For most of my life, I drank almost nothing but soda. Before I met my husband, my favorites were Dr. Pepper and Barq’s Rootbeer. Then he introduced me to Coke and I was hooked. I shudder now to think how much sugar I’ve consumed in my 34 years. I literally drank coffee, soda, alcohol and nothing else for almost 20 years of my life (yes, even through all 5 of my pregnancies).
It wasn’t until after I had my 5th child and was having difficulty losing weight that I started to think about kicking my soda habit. I started exercising regularly, so I started drinking water, but only while I was working out. I’d grab a soda right after. It wasn’t until I got frustrated with the number on the scale not moving despite all the exercising I was doing that I decided to give it up completely. 3 months later, the number on the scale had started to go down, so I decided to allow myself to have an occasional soda. Occasional turned into all the time again pretty quickly. The number on the scale went right back up.
Four months ago, I started having severe bloating, gas and diarrhea. If you haven’t read the back story, go here. Soda was one of the first things I eliminated in an effort to ease my discomfort. I couldn’t even drink a sip without my setting my stomach on fire. It wasn’t nearly as hard to give up the second time around, but there are still some things I did both times that helped me give it up. If you’re thinking about giving up soda, here’s some tips I recommend:
Make a Plan
I do this with almost anything I’m starting in life. Sitting down to decide what I want, even from myself, is such a motivation booster. I wrote down my goal: to stop drinking soda. I wrote down why I wanted to stop: to lose weight, be healthier, and save money. I wrote down the things I felt could help me get there: drinking at least 8 cups of water per day, and allowing myself to drink nothing else but juice and tea occasionally.
Don’t Buy It
This seems obvious, but trust me when I say, you will have to remind yourself not to buy it anymore! Sure, I might have been able to remember not to get it at the grocery store, but if we went out to eat and my meal came with a drink, I would often forget not to order a soda to go with it! It was a huge adjustment for me! Once I started eating most of my meals at home, I really didn’t have to worry about it anymore, but there were occasions where I would take the kids to Chick-fil-A or McDonald’s to play and eat and have to remind myself to get a lemonade, Gatorade, juice, or water. Now that I’ve been doing it for four months, it’s become a habit.
Set Yourself Up For Success
I start every day by filling up my 9 cup water bottle. I love my jug-o-water. It has all the water I need for the day, and a straw that somehow makes me drink more water easily. Ever since I cut out caffeine, the only thing I really can drink is water, so there are plenty of days where I drink more than 9 cups. I take it with me every where I go, so I always have something to drink. I also keep a bottle of water in my purse, just in case I run out or eat somewhere that charges for water (what can I say, I like to save money too!). Take it from someone who used to never drink any water, the more you drink it, the more you will want to drink it. I never used to feel thirsty when I drank coffee, soda and alcohol every day. You would think the opposite would be true. Strangely enough, I’m thirsty all the time now that I drink water!
Track Your Progress
Mark the day you kick your habit on the calendar! Nothing feels better than when you’re able to say, “I’ve been soda free for ___ days!” At first, you’ll be grateful you made it ONE whole day! Then you’ll hit the week mark…then the month…then the year!
Don’t Give Up
If you slip and have a soda after you’ve decided to give it up, forgive yourself and keep moving forward! One soda here and there is probably not going to kill you. A daily habit like the one I had, probably will, and not quickly. Too much sugar is linked to all kinds of scary things you can live with.
Honestly, my best advice is to give up caffeine entirely and cut out as much sugar as you possibly can. I can’t tell you how much better I feel since I gave it up 3 months ago! If you’d like to hear more about how I gave up caffeine and why I think you should too, go here.
Are you ready to give up soda? I’d love to hear your progress as you go along! There’s no greater motivation than having an accountability partner!
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