keep up this pattern until you can completely stop drinking soda. As you notice the health benefits of decreased soda consumption, you may find it’s easier to keep moving toward your goal.
#3. Find Soda Alternatives
It may take some time to squash your cola habit, but you can do it! However, on those days you miss your bubbly companion, the best solution is to replace it with something else that satisfies that thirst (that’s healthier!).
If you miss a little flavor in your beverages, you can find plenty of healthy options. You can add fresh cucumber or fruit to filtered water. Or try mixing sparkling water with flavorful fruits such as oranges or watermelon for a satisfying carbonated drink.
Just be sure to avoid adding any sugar. Don’t forget that unsweetened green or herbal tea, such as peppermint or ginger tea, may satisfy your sweet tooth without the extra calories.
#4. Drink More Water
Whether or not you realize it, your body craves water. Buy a refillable water bottle, fill it with cold, filtered water and keep it by your side at home and work. You’re not just quenching your thirst, but you’re nourishing your body. Use these tips to drink more water daily.
Once you’ve banished soda from your diet, you can work on maintaining your soda-free lifestyle. In times of tiredness, you may be tempted to return to your old ways, but just remember why you quit and grab one of your new, delicious, soda alternatives. Your body will thank you!
If you want to start living a healthier lifestyle and improve your eating habits while losing weight, Jenny Craig can help. Contact us for a free appointment to get started.
Edited by Elisa - Jenny Craig