It’s probably already drilled in your head: Soda is bad for you. You’ve heard the alarming statistics—consuming too much can lead to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, belly fat, and has little nutritional value. It’s like a commercial for a drug with way too many side effects. In fact, that’s exactly what it is, and like drugs, soda is addicting, which is why kicking your soda addiction to the curb is easier said than done.
The single greatest source of added sugar in the American diet is from soda, so it’s time to break the addiction. Just imagine how many calories you’ll save! Follow our tips to say so long to soda for good. These tips are also a good starting point for almost any food addiction, but be sure to check out our article on emotional eating too.
Slowly wean yourself off. If you’re downing five cans of soda a day, breaking your soda addiction won’t happen overnight. A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology found it takes 66 days to form a new habit. Start by weaning yourself off in small increments, say, one less soda per week. Replace that soda with nature’s finest: H2O. Stay focused, remind yourself how much your body will thank you, and watch your soda addiction fade.
Write down your habits. Journaling isn’t just for food. Keep a record of each soda you drink and how many calories you’re consuming. Seeing the numbers may make it easier for you to say no. (Think about what you could eat for 500 calories!) Keeping a soda log will help you recognize when you crave your fix and force you to be mindful when you guzzle the sugary stuff.
Determine what sparks your craving. Knowing your triggers is key to breaking your soda addiction. Are you stressed? Bored? Sleepy? Thirsty? Your triggers will help you determine a healthier alternative. If you’re stressed, go for a walk. Tired; opt for tea. Thirsty; your body is craving water. Bored; ask your boss if you can help with a new assignment.
Make substitutions. Soda isn’t the only tasty beverage on the market. In fact, you can get your fizz fix without gulping down liquid calories. Try carbonated water with a splash of cranberry juice or some fresh fruit for natural sweetener or an iced tea with freshly squeezed lemon.
Stay away from diet soda. Just because the nutrition label says zero calories doesn’t mean it’s off the hook. The sugar-free stuff comes with its own set of side effects you don’t want to mess with, including an out of whack metabolism, weight gain, diabetes, and stroke. You have to ask yourself, “Why are there so many ingredients but so few calories?” To really kick your soda addiction to the curb you have to wean yourself off all versions of the caramel-colored bubbles.